Anthem Blue Cross scholarships at SF State’s Longmore Institute aim to add people with disabilities to health-care workforce

The San Francisco State University sign and surrounding trees by the 19th Avenue campus gate



SAN FRANCISCO — Feb. 16, 2022 — A $100,000 donation from Anthem Blue Cross to the Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University has established a new scholarship fund to support education-related expenses for students with disabilities who have committed to future health-care work, whether as direct health-care practitioners or working in the field of health justice. This initiative is part of Anthem’s broader commitment to address California’s health-care worker shortage and to close the gap in health disparities across the state.

“Anthem Blue Cross has made a commitment to identifying California-specific health disparities and partnering to introduce solutions that create more equitable health-care experiences, enhance access to care and services, and improve health outcomes,” said Les Ybarra, president of Anthem Blue Cross’ Medi-Cal health plan. “For decades, Anthem has been pioneering solutions to usher in a new era of health care that works better for everyone, and we are pleased for the opportunity to work with the Longmore Institute on Disability, to not only help students fulfill their higher education goals, but to also develop a pipeline of health-care leaders, with disabilities, to transform health-care delivery through a person-centered approach.”

The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State studies and showcases disabled people's experiences to revolutionize social views. Through public education, scholarship and cultural events, the Longmore Institute shares disability history and theory, promotes critical thinking, and builds a broader community. At the center of this work is an effort to challenge implicit bias, as too often people’s disabilities are assumed to signal only a deficit and a pathological problem to be cured, according to leading scholars in disability studies, including Longmore Institute Director Catherine Kudlick. Both the field of disability studies and the disability rights and justice movements have repeatedly called out the medical profession as a central site in which negative assumptions of disability grow and spread. Supporting Anthem’s important vision to see more disabled people in healthcare and medicine will have a profound impact to help overturn implicit bias from the inside, while creating new opportunities for students who would not otherwise be able to afford the costs of education. 

Director of the Longmore Institute, Catherine Kudlick, shared, “As future health-care providers, SF State students are the perfect ones to change thinking and conversations right where it matters most: at the core of our health-care system. Imagine a world where doctors and other health workers believed living with a disability brought a valuable new perspective for everyone.”

Students interested in applying should visit SF State’s AcademicWorks site. Apply by April 22, 2022 for support starting Fall 2022.