The Hanger Foundation, Austin, Texas, announced the 2021 recipients of the inaugural Hanger Foundation Diversity Scholarships, which were established in January through a founding donation from Hanger.
Six graduate students from three universities were each awarded a two-year scholarship to help supplement the cost of their Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO) programs.
- Taushima “Shima” Nixon, Alabama State University
- Kayla Tillman, Alabama State University
- Felicia Farrar, Northwestern University
- Althea Fordyce, Northwestern University
- Juan Argueta, University of Hartford
- Isabella “Noelle” Medina, University of Hartford
In addition to receiving the scholarship, all recipients will be offered a two-year mentorship, with the option of pursuing a residency at Hanger Clinic.
“I am proud to accept the Hanger Foundation Diversity Scholarship,” said Fordyce. “This scholarship affirms I am accepted into a space where, historically, few African American women venture.”
The students were selected by their respective universities for displaying remarkable academic achievement, community service, and a passion for diversity within the O&P profession.
“As the only Historically Black College and University with a P&O program, Alabama State University (ASU) plays a crucial role in addressing the lack of diversity among certified practitioners in the field,” said Scott Bretl, CPO, department chair for Prosthetics & Orthotics, College of Health Sciences at ASU. “We are excited to award the scholarships to two Black/African American women as they continue their educational pathway toward clinical practice. Certified practitioners in the field of P&O are currently only about 28 percent female, with a small percentage being Black/African American. The stark differences between demographics of practitioners and patients are most obvious in the South, so it is fitting that ASU’s program seeks a shift that would positively impact health disparities and inclusive patient care.”
“It is an honor to align with the Hanger Foundation on the important work of increasing access to the MSPO degree, with the ultimate goal of ensuring O&P clinicians better represent the patient populations they serve,” said Vinit Asar, Hanger president and CEO. “We are proud of these six outstanding individuals, who are the future of our profession, and look forward to having their unique perspective and talents within the O&P industry as we help build a more inclusive profession to better serve all.”