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Independence Blue Cross Foundation Collaborates with Temple University to Create a Pathway to Nursing for Students of Color

CEO Greg Deavens, Temple president Wingard with IBC Foundation Healthcare Scholars l to r Hannah Mahler Sakeesha Similien, Jamirah Branch, and Justine Jones

CEO Greg Deavens, (on left) Temple president Jason Wingard with IBC Foundation Healthcare Scholars, (l to r) Hannah Mahler Sakeesha Similien, Jamirah Branch, and Justine Jones.

Philadelphia, PA — October 12, 2021 — Today, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) announced new grant funding for a collaboration with Temple University’s College of Public Health and Department of Nursing to create a direct pathway to nursing from high school to college for students of color. The IBC Foundation Healthcare Scholars Pipeline Program will provide full four-year scholarships, which cover tuition and educational expenses, for students of color pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at Temple University.

In addition to full scholarships, students will receive academic support including paid internships, learning communities and mentorships to further support their undergraduate nursing experience and academic achievement. The initial cohort will include five students from north Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhood high schools and will later expand to additional schools and up to 20 students.

Temple will also offer three-day summer programs for high school freshmen through seniors focused on safety and first aid, hygiene, healthy nutrition, stress management, and the role of nursing in the health of individuals, families, and communities. The goal is to raise awareness of nursing as a career, and to help students meet nursing school admissions criteria.

“A diverse nursing workforce is essential to providing culturally competent care in communities of color, so we must make sure nursing education is an option for all who want to enter the career,” said Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross president and CEO. “Independence is a champion of health equity and social change, tackling challenges through partnerships like the Healthcare Scholars Pipeline Program. We are proud to work with Temple University and Philadelphia-area high schools to launch this program and mark another milestone in our twenty-year journey of support for nursing.”

The 2020-2023 Future of Nursing Report by the National Academy of Medicine emphasizes the diverse health care needs of changing populations, and specifically advises that nurse education programs expand recruitment of diverse students. This educational pipeline program will meet this objective by increasing underrepresented backgrounds in nursing.

“We’re immensely grateful to have the Independence Blue Cross Foundation as a partner in this important endeavor,” said Dr. Jason Wingard, president of Temple University. “Through this collaboration, our College of Public Health will facilitate the development of a pipeline of highly-talented and diverse nurses. The importance of intentionally targeting these frontline practitioners is crucial given the current complexities of the healthcare system. So, we’re excited to collaborate with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to enhance equity and access of training in support of preparing a best-in-class workforce.”

Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to secure job placements within the Temple University Health System (TUHS) upon graduation.   

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) is a private, corporate charitable foundation that was established in 2011 with a mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and well-being of the community. The Foundation has awarded more than $55M in grants to nonprofits and academic institutions in the southeastern Pennsylvania region whose programs and services address access to care, the health care workforce, and nonprofit sustainability.

Learn more by visiting our website: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter at @ibxfdn.

 About Temple University College of Public Health

Temple’s College of Public Health is leading a new movement to reimagine the future of public health. Our college is comprised of nearly 170 full-time faculty and more than 4,300 students who embrace public health as a catalyst for individual and community change and well-being, working together on innovative designs and delivery solutions for healthcare, disease prevention and social welfare. Through transdisciplinary research and interprofessional education, we are generating new knowledge, conducting state-of-the-art education, and training a new generation of clinicians and researchers.

The College of Public Health is one of the largest and most diverse colleges of its kind in the country, incorporating healthcare and health services disciplines as well as traditional public health programs. The college is home to the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Health Services Administration and Policy, Kinesiology, Nursing, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the School of Social Work. Across our 20 disciplines and more than 50 academic programs, we work to serve our students and our community.

Media Contacts:

Ruth Stoolman
Independence Blue Cross
215-667-9537 (cell)

Stephen Orbanek
Associate Director of Issues Management
Temple University
267-846-8444 (cell)


Independence Blue Cross Foundation Team

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is leading a future for equitable health in our communities and nation. The IBC Foundation’s grant programs and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Institute for Health Equity are advancing three areas of impact: Access to Care, the Healthcare Workforce, and Health Equity. Since inception the IBC Foundation’s most important stakeholder – the community – has been at the center of the work. By the end of 2023, the IBC Foundation will have awarded grants totaling more than $80 million to support nonprofits and research improving the health and well-being of communities in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Learn more by visiting our website: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on LinkedIn.

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