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DOH offers new scholarship program for public high school grads

For the first time, the local Department of Health (DOH) will be awarding scholarships to graduates from the six public high schools, Manu’a HS included.

The scholarships are made possible through grant funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) and will be awarded to seniors who have met the required criteria, which include a certain grade point average (GPA), the willingness to return home and work for the Department of Health, and those expressing serious interest in entering the health field.

DOH Tobacco/Diabetes Coalition Prevention Coalition Board co-chair Fr. Vaiula Iulio told Samoa News yesterday that the applications are received and reviewed by Coalition members.

The money comes from a WHO grant of $3,000 that has been divided into six scholarships of $500 each.

“This is the first time ever that a program like this is available to our local graduates and that is why it is only being offered to public high schools,” Fr. Vaiula explained. “We are hopeful that once we can get more funding, we can start to expand the program to include private high schools.”

According to Fr. Vaiula, the majority of students who were screened during the application process showed “a lot of interest” in the health field, with most of them talking about family members and friends who have died from cancer, diabetes, and other diseases that are prevalent in the territory.

“These life events have planted a seed in these young people, making them want to pursue careers in the health field and do good for the community. This ultimately is an incentive, so we can broaden the horizons for our youth and help them fulfill their goals; and in return, the island can benefit from their service in the future.”

Fr. Vaiula concluded, “We hope these scholarships — while not much in amount — will spark a fire that will burn and essentially produce nurses, doctors, and much needed medical professionals for the territory.”