This combination image shows Ethel Lund Visionaries in Healthcare Scholarship recipients (top row) Delainey Steffe, Michael David Del Cesar, Gloria Eyon, (bottom row)Chariety Moler and Trinity Jackson. Scholarship winners The scholarship offers funds to Southeast Alaska Native students pursuing studies in the health care field.	(Courtesy Photos / Healing Hand Foundation)

This combination image shows Ethel Lund Visionaries in Healthcare Scholarship recipients (top row) Delainey Steffe, Michael David Del Cesar, Gloria Eyon, (bottom row)Chariety Moler and Trinity Jackson. Scholarship winners The scholarship offers funds to Southeast Alaska Native students pursuing studies in the health care field. (Courtesy Photos / Healing Hand Foundation)

Scholarship to help Southeast Alaska Native students help others

7 students earn Ethel Lund Visionaries in Healthcare Scholarships.

Michael David Del Cesar from Juneau who recently graduated from Columbia University, will in about a month take the Medical College Admission Test.

When the 2018 graduate from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé advances to medical school, his education will in part be paid for by a $2,500 scholarship for Southeast Alaska Native students pursuing careers in health care, the Ethel Lund Visionaries in Healthcare Scholarship.

“It was obviously great news; I did a little research into who Ethel Lund is and I realized my dad had actually gone and visited her in Sitka a couple months ago,” Del Cesar said. “I saw all the achievements she had throughout her lifetime and what she’s done in terms of healthcare for the Alaska Native people, it’s inspiring. So, to have applied and to have gotten that honor, it means a lot in those regards and obviously, financially, moving forward with applying to med schools and moving forward in terms of taking skills I’ve learned and hopefully bringing them back to Alaska, it means a lot, so I’m really honored to have won. I’m super thankful, as well. My interests are somewhere in surgery, maybe orthopedic sports medicine, maybe something more general that I know people in Southeast Alaska could really benefit from.”

Growing up in Wrangell, Ethel Aanwoogeex’ Lund saw firsthand how poor health care directly affected Alaska Native people and as a result of this she became instrumental in creating the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, as well as the Healing Hand Foundation.

Del Cesar is not the only one in the region to benefit from the new scholarship program.

Seven Southeast Alaska Native students recently received a total of $9,000 in scholarship funds through the Healing Hand Foundation for participating in the Ethel Lund Visionaries in Healthcare program. Students earned scholarships of either $2,500, $1,000, or $500 allotments. The program is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on opportunities for Alaska Native students who wish to pursue higher education specifically within the health care field.

Using health care knowledge to help Alaskans with Alaska-specific health concerns is what scholarship Delainey Steffers from Sitka hopes to do.

Steffes, who earned a $2,500 scholarship. is currently in her junior year at Washington State University where she’ll be taking online courses this fall semester. She’s currently studying psychology and she, too, hopes to one day apply what she’s learned to Alaska residents by addressing issues more relevant to Alaska Native communities.

“I’m really grateful to have won this scholarship just because it can be very stressful pursuing higher education because of the financial burden that comes with it. So, I’m especially grateful, it’s really helpful,” said Steffes.”I want to sort of focus on broader topics that are more specific to Alaska, like suicide rates and generational trauma, and issues that indigenous people struggle with, I want to try to be able to help in whatever way I can. A long-term goal, I want to get a Ph.D. in neuropsychology and focus more on research surrounding traumatic brain injuries.”

Fundraising for the scholarships is made possible through their annual Healing Hand Foundation Gala, which is currently being planned for the Fall of 2022.

“The Healing Hand Foundation is honored to contribute to the future of healthcare in Southeast Alaska by investing in the education of our indigenous youth,” said Healing Hand Board Chair Desiree Jackson in a news release.”HHF and our partner organizations, including SEARHC, Tlingit and Haida, and Goldbelt Inc. understand sustainable health care is strongest when homegrown.”

Other scholarship awardees are:

— Gabrielle George-Frank – $1,000 scholarship

— Sierra Nelson – $1,000 scholarship

— Chariety Moler – $1,000 scholarship

— Trinity Jackson – $500 scholarship

— Gloria Eyon – $500 scholarship

• Contact Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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