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HCA Healthcare's South Atlantic Division announces HCA Healthcare's $650,000 gift to Savannah State University

The gift marks a significant contribution to their 3-year, $10 million commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).
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HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division announced recently that HCA Healthcare will give $650,000 to Savannah State University (SSU) to support a paid internship program for students pursuing a master’s degree in social work. This gift is part of HCA Healthcare’s larger commitment to give $10 million over three years to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“We are excited to partner with this nationally recognized Social Work program,” says Hugh C. Tappan, president of HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division. “The opportunity to allow more students to explore social work, to partner with a nationally recognized program at a nationally recognized college, and to gain access to future colleagues, is all exciting! We hope this is the start of a broader relationship with SSU.”

“We’re proud to be partnering with SSU to offer opportunities for students to find fulfilling careers in healthcare and social work,” said Sherri Neal, chief diversity officer of HCA Healthcare. “Memorial Health University Medical Center has developed a strong relationship with the university and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have on the community.”

Funds from this gift will go towards paid internships for two Master of Social Work cohorts over four years that will help students complete the required 900 clinical hours needed for their degree at Memorial Health University Medical Center. Through the cohort, students will have access to job shadowing opportunities and mentors through HCA Healthcare. This gift will also provide a stipend for a preceptor for the program, who will serve as a liaison between Memorial Health University Medical Center and SSU.

"Social workers play a crucial role in our hospital as advocates who support the patient through their journey to home," states Bradley S. Talbert, chief executive officer at Memorial Health University Medical Center. "Savannah State University has a highly regarded social work program at both the Bachelors and Masters level. We have had

the opportunity to partner with the SSU social work program by providing internships for their students and we are excited to build on our positive relationship through this grant."

Founded in 1890, SSU is the first public HBCU in Georgia and the first higher education institution in Savannah, Georgia. The university serves an increasingly diverse student population with more than 3,000 students from across the state and beyond. The university’s Master of Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and designed to prepare students for entry into advanced social work practice.

"At Savannah State University, we are deeply committed to fostering strong, impactful partnerships that enhance the educational experiences of our students and serve our community,” said Cynthia Robinson Alexander, J.D., interim president of SSU. “Our collaboration with HCA Healthcare is a shining example of this commitment. This partnership between our esteemed social work program and the hospital allows our students to gain invaluable hands-on experience while contributing to the well-being of patients and their families. Together, we are building a brighter, healthier future for our community."

HCA Healthcare has a history of partnering with higher education institutions across the country to help create a more diverse workforce. Recently, HCA Healthcare gave $200,000 to St. Mary’s University to support their Greehey School of Business. Last fall, HCA Healthcare gave $620,000 to the University of California, Riverside (UCR) to support scholarship for students in the UCR School of Medicine. In 2022, HCA Healthcare gave $1.5 million to Tennessee State University (TSU) to create scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate school students pursuing careers in healthcare and computer science and $1.5 million to Fisk University to support scholarships for students pursuing healthcare careers and a dual degree with Galen College of Nursing. The same year, the organization also gave $750,000 to The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to create multiple graduate-degree opportunities for students interested in healthcare administration careers. Additionally, $1.5 million was given to Florida International University’s (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences (NWCNHS) to expand its faculty, offer scholarships to increase enrollment and help address the national nursing shortage.

In 2021, HCA Healthcare announced a $1.5 million investment in Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) School of Allied Health Sciences to strengthen students’ pathways from undergraduate to graduate to management careers in the healthcare industry. These partnerships and others with industry- and school-based associations are part of HCA Healthcare’s continued efforts to strengthen the diversity of the organization’s talent pipeline.