Blue Shield of California to invest $7 million in new health equity scholarship at UC Berkeley School of Public Health | California Blue Shield


OAKLAND, Calif. (May 19, 2022) – Blue Shield of California announced today that it will invest $7 million over five years in a new scholarship program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health to support graduate students from underrepresented communities. The program, which aims to increase diversity among health professionals, will train fellows to leverage data and analytics to improve public health and advance health equity.

The first cohort of 20 students in the Blue Shield of California Health Equity Fellowship program will begin in August 2022. Over the next five years, the program will support approximately 100 masters and doctoral candidates, funding students from diverse communities – including African . American, Native American, Latino, and Pacific Islander backgrounds – groups that are underrepresented in California’s healthcare industry, especially in leadership positions.

The nonprofit health plan will also provide fellows with real-world work experiences — including internships and access to mentors — to tackle complex health challenges. Blue Shield plans to hire many fellows after graduation.

“The health inequities that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us the need to develop health policies and practices in a culturally sensitive way,” said DD Johnice, Vice President of Health Transformation Lab from Blue Shield of California. “Having members of underrepresented communities on the teams that design and build new health solutions, as well as innovative health organizations, is essential to transforming health care. We cannot achieve health equity without developing and supporting diverse top talent.

Michael C. Lu, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said, “This fellowship will create a pipeline of underrepresented talent in public health and provide holistic support – including mentorship. and mentoring, projects and internships, cohort experience and leadership development – ​​to ensure their success. I am grateful to Blue Shield of California for their partnership in helping us build a better and stronger, more diverse and inclusive public health system.

In addition to financial support, the scholarship provides students with a strong set of resources and opportunities, including:

  • Early outreach and recruitment of potential fellows
  • Tutoring and Career Services
  • Leadership and professional development workshops
  • Education and Mental Health Counseling
  • Social activities and networking opportunities with alumni
  • Opportunities to apply biostatistics and advanced analytical expertise to real business challenges
  • Internships at Blue Shield of California and Access to Health Plan Mentors

“At Blue Shield, we want to create a healthcare system worthy of all our family and friends, and sustainably affordable. Ensuring that care is equitable is a big part of that, and one of the ways we can help achieve that is by employing people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, who can use analytics and relate our members’ needs,” said Paul Markovich, President and CEO. CEO, Blue Shield of California. “I am excited about this program as it paves the way to that goal, and I look forward to welcoming the first fellows this fall. »

Blue Shield is committed to accelerating the career growth of diverse employees by recruiting, hiring and retaining these talents at all levels. Health plan initiatives include:

  • Blue Shield’s Flagship Youth Mental Health Initiative Blue skywho supports Health Career Connection’s summer internship program to help train the next generation of diverse mental and behavioral health professionals and leaders in California
  • blue shield career development programs for employees at all levels, helping to ensure internal mobility and providing employees with exposure, experiences, leadership and skills training, and tools to grow in their roles and prepare for promotions
  • Mentorship and sponsorship programs for employees from underrepresented communities with guidance, advocacy and strong connections within the organization
  • Access to bachelor’s and master’s programs at no cost to employees

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is an independent, not-for-profit, fee-paying member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and over $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now based in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its subsidiaries provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare service plans in California. The company has donated more than $192 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation over the past five years to impact California communities. For more information about Blue Shield of California, please visit Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitteror Facebook.

About UC Berkeley School of Public Health

For more than 75 years, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health has been a global health leader in research innovation, educational excellence, and social impact. Berkeley Public Health’s network of faculty, students, alumni (over 18,000), and partners innovate and collaborate to solve the most pressing public health issues of our time: climate change, epidemics, chronic disease and social inequalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes Berkeley Public Health as one of nine Centers for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research across the country. For more information about the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, please visit Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, instagramor Facebook.7


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