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Healthcare Scholarship Fund - Our Scholars

group of students from the Inland Empire. More than 30 recipient students grew up in the Inland Empire and more than 50% are first generation medical students and grew up in low-income households. Through the scholarship fund, aspiring healthcare professionals will be guided through the system and connected to the health plan’s provider network. This allows students to pursue successful careers in healthcare immediately after graduation to help support the region’s growing population. Loma Linda University School of Medicine Inland Empire Medical Community Service Awardees Class of 2022 Ye Jin Jeon Ye Jin's Why: “I applied for the Inland Empire Medical Community Service Award because the goal and priority to expand access to care and healthcare provider options for the Southern California region aligns with my calling. As a child growing up in the San Bernardino County, I saw the economic disproportion within my own neighborhood, and this compelled me…God has led me pursue my medical career” Class of 2024 Edwin Choque Edwin's Why: “Simply put, my heart lies in the Inland Empire. This community of individuals have fostered me and loved me since I was a child and all I can hope is to pay that love and care forward. . . . My dream is to be on the front lines as a representative for these individuals who frequently become marginalized…” University of California, Riverside Dean's Mission Recipients Four Year Award Elizabeth Celaya-Ojeda Elizabeth's Why: “I want to work particularly with the underserved in this area because I truly believe that being a physician is a privilege and with that there is a responsibility to be an advocate for those who are facing health disparities. I am particularly interested in providing care to underserved Native American and Hispanic communities. Not many healthcare providers are aware of the disparities these two communities face and I want to be an advocate for them, especially in the Inland Empire.” Alfonso Parocua Alfonso's Why: “Growing up, my family lacked meaningful access to healthcare and relied on a local free clinic as our only means of interacting with a physician. Through my personal experience with the free clinic, I developed a passion for service to the underserved communities who lack meaningful access to basic healthcare amenities due to low socioeconomic status. I sought opportunities that would allow me to pay my gratitude forward by becoming part of the solution to healthcare disparities in Inland Southern California. Through my volunteer efforts in free clinics and other community involvement programs, I witnessed the passion and dedication that health care providers and volunteers in the area have towards the underserved community. This realization deepened my connection to Inland Southern California because I was reminded so much of the health care professionals that helped my family when they couldn't help themselves.” Two Year Award Cesar Fortuna Cesar's Why: “A San Bernardino native, I have had the opportunity to volunteer in my community as a Spanish language translator for free clinics. Most patients I have spoken with fell into the category of uninsured, underinsured, or undocumented. It became clear the extent of need in this region when I would translate to the providers that this was the first-time dozens of our patients had ever seen a medical professional; however, this wasn’t uncommon. To these patients and their stories, I thank them because they inspire me to pursue Emergency Medicine where I can become a valuable player in providing care, providing resources, or providing comfort.” Lavinia Mitroi Lavinia's Why: “My goal of pursuing a career at the intersection of medicine and public health is driven by a desire to put patients and communities at the center of our health care system in the U.S. This desire was sparked most poignantly by my own experiences as an IEHP patient growing up in the Inland Empire. As I prepare for a future career as a pediatrician in this region, I hope to serve as an advocate for children and families, providing direct health services but also creating systems change.” Armando Navarro Armando's Why: “The earliest memory of my grandfather is him telling me, “Mijo, tienes que aprender Español para ayudar tu comunidad, you have to learn how to speak Spanish to help your community”. These words were often repeated to me by my grandfather who lamented the fact that he only spoke Spanish. I witnessed the health disparities affecting my community; doctors who did not speak Spanish, parents who could not afford a trip to the doctors’ office, and a healthcare system that was not inclusive of my community’s culture. I have a duty to give back to a school, a community, that has given me so much.” Christ Ordookhanian Christ's Why: “I see the medical profession through the lens of an individual who had lived through challenging times and witnessed how one individual provider can make such and impact when their heart is in the right place. My dedication to our underserved community stems from that of a lifelong mission I have set for myself which is to ensure I give back to a community that I am deeply associated with, they are my founding roots in the United States, and I vow to be at the forefront of the next generation of physicians that care and give the underserved hope.” University of California, Riverside Dean's Mission Recipients Daphne Du Daphne's Why: “I spent most of my life in underprivileged areas and saw firsthand how difficult healthcare access could be through inadequate financial resources, transportation, or translation services. Thanks to this investment in my studies, there is less stress in my life. I can focus on my studies and eventually give back to the community by becoming a physician who will advocate for patients without meaningful access to health care.” Judith Gonzales Judith's Why: “As a first-generation college student, there have always been many barriers in my path to higher education. I am the eldest daughter of an immigrant family, and it is truly an honor to be able to reach this point in my education and in my career, and to give back to my parents who have sacrificed so much for me and my sisters. Growing up in an underserved community showed me the long-lasting impacts of health inequities and strengthened my resolve to pursue a career in medicine. Working in the Inland Empire, I hope to not only address, but actively work towards combating the health inequity present in our communities.” Jordan Hough Jordan's Why: “Despite disadvantages encountered when living in a low-income community, I am grateful for the privilege I had in meeting physicians dedicated to their practice and willing to share that love through mentorship. These individuals have served as exemplary medical professionals and have encouraged me to follow in their footsteps. As a future physician, I aspire to empathetically care for patients by allowing my past experiences to enhance my understanding of their needs. I also plan to incorporate teaching into patient care by presenting opportunities for students to shadow and be mentored for a career in medicine.” Diana Martinez Diana's Why: “I am the daughter of Mexican Immigrants and grew up in Compton, California where I unfortunately was quickly desensitized to violence and was able to tell the difference between a firework and a gun shot. My mother had to travel a significant distance to ensure we had adequate healthcare. Despite these conditions, my parents always stressed education and did their best to give me what I needed. These life circumstances ignited my passion to serve those in disadvantaged communities, which I interacted with throughout my educational career. The Inland Empire Health Program Scholarship means I can achieve my dream –by practicing medicine in a community that deserves adequate, equitable, and accessible healthcare. I will serve as a bilingual physician in the Inland Empire that can serve families like my own and many more.”

