HCA gives scholarships to benefit FAMU students in health-care studies
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer
As a child growing up in Perry, Ja’Kala Fudge saw health disparities up close. Her grandfather was the victim of a stroke and heart attack that led to his death.
Now Fudge wants to help as many people as possible who are experiencing health-care inequities. It is the reason that she is enrolled in the healthcare administration program at FAMU’s School of Allied Health Sciences.
“Coming from a small town, I’ve realized that healthcare is not equal for all,” Fudge said. “It depends on your socioeconomic status and other factors contributing to the quality of care that you need. I want to ensure that everyone, whether you’re Black, White, or Asian that you have equal access to health-care opportunities regardless of your ability to pay.”
Fudge and three of her classmates were named the first recipients of scholarships that are a part of an initiative between FAMU and HCA Florida. The partnership was announced last Thursday at a press conference.
Each of the scholarships is worth $7,200. In all, HCA will give FAMU $1.5 million over four years.
The three other students who received scholarships are Justice Richardson, Chandrahasa Srinvasa and Shideley Larochelle.
HCA, the parent company of Capital Regional Medical Center, said the program is part of the company’s plan to give $10 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions over the next three years.
The HCA donation will include funding to support the building and operations of the School of Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab. Next year the lab will be named the HCA Florida Healthcare Simulation Lab, according to a statement released by FAMU.
A tour of the lab was offered to attendees of the press conference.
“Today marks a major step,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, standing under a huge white tent where the press conference was held. “This partnership is focused on the next generation of healthcare administrators and managers.
“The complexity of fighting the (COVID-19) pandemic highlights the need for managers and administrators who can analyze all the moving parts of our intricate health-care delivery system and provide care that is equitable, effective and affordable.”
Robinson touted the benefits of the donation.
“This is a great match,” he said. “It’s going to be a wonderful partnership.
“I look forward to a very productive and mutually beneficial future for FAMU, our students, graduates, CHA Florida Healthcare and the community that surrounds us; those who depend upon us to solve the problems like COVID-19 every day.”
In part, officials said the donation will help prepare the next generation for various roles in healthcare. Fudge said she plans to work in healthcare administration with a focus on insurance.
“I, as an African American, definitely want to serve in a role so everyone else could live comfortably,” she said. “People that look just like me should walk into their hospital and feel comfortable.”