Amerigroup Creates Endowed Scholarship to Support Rural Health

The scholarship will help students pursuing a Master of Social Work degree who plan to work in rural communities.

December 26, 2022

Amerigroup Washington recently provided Eastern Washington University with a $50,000 gift to create the Amerigroup Rural Medicine Scholarship.

The fund will support EWU students who are earning a Master of Social Work degree and aspire to serve as mental health professionals in rural Washington school districts.

“This is a great opportunity for social work students and agencies to tackle unmet behavioral health needs and build a stronger workforce in underserved rural areas of Washington,” said Sarah Featherly, director of Field Education at EWU’s School of Social Work.

The scholarship will give students more flexibility when it comes to choosing a career path, said Amanda Reedy, chair and director of EWU’s School of Social Work. “Reducing the cost of education for Master of Social Work students allows graduates to work in high-need areas without the added pressure of an expensive student loan to repay.”

Amerigroup’s generous donation to EWU is among three gifts totaling $150,000 that were made to several universities to create rural medicine scholarships and establish the Amerigroup Health Equity Scholars Program to Serve Tribal Communities.

The company, which serves as one of the state’s coordinators of Medicaid managed healthcare benefits, hopes the scholarships will encourage students to pursue careers in family medicine and psychiatric/mental health services for residents of rural communities. In addition, the scholarships aim to decrease disparities and build a more diverse healthcare workforce capable of offering culturally competent services across the state’s most medically underserved communities, the company news release said.

“Every one of Washington’s 39 counties has rural regions with diverse populations who have unique regional and cultural needs. Additionally, healthcare worker shortages are at an all-time high, so it is critical that we build a solid pipeline of healthcare professionals who are devoted to equitably serving the state they call home and the people they understand best,” said Anthony E. Woods, president of Amerigroup Washington.