Healthcare Scholarship Fund - About the Healthcare Scholarship Fund

p Fund is the health plan’s partnership with local academic institutions to help remove the barrier of debt for medical students and develop a growing workforce for healthcare professionals to care for the Inland Empire’s growing Medi-Cal population. Why is the Healthcare Scholarship Fund needed? According to the California Healthcare Foundation, the Inland Empire has one of the lowest ratios of Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and specialty physicians per 100,000 people in California. In addition, the Inland Empire lacks adequate Specialty and Behavioral Health practitioner capacity to serve the current growing population. With the average cost of a four-year medical degree standing firm at $276,800, pursuing a career in the medical field is out of reach for more and more each year. The HSF will aid students by helping to remove the financial burden of medical school that often restricts the choices of many aspiring healthcare professionals and allow recipients to immediately pursue careers in healthcare. I am a student and am interested in becoming a Doctor, what should I do? Students interested in the IEHP Healthcare Scholarship Fund are encouraged to contact the academic institutions below for more information on how apply. While each institution may have differing eligibility requirements, all Healthcare Scholarship Fund scholarships require students commit to practicing in the Inland Empire for 5 years after graduation. Participating schools and programs include: Loma Linda University Medical School University of California Riverside California University of Science and Medicine

Latest News - UC Riverside Athletics and IEHP Partner for Community Wellness

forces this season to bring health and wellness resources, including COVID-19 education and vaccine information, to the campus community and broader audiences. Utilizing a multi-channel approach, the organizations will serve as an access point to timely and accurate health information for students, staff and the community during the ongoing pandemic. “We are excited to welcome IEHP as a partner to help us continue our mission of preparing our student-athletes for opportunities in life through sport,” said Wesley Mallette, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “In partnership with IEHP, we hope to educate and inform all Highlanders about the amazing resources IEHP provides and their positive impact on lives.” As a corporate sponsor, IEHP will be cheering for UCR’s basketball, baseball and softball home games, and will be sponsoring a basketball game on February 17, celebrating Black History Month. At this event, Michael Deering, IEHP’s Vice President of Innovation, Acceleration and Diversity, will be announcing the UCR Highlanders’ starting lineup. Also featured in the partnership is the health plan’s collaborative work with UCR’s Center for Healthy Communities and School of Medicine and will be aired on videoboard screens before games—appearing on ESPN+ when Highlander games are televised. “UCR’s commitment to public health is incredibly evident in all they do,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re grateful to partner with them on multiple levels and look forward to sharing resources and accurate COVID-19 information so we can put our best foot forward in living healthy lives and defeating this virus, together.” For upcoming UCR game schedules and events, visit gohighlanders.com.

