With a nearly 70-year partnership, SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon and the NAACP Jefferson County Branch continue their efforts to promote equality for African American individuals in the community with a $2,500 scholarship awarded to a student pursing a degree in a health care related field.
This year's recipient, Aquoya Cantley, was awarded the NAACP Jefferson County Branch & SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital Health Care Scholarship at the recent NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon on January 16, 2017.
Cantley has worked in various roles in the healthcare field over the last 12 years, and is currently pursuing her LPN from Kaskaskia College.
Reverend Erie Patton, NAACP Jefferson County Branch President, and Michael Warren, SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital President presented Cantley with a plaque to commemorate the scholarship.
"Both SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital and the NAACP Jefferson County Branch believe that diversity creates stronger more productive communities and organizations," explained Rev. Patton, "together we are furthering this relationship and building a partnership to increase community awareness regarding careers in the health care field." Rev. Patton further shared that the mission of the NAACP "is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Therefore, going forward it is important to encourage diversity in every sector of the Mt. Vernon Community."
Michael Warren comments, "We, at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon, believe that diversity is an integral part of who we are and a reflection of our Mission and Values. It is through our diversified staff working together that we are able to deliver exceptional health care day in and day out."
The organizations' lengthy relationship coupled with the projected shortfall of individuals to fill future health care jobs led to the creation of the scholarship during 2011 and its first recipient on Martin Luther King Day, 2012. According to a recent study, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration project a national shortage of more than 1 million nurses and approximately 55,000 physicians by 2020.