Whenever we’re asked what the solution to any stated social problem might be, so often the answer is education. But designing an education strategy with a specific goal in mind is tough. Where do you start? How do you guarantee outcomes?
For a health foundation with a goal of physician recruitment and retention for Palm Beach County, it seems obvious that nurturing local talent and encouraging young people to pursue healthcare careers is a great place to start. But we aren’t in the scholarship business and we don’t make grants to individuals. We work with local nonprofits in pursuit of our mission, which is for the people of Palm Beach County to experience a better life through quality health. So we looked for partnerships. Fortunately, we had a scholarship expert in our neighborhood – the George Snow Scholarship Foundation. We were drawn to them not only for their expertise but because they offered a wealth of ancillary wraparound support services, from offering one-on-one assistance to providing laptops to help their scholarship beneficiaries succeed.
We also looked to the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society to provide mentoring support and we’re working with Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) Healthcare Careers Outreach Program run in conjunction with the local School District to identify the best candidates – those who attend the county's Medical Academies and want to work in healthcare, especially young people from traditionally-underrepresented groups.
Florida has both a growing and a large aging population and we are going to need more healthcare workers in all fields to ensure the future health of our communities. We’re selecting our first cadre of scholarship recipients now, and I’m excited to watch them as they grow into future members of a compassionate and skilled workforce for the County.
South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine recently outlines the initiative in an article.