Latest News - IEHP Promotes Balance with Youth Activities

l, family and friends, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) offers a regular schedule of fun – and free – classes at its community resource centers.  “Extracurricular activities decrease the potential for risky behaviors in children and young adults and provide an increased sense of connectedness and belonging,” said IEHP Community Behavioral Health Clinical Director Amrita Rai. “Any kind of opportunity to engage in activities supporting healthy emotional development can increase self-esteem and the ability to interact with peers, which offers benefits well into adulthood.” IEHP’s community resource centers can help nurture and improve mental health for young Inland Empire residents. The centers offer classes and activities including Zumba, creative arts, cooking and gardening across its three locations in Riverside, San Bernardino and Victorville. Sessions are held Monday through Saturday and can be found on iehp.org. The U.S Surgeon General’s 2021 Advisory  further highlights COVID-19’s impact to the ongoing youth mental health crisis, citing the urgent need to address these challenges head-on through coordinated action by community and federal organizations and by recognizing mental health as an essential part of overall health. This concept is not new to IEHP, which is currently partnering with several community organizations and Local Education Agencies to expand behavioral health services in and near schools (Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program).  The health plan is also exploring opportunities to add even more free classes and activities for teens and young adults to their centers through a partnership with Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy.   “We’re looking forward to adding more fun to our center schedules in the weeks and months to come,” said IEHP Victorville Community Resource Center Manager Delia Orosco. “Our centers serve as a safe space for all who enter, regardless of age, to truly express themselves and we take that very seriously.” To learn more about IEHP Community Resource Centers and class schedules, visit iehp.org.  

Latest News - Statewide Initiative Supports Behavioral Health of I.E. Youth

h Molina Healthcare, County Behavioral Health, the Offices of Education in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and select local school districts and charter schools to implement the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP).  The three-year program is in accordance with the California Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) goal to expand prevention and early intervention behavioral health services in schools and provides financial incentives to partnering school districts and charter schools. A total of $389 million has been allocated for California. Between both IEHP and Molina Healthcare, up to $50,845,334 can be utilized to support this program. According to the American Psychological Association, one in five young women and one in ten young men experience a major depressive episode before the age of 25. The COVID Collaborative also notes one in 330 California children have lost either a parent or caregiver in the last two years, adding significant stress and trauma to the lives of California’s youth, along with stay-at-home orders and remote learning.  “If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be proactive in addressing mental health and wellness needs early on, before traumas have a chance to manifest later in life,” said Amrita Rai, IEHP’s clinical director of community behavioral health.  Through SBHIP efforts, existing mental health initiatives will be bolstered, and coordination between schools, managed care plans, county behavioral health and community partners aim to address the equity gap and improve access to mental health prevention and treatment for students.  Resources will be directed to fill gaps in these areas throughout the participating schools and their respective communities. Services will be limited to schools who are participating in SBHIP and who receive funding.   “We are well into a crisis when it comes to the mental health and wellness of our youth. Now is the time to be bold and work tirelessly for our children because what we do now will affect generations to come,” said Rai. “Why not focus our resources, our passion, and our commitment back into the community and schools? Our children spend most of their lives in school, which makes this multi-organizational partnership so worthwhile.” Partnerships with local education agencies and school sites include San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS); Riverside County of Education; Palm Springs Unified School District; Hemet Unified School District; San Bernardino City Unified School District; Rialto Unified School District; Victor Valley Union High School; Ontario-Montclair School District; Leadership Military Academy; Nuview Union School District; Provisional Accelerated Learning Academy; and Riverside County Office of Education Alternative Education Program.  While the initiative will begin at these partner sites, it is anticipated that learnings would benefit other schools and districts interested in implementing similar programs in the future.   “San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools recognizes the growing mental health crisis among our youth and supports this joint effort to address this critical issue,” said County Superintendent Ted Alejandre. “SBCSS seeks to build capacity within countywide systems and increase access to much needed support to ensure every child receives the services they need when they need them.”  “Educators at the Riverside County Office of Education and within all Local Educational Agencies (LEA) in Riverside County, are vitally interested in addressing the needs of the whole student beyond the classroom. Linking arms with partners across the county via the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP) will equitably provide mental health services to those who might not otherwise have access to this level of support,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Edwin Gomez. Selection of school districts and charter schools was dependent on DHCS guidelines and considered specific criteria, such as the number of students who received Medi-Cal, were foster youth or English learners, received free or reduced priced meals, were interested in participating in the program and other factors.  “It’s the right thing to do. This program gives us a great opportunity to extend both heart and hand to children in our community,” said Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP’s chief medical officer. “Working together, we can equip them with necessary skills, habits and care they can use today and through adulthood, setting them up for a healthier and happier tomorrow.”  “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and elevated behavioral health needs in our communities, including in young people. Mental and emotional wellbeing make up a significant portion of overall health and healthy youth lead to improved community wellness. We are proud to partner with IEHP, local offices of education and mental health professionals to address the youth behavioral health crisis in tangible, preventative ways.” said Dr. Sayeed Khan, chief medical officer at Molina Healthcare. Program preparation began this year and will support a January 2023 launch at all 10 participating local education agencies. Through careful planning and implementation, the program will aim to build and support a sustainable system beyond the life of the program, which will end in December 2024. alt=" "="" src="-/media/7c6d40e217094fb1be8ec6cec9473878.ashx?h=233&w=350" class="" />

