Dr. Barbara Ball Public Health Scholarships help students become health professionals

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The Barbara Ball Scholarship was founded in 2008 and since then the Ministry of Health has assisted with funding 49 deserving Bermudians who are beginning careers or pursuing professional development in public health.

This year the Ministry received over 50 applications, many of an exceedingly high standard. The Ministry wishes all applicants every success as they continue their studies and encourages all eligible students to apply next year. The deadline in 2018 is 6 April.

Dr. Barbara Bertha Ball was born in Bermuda in 1924. Following her graduation from Liverpool University Medical School in 1949 and a short time working in the United Kingdom, Dr. Ball returned to Bermuda in 1954 and devoted her life to the needs of the downtrodden. She was the first female physician to practice medicine in Bermuda, and a tireless champion for people’s rights. The Government of Bermuda has recognised her contribution by awarding scholarships to public health professionals in her honour.

Scholarships are offered for study in a wide range of healthcare professions. The Ministry prioritizes areas where there are known gaps in public health capacity. In 2017, the Ministry awarded a total of fourteen students with scholarships amounting to $100,000, including past awardees. The fourteen receiving the scholarships stood out as having a combination of academic achievement, financial need and choice of healthcare profession that would be most beneficial to public health in Bermuda.

Current public health priorities that will be considered for funding are: nursing, allied health (physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy), social work, environmental health, post-graduate health economics, and post-graduate qualification in public health.

The 2017 awardees have expressed their gratitude. Azari Thomas’s response is typical: “Thank you so much for this scholarship! I couldn’t be any more grateful for this financial aid, and the opportunities you just provided.”

The World Health Organization estimates that, due to growing populations, changing disease patterns and economic trends, there will be about 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030, mostly in middle- and high-income countries.

This article was featured in the 2017, Scholarship Directory, now RG Scholarships.

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