Community Healthcare Scholarship at Yavapai College Continues Tradition of Creating Local Nurses and Radiologists with 100th Recipient

90% of Community Healthcare Scholarship Recipients Have Stayed in The Area After Graduation

Over the past six years, 100 students accepted into the Yavapai College nursing and radiology program didn’t have to worry about tuition or fees due to the Community Healthcare Scholarship started by the Jewish Community Foundation. The goal of the scholarship is to create a local pool of qualified professionals in the healthcare industry.

“The problem with healthcare is there is a shortage of everything..shortage of physicians, nurses, nurses aids, radiology technicians,” Jewish Community Foundation President David Hess said. “It’s hard to recruit people to a rural area because we have a different lifestyle, especially for younger people.”

“We don’t have a large younger population, we have an older population that needs a lot of healthcare,” Hess continued. “Rather than try to recruit competitively money-wise from people in Phoenix, we said it’s better to train our own and support them and they will stay here, they have their roots here already.”

A MORAL COMMITMENT TO STAY IN THE AREA

Hess mentioned the original donor for the program asked for a moral commitment-not a requirement-from the recipients of the scholarship to stay in the area. The hope for Hess and the donors was around 50%-60% of the students stay in the area. Through six years, that number is 90% and Hess said others have left to either continue their education or for family needs.

“It is amazing how that has worked,” Hess said.

PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED BY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

The program is supported by donations from The Yavapai College Foundation, the Jewish Community Foundation, the Margaret T. Morris Foundation, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, the Harold James Family Trust and Prescott Radiology Group.

Margret T. Morris Foundation Trustee Thomas Polk says the foundation has had the opportunity to support a lot of programs across the state, but the Community Healthcare Scholarship at Yavapai College was especially exciting.

“These kids have a lot of enthusiasm and provide a very important service to our community,” Polk said. “It’s extremely important for the hospital and our doctors here locally to have qualified and enthusiastic nurses (and radiologists). It’s essential to the provision of medical care.”

“We are hoping and have found that…the program is working and our hospitals and doctors have great nurses and the patients-are citizens-really benefit from that,” Polk continued.

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS THRILLED TO WORK IN HOME TOWN

Jordan Lewis, a recipient of the fall 2018 Community Healthcare Scholarship, is pursuing a nursing degree and applied for the opportunity. He answered four questions in essay format discussing his future plans and involvement in the community. Lewis had just returned home extremely tired from an 8-mile hike when he received the good news.

“As soon as I read that, I was full of energy,” Lewis said, adding he texted his friends who also got the scholarship as well. “It’s a huge blessing in my life and it’s a good experience to know that the other three I’ve gone through pre-requisites with are also getting the same chance to have their nursing school paid for.”

Once Lewis completes the program, the goal is to help the Verde Valley where he has lived for 15 years.

“It will be good to stay in the Verde Valley and take care of the people I know because I know a lot of people through being there for that amount of time,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ friend Roberta McLain also shares a similar goal for her home of Cottonwood. She is thrilled to be back in northern Arizona after previously moving away.

“As soon as I moved back home (Cottonwood), I will never leave,” McLain said. “It’s incredible what the donors have done for us, it’s very humbling.”

“It just really engrains in me how special our community is,” McLain continued.

EACH CLASS PASSED THE TORCH AND FUELS THE PROGRAM’S FUTURE

McLain, Lewis and the other ten recipients have a lot to work up to as the program has seen 62 scholarship recipients graduate from the program. Hess says there are currently 12 scholarship recipients in their second year and six students have done half of their first year. Now with the new group of students for the fall of 2018, there are 30 Community Healthcare Scholarship recipients at Yavapai College.

“With each class, they build more tradition,” Hess said, mentioning the students are passing the torch from class to class. “Just like this class is the 8th entering class, the seventh class for the summer session knows all of the accomplishments of the groups before them. They don’t want to let them down, they want to continue to do well because the success of the program means you continue to find money to fund it.”

“Their success builds more success for the program,” Hess continued.

Once the original donor decided no longer to do it, Hess mentioned he began looking for others. Hess found all the donors in one afternoon.

“He (the original donor) already knew what was going to happen, he’s a smart guy,” Hess said. “He (original donor) said I bet you can raise the money.”

“We just live in this wonderful community and if you have a really good idea, and it’s going to benefit young people and the community…it’s hard not to win with that combination,” Hess continued. “Everybody who’s associated with it is extremely proud.”

Hess said people are asked to make a four-year commitment when donating. In a year and a half, Hess stated the organization will evaluate the success, which he says looks great, and talk to sponsors once again.