Latest News - IEHP Leaders Honored with LLU Alumnus of the Year Awards

ommunity Behavioral Health Amrita Rai were each named Alumnus of the Year by their respective departments at Loma Linda University (LLU) for their promotion of the vision and purposes of their alma mater along with their contributions to the community.  Pham earned his master’s degree with an emphasis in healthcare administration from LLU’s School of Public Health. At IEHP, Pham develops and executes IEHP’s strategy system to advance the health plan’s mission and achieve its bold 2030 vision: we will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health. In this work, Pham constantly seeks new ways for IEHP to better serve the community and its most vulnerable residents. “We were pleased to honor Mr. Thomas Pham with the SPH Alumnus of the Year Award at our 2022 commencement ceremony. His notable contributions as part of IEHP to the health and well-being of the Inland Empire communities reflect our vision for healthy people living in resilient communities supported by equitable systems of health,” said Dr. Helen Hopp Marshak, LLU Dean, School of Public Health. Honored by LLU’s School of Behavioral Health, Rai graduated with a master’s degree in social work. In her current role at IEHP, Rai actively leads both community and statewide initiatives in improving access to mental health services, including the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program.  “Amrita Rai received the 2022 Alumni of the Year award at the graduation services of the Loma Linda University School of Behavioral Health for her unwavering commitment to servant leadership and the delivery of equitable behavioral health services for the most vulnerable populations throughout the Inland Empire,” said Dr. Beverly Buckles, LLU Dean, School of Behavioral Health.  Rai also shares her expertise and passion at various speaking engagements throughout the year, inspiring awareness and continued improvement of the development and delivery of behavioral health services.  “The transformational work Thomas and Amrita have done in their respective areas is a true testament to their love for the Inland Empire community. Active contributions and engagement from team members like Thomas and Amrita make IEHP’s commitment to heal and inspire the human spirit possible, and we are grateful for their service,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. 

Latest News - IEHP and Victor Valley College Continue Food Distribution in the High Desert

