Eight students receive Optum scholarships

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galway daily news Caitlin McCahill, University of Galway
Caitlin McCahill, University of Galway

The United Health Foundation has announced the eight students to receive bursaries under its Healthcare Scholarship Program 2022.

The Optum Ireland programme is focused on students from less-advantaged backgrounds who wish to pursue a degree in primary or specialised care, or emerging health care technologies.

The program supports dedicated scholarships to University of Galway, ATU Donegal, Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (Dublin).

2022 Scholars

University of Galway: Caitlín McCahill, Occupational Therapy (St. Columba’s Comprehensive, Glenties)

ATU Donegal: Mia Baikie, Nursing (Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada, Arranmore) Catherine Whiteside, Applied Computing (Abbey Vocational School, Donegal)

Ulster University, Magee Campus: Gráinne McGlynn, Physiotherapy (Rosses Community School, Dungloe)

Queen’s University: Connor Allison, Biochemistry with Professional Studies (Loreto, Milford)

Royal College of Surgeons: Evin Donnelly, Medicine (Newpark Comprehensive, Ballybrack)

School of Medicine, Ulster University, Magee Campus: Heather Broadley (County Donegal); Dearbhlá Butterly (County Louth)

“This program is helping to create additional and much needed healthcare professionals in Ireland,” said Padraig Monaghan, Managing Director of Optum Ireland and UK.

“We have seen over recent years how these young people from diverse backgrounds have thrived with the support of the scholarship and I am delighted to announce this year’s recipients.”

With the addition of the new scholars, the scholarship program is currently supporting 24 students across five universities on the island of Ireland.

This year’s Ireland Healthcare Scholars will benefit from annual financial assistance, will be paired with a mentor and will participate in community volunteering activities.

Margaret O’Connor, Principal of Loreto Milford in County Donegal, said: “The Ireland Healthcare Scholarships make a real and palpable difference to young people who would not otherwise be able to have this additional education.

“The cost of third level education places a significant financial burden on families and pressure on the young people themselves. The scholarship can be life-changing for our students.”

Caolinn Diver from Carndonagh in County Donegal was one of the first recipients of a health care scholarship and recently graduated with a Master’s in Pharmacy with first class honours from Ulster University.

“My ambition was always to become a pharmacist, but I wouldn’t have been able to take my place on the degree course in Coleraine without this scholarship,” Caoilinn said.

“The support I received over the four years went beyond the financial and helped me navigate my way through the course and secure a position as a community pharmacist in the North West.”