Spokane, WA, June 18, 2020
Excelsior will establish an Equity Scholarship Fund to take action towards inequities in criminal justice, education, and healthcare systems. This funding aims to address institutional racism and systemic inequity across multiple public systems that negatively impact people of color
Excelsior believes that all racial and ethnic minorities deserve opportunities to change systems from within. For the 2020 funding cycle, Excelsior will prioritize full-ride scholarships to African American applicants seeking advanced degree in Behavioral Health. Scholarships will be designated to all racial and ethnic minorities seeking advanced degrees in criminal justice, education, and healthcare.
These opportunities are in addition to the loan repayment programs made available to all. Excelsior established the first $150,000 to match contributions from our partners and community members. Coordinated Care of Washington has agreed to sponsor mini grants totaling $5,000.00
Racial and ethnic minorities represent less than 1/3 of our population. Over 70% percent of mental health professionals identify as White. Today only five percent of Black students are enrolled in graduate-level psychology programs. Excelsior recognizes the importance of diversifying the mental health workforce and that disproportionality within the counseling workforce limits access and prolongs stigma associated with seeking mental health services.
Excelsior’s Chief Diversity Officer, Kitara Johnson, stated, “Excelsior’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Graduate Scholarship Program seeks to diversify the workforce by promoting the pursuit of behavioral health-related and health administration graduate degrees. This investment in their lives is a tangible way to create opportunities to realize the changes we want to see and a call to action in a time when people are searching for meaningful ways to contribute to improving equity in these systems.”
In a message from Excelsior CEO, Andrew Hill, “We aim to support behavioral health professionals of color to bring innovation, cultural awareness, and more diversity to the field. This scholarship program will ensure that professionals within the systems we aim to change are present, prepared, and leading the way.”
Coordinated Care’s president and CEO, Beth Johnson, noted “Coordinated Care is pleased to support Excelsior’s scholarship program to diversify the behavioral health professionals and perspectives serving our members. We know mental health is an important part of whole-person healthcare and having providers that reflect the cultures of our communities will enhance the healthcare industry and the care provided.”
Excelsior is pledging to match the first $150,000 in contributions by its employees, community partners, legislators, and public systems representatives.