curity in the high desert. Community residents can receive a free food box at VVC’s Lower Campus every Monday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. While residents are encouraged to register online at tinyurl.com/vvcfoodboxreg, non-registered walk-ups are welcome at 12:30 p.m., while supplies last. Recipients must be 18 years or older, and boxes are limited to one per household. Prior to partnering with VVC, the health plan hosted weekly food box drive-thru distribution events at their Victorville Community Resource Center (CRC), totaling more than $5M in food from June 2020 to July 2021. “Food insecurity is one of the greatest needs in our region. We knew the distribution efforts had to continue,” said Delia Orosco, IEHP Victorville CRC Manager. “We are so grateful to VVC, a key community partner, for continuing to serve the community so our resource centers can prepare to reopen and serve again in the future.” To support high desert residents, food is ordered weekly through Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino, picked up each Monday morning by High Desert Second Chance, and delivered to VVC. IEHP Team Members, VVC students and faculty, and volunteers from God’s Hand Extended operate the event and work to distribute food directly to residents. “It is truly our pleasure to partner with such amazing organizations like IEHP and God’s Hand Extended. This is a collaborative effort and great example of how education, healthcare, and community organizations can come together with a common goal and purpose to serve,” said Amber Allen, VVC Special Grant Programs Director. “By bringing our community to the college to provide food, we are opening the doors to people who may not be aware of available opportunities at VVC. This effort helps us to meet people where they are, so they have the ability to focus on their goals, beyond just meeting their basic needs.” In addition to food distribution efforts, IEHP and VVC will launch on-campus health and wellness programs to support VVC students. Programs will include personalized wellness support for students, fitness classes and more. “These resources are brought to the community, by the community,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. “These partnerships place life-changing resources within reach for so many of our most vulnerable residents. Times may be tough, and resources may be sparse, but partnerships and collaborations allow for hope and progress to be continuously made.” VVC hopes to continue the distribution effort for as long as it is needed. To learn more about the food box drive-thru, visit vvc.edu/events/free-weekly-food-box-drive-thru.

Latest News - New Pilot Program Supports I.E. Residents with Heart Failure

with heart failure the tools to manage their health condition by offering personalized care and support in a new and exciting way. In collaboration with Purfoods, LLC (DBA Mom’s Meals), participating Members will receive healthy food and meals, nutrition education and digital weight scales. The program will run from June to December.  Adding a personal touch, IEHP’s Health Navigators will also visit each Member in their home to help connect them to Care Management Nurses, set up their digital weight scales, provide Heart Failure Management Plans, and conduct Health Risk Assessments. “The goal is to empower our Members to be their healthiest selves,” said Anna Edwards, IEHP’s care management clinical director. “This program is innovative and practical. We help provide the tools so that Members can make informed decisions about their health, reducing the likelihood of emergency situations and the need for hospitalization.” After a sixth-month assessment of the results, the program has the potential to be expanded, offering support to even more Members.  IEHP’s Health Navigators are also participating in a Healthy School Initiative Pilot Program, partnering with San Bernardino County School District and Colton Joint Unified School District to provide outreach and support to students. The team has also partnered with HumanGood to serve senior residents at Mt. Rubidoux Manor in Riverside.  “Coordinating personalized care starts with getting to know the individual needs of each Member,” said Carmen Ramirez, IEHP’s health navigator program manager. “Through in-home visits, Health Navigators are able to connect with the Member, assess their needs and work with Care Management to coordinate effective and individualized care, maximizing positive health outcomes.”  

Latest News - IEHP’s Women in Leadership Engage with Local Students

articipated in Chaffey College’s Center for Culture and Social Justice Panel titled, “Celebrating Women in Healthcare Leadership,” which educated students of the current roles and contributions made to healthcare by women in the Inland Empire. The panel, conducted over Zoom, included several IEHP leaders, including Susie White, Chief Operating Officer; Dr. Priya Batra, Senior Medical Director for Family and Community Health; Shelly LaMaster, Director of Integrated Care; and Anna Wang, General Counsel.  “The event was wonderful and hearing from IEHP’s women leaders was impactful for all who attended,” said Dr. Leticia Romo, Chaffey College’s Director of Student Equity and Engagement. “We had the opportunity to hear real and authentic stories, wisdom, and encouragement.  Our students learned about mentorship, management responsibilities, leadership development, and overcoming imposter syndrome.  We definitely look forward to connecting with the IEHP leaders in the future.” The panel also provided students with stories about their own educational journey and career background and offered advice for future healthcare leaders. “Our work as a community-based health plan goes well beyond traditional health services,” said White. “It also includes making sure the next generation of leaders are equipped with the necessary support, tools and information to make even greater contributions to the healthcare space in the future.” In 2020, the health plan launched a Healthcare Scholarship Fund, partnering with Loma Linda University Medical School, University of California Riverside, and California University of Science and Medicine, to help remove the barrier of debt for local medical students and develop a growing workforce for healthcare professionals to care for the Inland Empire’s growing Medi-Cal population. In addition, amid the pandemic, IEHP provided internships to local public health students at Claremont Graduate University and Western University of Health Sciences to assist in developing program curricula at the plan’s Community Resource Centers.   “Sharing knowledge and guidance with Inland Empire learners just entering the health care workforce is another way we can positively impact health and wellness,” said Dr. Priya Batra, IEHP’s Senior Medical Director for Family and Community Health. “Supporting the advancement of diverse health care professionals will help us achieve vibrant health in our region.”  

