The Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio has created a $2 million scholarship program for economically disadvantaged students in San Antonio who want to pursue health care careers.

The program announced Aug. 2 is being managed and funded by a more than $1 million grant from the Baptist Health Foundation and a matching grant from the Tenet Healthcare Foundation. The scholarships are aimed primarily at graduates from six San Antonio school districts: Edgewood, Harlandale, San Antonio, South San, Southside, and Southwest.

Cody Knowlton, president and CEO of the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, said the decision to prioritize the six districts was based on area employment, education and income levels, and life-expectancy rates.

“We are just trying to give those that need it the most the first shot at it,” Knowlton said. After the need-based scholarships are awarded to students in the six school districts, the colleges and universities may distribute remaining funds to graduates from other San Antonio area schools, he said.

Scholarships starting at $500 will be offered to 12 colleges and universities in the San Antonio area that offer health-related academic programs such as nursing, nutrition, dental, medical, psychology, and nutrition. Those schools include Trinity University,  University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas at San Antonio, and San Antonio College (SAC). 

“Access to this type of support can mean a lifetime of difference for a student,” SAC President Robert Vela said in a prepared statement. “It’s the start that many of our students need to put them on a path of success for the rest of their lives.”

Harlandale ISD spokeswoman Natalie Bobadilla said that the scholarships will help students expand on what they learn through the district’s clinical rotation programs, which give high school students a first-hand look into professions in the medical industry by setting them up with internships at area hospitals and medical facilities.

“Our students have the opportunity to receive certifications as a clinical medical assistant, phlebotomy technician, and pharmacy technician during the school year,” Bobadilla said. The scholarships will help students continue in the health care field and inspire them to “work hard and be the change,” she said.

Referring to education as “the great equalizer,” Knowlton said that helping these students continue their education will also help them to achieve better health, housing, and jobs, and improve their family’s life for generations.

“Education has a booming effect for a lot of different things,” he said. “It brings everybody up, and gives them the chance to improve their situation long-term.”

Since its inception in 2004, Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio has awarded more than 10,000 scholarships for a total of nearly $12 million.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.