IEHP welcomes Healthcare Scholarship Fund recipients

Health Care and Community News

For Immediate Release 

Source: IEHP


Contact: Inland Empire Health Plan 

Kristina Hernandez, Media & Public Relations Strategist

909-552-0509 | kristina.hernandez@iehp.org

When Mina Botros immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt at age 10, he became an Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) member. Now the 25-year-old Riverside resident is preparing to give back to the community he loves by becoming a doctor in the very place he calls home – the Inland Empire.

And in a full-circle moment, Botros once again has the heart of IEHP watching over him — this time in the form of a scholarship through the not-for-profit health organization’s Healthcare Scholarship Fund. Known as HSF, the fund addresses two critical needs: providing financial support to physicians-in-training and closing the gap on the shortage of health care providers in the region.

“[IEHP] was a big source of support for me to seek health care and everything I needed to start a new life here,” recalled Botros, a second-year med student at Loma Linda University. “I got a lot of support out of IEHP, but I know there’s a lot of people who didn’t have that same support. And later on, I saw some family members and friends falling through the gaps and suffering from it; that’s when my passion toward serving the Inland Empire community through health care was solidified.”

IEHP launched its HSF in 2020 in partnership with three local medical schools – Loma Linda University School of Medicine, University of California, Riverside, and California University of Science and Medicine in Colton. Since its inception, HSF has invested millions of dollars in the future of health care through full-ride scholarships intended to help offset costs associated with attending medical school. Along with Botros, this year’s awardees join more than 100 scholarship recipients already in their respective career field studies.

To welcome the 2023 Scholars to the HSF family, IEHP hosted a special luncheon for the students and their supporters on Aug. 19 at the company’s headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga. Each scholar received messages of encouragement and tips of the trade from IEHP leaders, including IEHP Chief Executive Officer Jarrod McNaughton.

“The Inland Empire is actually at the bottom of the list when it comes to the provider-to-population ratios in the state of California,” McNaughton explained. “And so, the goal with this program is to have 50 full-ride medical school scholarships per year at the three medical schools in an attempt to go upstream and make sure you are well taken care of in the process … and you can really focus on [becoming] an incredible provider.”

The HSF program is just one way IEHP is working to address the critical need of health care within the areas it serves throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The organization launched a Network Expansion Fund (NEF) Program – with a 73 percent retention rate – which serves as a subsidy to offset costs associated with hiring physicians. All NEF recipients must commit to three years of practicing within the IEHP network and with no restrictions. Since its launch, NEF has supported more than 450 physicians and advanced practitioners.

To be considered as an HSF Scholar, med students must meet certain criteria based on their institution’s respective eligibility requirements, and all must agree to practice in the region for five years with a contracted IEHP provider.

In the meantime, IEHP will support HSF recipients throughout their academic journey by providing a helping hand whenever the need arises.

“You’ll be hearing a lot from us,” McNaughton explained. “This is not a ‘one-time wonder.’ We really want to be engaged and support you through your journey.”