Latest News - IEHP Sponsors Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative Scholarships and Awards

nsorship to Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative (IEDC) that will be distributed to 10 students who applied for IEDC scholarships. Scholarships were distributed June 16 at San Bernardino Valley College, where IEDC Member Denise Booker was also honored for her dedication to bring awareness of Juneteenth to the Riverside community.  “Providing opportunities, aid and continuing to advocate and honor individuals who stand for equity is critical to our mission to obtain optimal care and vibrant health in our region,” said IEHP Director of Community Health and IEDC Board President, Dr. Gabriel Uribe. “Since 2019, IEDC has distributed 33 scholarships to Inland Empire students with disabilities who are pursing undergraduate, graduate, vocational or technical degrees. It’s a tradition we hope to continue through our partnerships and community support.”  Established in 2006, IEDC is powered by a partnership between IEHP, Community Access Center and PossAbilities of Loma Linda University Health. Today the organization brings together more than 900 service providers from several organizations across the Inland Empire who serve seniors and people with disabilities.  “It's imperative we do what we can to level the playing field and advocate for underserved and marginalized communities. That’s what’s so inspiring about Mrs. Booker. She stood up, she spoke up and she sparked positive change in her community,” added Uribe.  Booker has been an IEDC member since 2017 and has been active in advocating for the Black community. Through her organization, The Black Collaborative, Booker has led advocacy efforts to inform local politicians and leaders about Juneteenth and why the day is important in our nation’s history.  “The collaboration I have with IEDC provides me the opportunity to help a section of my community that I otherwise would not be able to,” said Booker. “My relationship with IEDC brings true the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’”     

Latest News - From Medi-Cal to Med School: An IEHP Member’s Quest to Serve the Inland Empire

hild would be paying her medical school bills today. And yet, that’s exactly what Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) has done for the past two years—and counting.    IEHP awarded Hough with their innovative Healthcare Scholarship Fund award in 2020, bringing Hough’s journey from Medi-Cal member to medical school student to fruition. A Victorville native and now third-year medical student at California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM), Hough was one of 50 students to receive the inaugural award from IEHP. The health plan has sustained the program with annual scholarship awards ranging from full to partial tuition at three medical schools: CUSM, Loma Linda University and University of California, Riverside. “This scholarship means the world to me,” said Hough. “Growing up in a family who struggled financially, the dream of being able to go to medical school seemed so farfetched for so long.” IEHP created the scholarship fund to help address the provider shortage in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. “By supporting local medical students, we are able to secure their service to the Inland Empire after graduation and create a pipeline of health care professionals who are committed to serving our communities with compassion and empathy,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. Hough discovered her passion for medicine while taking human science classes at California State University Fullerton and spending countless hours volunteering at Children’s Health Orange County. Encouraged by these experiences and several physician mentors, she decided to pursue a career as a doctor. Hough intentionally applied to only local schools so she could remain connected to her Inland Empire roots. “Most people apply very broadly—to as many schools as they want,” Hough said. “But I felt it was really important to be in this area, so I only applied to three medical schools. It was very risky, but it worked out.” Hough remembers not having much guidance or role models related to her dream of medicine growing up, so becoming a doctor didn’t seem possible. “When I got that acceptance letter,” she said, “it was really a moment of shock.”   Through the medical school admissions process, Hough learned about IEHP’s Healthcare Scholarship Fund and its goal to support local students who wished to remain in the Inland Empire. Hough remembered IEHP was the health plan she had as a child and appreciated how they promoted a mission she resonated with. She applied and earned a four-year award.   “After receiving the scholarship, a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders,” said Hough. “Thank you so much IEHP, from the bottom of my heart. I don’t think words could ever explain how grateful I am.” The cost for medical school in California has been on an upward trend since 2013, increasing about $1,500 annually and currently averaging a total of $218,792. This puts the dream of being a physician even further out of reach for many IE students, and deeply impacts the ongoing provider shortage in the region. “Bridging the gap between aspiring IE medical professionals and local medical schools to serve the region’s most vulnerable populations is what this scholarship program was designed to do,” said McNaughton. “We are absolutely elated to support Jordan and our HSF award recipients on their path to becoming physicians and are especially eager to connect their desire and ability to provide optimal care and vibrant health to the communities they love so very much.” The health plan will be hosting networking and supportive events for medical students throughout their medical school journey, including a dinner at IEHP headquarters on May 3. To learn more about IEHP’s Healthcare Scholarship Fund, visit iehp.org.

