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Investing in Tennessee’s future health care workers to improve health equity

For most of us, calling a doctor when we’re sick, hopping in a car and driving to our appointment is something we take for granted. The reality is, though, that many residents in Tennessee face barriers to critical health care due to social factors like language, financial status and access to transportation.  

As a Tennessee-based health insurer, we realize this is a problem, and it’s one we’re actively helping solve statewide. 

Ways we’re effecting change 

At BlueCross, we’re working to improve health outcomes for all Tennesseans by promoting health equity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health equity is “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.” 

We’re continuing to build on our understanding of health disparities and barriers to care through our Health Equity Report. We’re also helping to address them as we serve our members.  

We realize, though, that overcoming existing challenges is only part of the equation. To make lasting change, we have to look toward the future. That’s why, since 2013, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has been providing scholarships to support the state’s future health care workforce. 

What is the scholarship? 

The BlueCross Power of We Health Equity Scholarship is open to qualified graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees and careers in health care with a desire to improve health equity for Tennesseans. 

Each year, the BlueCross Foundation awards $10,000 each to 6 students based on outstanding achievements in community service, leadership and academics, as well as their commitment to improving health equity in the state. 

“So many people are suffering from mental health issues but don’t have access to care,” says 2023 recipient Destini Givens. “People we see every day, in the grocery store or wherever we go, are struggling. Society doesn’t see mental health as important as physical health. If someone has a broken leg, they are taken to the hospital, but if someone’s walking around with a severe mental health disorder, we don’t do the same. I want to push for accessibility, for representation and overall care for everyone.” 

Since 2013, the BlueCross Foundation has awarded $415,000 in scholarships to 44 students like Destini.

 To qualify for the BlueCross Power of We Scholarship, students must be:  

  • Graduate or undergraduate students working to obtain a degree in health care, pursue a career in the field of health care and improve health equity for Tennesseans 
  • Classified as at least a college sophomore by application deadline 
  • Minimum 2.5 academic GPA (4.0 scale) 
  • Tennessee resident and at least 17 years old by application deadline 
  • Enrolled at an accredited college/university within the state of Tennessee and planning to enroll in the 2024-2025 school year 

 “The BlueCross Power of We Scholarship is one way we’ve been working toward heath equity,” says Ron Harris, vice president of corporate workforce diversity at BlueCross. “We are proud to support some of the state’s brightest students, and we hope they will use their unique insights and experiences to help improve access and deliver high-quality care for all Tennesseans.” 

The BlueCross Foundation is now accepting applications for 2024 awards. Submissions must be complete by Wednesday, May 1, 2024. For additional information and to apply, visit 


About Amanda Haskew, Senior Communications Specialist

A photo of the authorAmanda joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2017. Born and raised in Chattanooga, she has a decade of experience in writing for print and the web, as well as digital marketing.

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