Latest News - IEHP Extends Mental Health Awareness and Support

oughout the year and is doing something about it.  “A behavioral health crisis can occur in someone’s life at any given moment,” said IEHP Clinical Director of Community Behavioral Health Amrita Rai. “Each person carries and responds to a crisis in a very personal way, which is why it is critical to meet the needs of our community and our members, ensuring they have the right resources at the right time.”  Extending the conversation beyond September’s National Suicide Prevention observance, IEHP will continue to proactively encourage mental and behavioral wellness conversations throughout the year through the plan’s website and LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok accounts.  Sharing existing resources with the community, information will include supporting awareness of the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, post-partum maternal health resources, student behavioral health programs, grief and depression management and wellness programming through the health plan’s community resource centers.  Spreading awareness further with industry peers and decision-makers from across the health care community, Rai will also join a panel at The Future of Mental Healthcare West 2022 Conference in November to share insights about engaging youth in their mental health.  “Your mental health and wellness are just as important as your physical health, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help,” said Rai. “We want to encourage our members and communities to take that courageous step and reach out.” Help is available for anyone at any time by dialing 9-8-8. IEHP members can also confidentially call Member Services at (800) 440-4347. For more information, visit iehp.org.  

Latest News - Local Student Ambassadors Target Low Campus Vaccination Rates

ease COVID-19 vaccine awareness, education, and utilization rates among students through student-led vaccine education. “I am participating in this COVID-19 Student Ambassador Program to educate and inform my community about COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Jasmine Mejia, CHC Student Ambassador. “Many lives have been lost and my community needs to know the truth about the importance of being vaccinated.  If I can get the facts out about the COVID 19 vaccine, then I will play a small part in saving lives in my community.” Trained by IEHP’s Community Health Teams and the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, the eight student ambassadors – four at each campus – aim to increase on-campus vaccine rates by distributing vaccine information at booths located in the main areas of each campus, peer presentations, pop-up clinic promotions, and helping schedule vaccine appointments.   “With vaccine mandates on campus, we want to make sure our local college students have all they need to continue their education safely,” said Marci Coffey, IEHP Community Partnerships Director. “We’re excited to work with students in this capacity and empower them to effectively inform and engage with their peers.” IEHP will provide students with vaccine education resources, health plan materials, and promotional items to share during the program’s duration. In addition, the health plan will provide a stipend to the students committed to participate in the program four days (16 hours) a week. “Education is key and, if provided, I feel that each person will make an informed decision. As an ambassador, I hope to spread the word that lack of insurance, immigration status, or having permanent housing doesn't disqualify anyone from receiving vaccinations and boosters,” said Sophia Zamora, SBVC Student Ambassador.    The project is set to run from January 4 to March 31 on both campuses. “We understand there are concerns and fears associated with the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP’s Chief Medical Officer. “Learning from a qualified, well-informed peer can help drive positive influences and healthy decision making. We hope to increase those opportunities for students by empowering student ambassadors with all they need to spark conversations that will ultimately lead to healthier students and communities.”

Latest News - IEHP Partners with Young Visionaries to Teach Life Skills in High Desert

of fun into life skills training classes, then watch the positivity ensue. High Desert children and teens are well on their way to success, thanks to Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy (YVYLA) and its Creative Arts and Cognitive Life Skills program, which is offered at Inland Empire Health Plan’s (IEHP) Victorville Community Resource Center. A regular on-site partner at IEHP’s Victorville center, YVYLA works tirelessly to empower and enrich the lives of young people (ages 10-19) through life-building activities and instruction in the areas of education, employment and mentoring. To achieve this, YVYLA offers various programs as well as family and social resources.  “Three days a week, we bring creative arts classes, cooking and support groups for teens in Victorville,” said Terrance Stone, YVYLA chief executive officer. “Each class is intentionally designed and provides a positive environment where students learn cultural awareness, life skills and much more.” In addition to the IEHP partnership, YVYLA collaborates with school districts across the High Desert and IEHP agency partners, like Desert Mountain Children’s Center, which provides weekly teen support groups.  “Like all our on-site partners, YVYLA is committed to the health and wellness of IEHP’s members and the communities we serve,” said IEHP Community Resource Center Manager Delia Orosco. “YVYLA pours an immense amount of love, support and resources into our youths and we are so grateful and excited about our future collaborations.” Currently, IEHP’s Victorville Community Resource Center hosts five on-site partners: Goodwill, Housing Authority of County San Bernardino, TODEC Legal Center, Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County and YVYLA.  To learn more about YVYLA, visit yvyla-ie.org or stop by IEHP’s Victorville Community Resource Center at 12353 Mariposa Road, Suites C-2 & C-3, in Victorville.

Latest News - University of La Verne Names IEHP’s Chief Executive Officer its Leopard of the Year

eve Morgan Leopard of the Year award, University of La Verne’s (ULV) most prestigious alumni recognition.  “We consider this our Lifetime Achievement award, given to an alumnx who not only has achieved extraordinary career success, but maybe more importantly, has also greatly impacted and improved lives in their community,” shared University of La Verne President Dr. Devorah Lieberman. Selected by a committee comprised of leaders from ULV’s Alumni Advisory Board, the Office of Alumni Engagement and University Administration, recipients of the award are alumni who demonstrate a deep-seated commitment to their community and support the university with their time, talent and resources.  “Jarrod has been a transformational partner with us over the past several years in the creation of our new College of Health and Community Well-Being,” added Lieberman. “His intimate knowledge of the health care needs of the Inland Empire and his personal passion to help guide our students – many of them first-generation college graduates, like himself – into productive, worthwhile career paths was a visionary contribution to help guide our planning. As our programs grow and our students succeed, we will forever credit his foresight and support in helping form this college.” McNaughton, who earned a Master of Business Administration at ULV, has remained engaged with the university since graduation, serving students through guest lectures, commencement speeches and more.  “Maintaining a strong connection with your alma mater is an important part in supporting the next generation, especially those living in the Inland Empire,” said McNaughton. “I am incredibly humbled by this recognition and look forward to my continued collaboration with ULV in bridging gaps for current and future students.”  

Latest News - Together with EASE: IEHP Partners to Promote Awareness and Early Childhood Detection of Diabetes

spread awareness about Type 1 diabetes and the detection of the chronic health condition in children. Together, the two organizations will actively distribute and promote educational material and work to connect the community with supportive resources. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the frequency of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in young people is a growing clinical and public health concern. While Type 2 diabetes is preventable, Type 1 diabetes is not. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily doses of the key hormone that converts glucose into energy. Diabetes has the potential to damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves, according to the World Health Organization. EASE T1D is the joint effort of two mothers, Debbie George and Michelle Thornburg, who have children with Type 1 (T1D) diabetes. Through their more than 25 years of combined experience, they have come to recognize areas of significant need and have joined forces to apply their knowledge as parents of young diabetics through Education, Awareness, Support and Empowerment (EASE). “The goal of EASE T1D is to raise public awareness of what Type 1 diabetes is and the onset symptoms,” said Debbie George, who co-founded EASE T1D. “So many times, children go undiagnosed because a parent thought it was a simple virus.” “Excessive thirst, frequent urination, weakness and weight loss are the top four symptoms,” added George. “And because there are so many illnesses these symptoms could be attributed to, awareness is critical.”     The non-profit group is also active in shaping state law, recently partnering with Poison lead singer and reality TV star Bret Michaels – diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 6 years old – in support of California’s Senate Bill 97, which requires Type 1 diabetes information to be available on the California Department of Education’s website and to be distributed to parents and guardians of K-12 students. The bill was signed into law in October 2021 as a part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $123.9 billion K-12 package.   “Empowering parents and guardians with this information is a great step in extending preventive health care services to our community,” said Dr. Wada, IEHP’s chief medical officer. “This partnership will help us to fill in the gaps and truly meet our members where they are.” To learn more about EASE T1D, visit EASET1D.org.