Minority and underrepresented scholarship programs

Photo of 4 scholarship winners

Health Equity and Leadership Scholars Program

The Health Equity and Leadership Scholars Program (HEAL) is an initiative designed to encourage diversity in the physician workforce in Grand Rapids, Michigan by providing scholarships for resident physicians from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

HEAL scholars pursue a health equity project involving leadership, advocacy, scholarship, and/or community engagement. Each scholar is paired with a Spectrum Health and Kent County Health Department faculty mentor. Scholars also serve as a mentor for a medical student from an underrepresented background.

Each academic year, two resident physicians are accepted into the program. HEAL Scholars receive a $10,000 scholarship their first year and a $5,000 scholarship each year thereafter throughout residency. Upon graduation, HEAL scholars may be eligible to receive an additional $5,000 if they choose to stay and practice in West Michigan and Spectrum Health.


  • Scholars must be enrolled in one of Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine 3-year primary care residency programs (pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine) or the emergency medicine residency program. 
  • Scholars must be from an underrepresented minority background (African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander)

How to Apply

Applications are accepted each year after Match Day and until May 1. To apply, complete the application form and email to residentdiversity@spectrumhealth.org.

Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Health Equity and Leadership Scholars!

Tishanna Ferguson, MD


Tishanna N. Ferguson, MD was born and raised in Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University and worked as a Surgical Critical Care Technician at Spectrum Health prior to attending Ross University School of Medicine. She is currently an OB-GYN resident at Corewell Health. She is passionate about advocacy for marginalized and underrepresented patient populations. Her goal is to motivate, educate and uplift patients while providing exceptional care to our community.

HEAL Scholar Tajuldeen Al-Hasani
HEAL scholar Tishanna Ferguson

Tajuldeen Al-Hasani, MD

Internal Medicine

Tajuldeen Al-Hasani, MD attended medical school at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and is a first-year internal medicine resident. Dr. Al-Hasani believes that everyone deserves equal access to health care. He advocates for a health care system that is inclusive, intersectional and free from biases – both conscious and unconscious – and always strives to reflect the diversity and intersectionality of our community.

2022-2023 HEAL Scholars
close icon

Antonia Fomunyam-Nyongabsen, MD

Internal Medicine

My experience as a HEAL scholar has been nothing short of exceptional. As I journey through residency, I always think about “My Why” and this opportunity reminds me of the reason I chose medicine. It has given me the ability to immerse myself in experiences like the NAACP Grand Rapids chapter, have amazing mentors that support my vision of serving the refugee community of Grand Rapids and finding ways to improve access to health care. Being a first-generation immigrant who moved to the U.S.A at 18 years old, it has always been a goal of mine to serve a community that dealt with the same culture shock I faced when I initially immigrated. Above everything, as a black woman in medicine, I have felt seen and supported by mentors such as Dr. Candace Smith-King and Dr. Nirali Bora. My co-scholars and I are involved in several projects that align with our interests, made possible by the entire HEAL team. If you qualify for this opportunity and are on the fence about applying, please pick up that computer and apply. You will not regret it!

Janene Berli, MD

Internal Medicine

It has been an inspiring time to get involved in local health equity efforts with the recent development of the Kent County Health Equity Council. It is encouraging to see representatives from local businesses, non-profit organizations, health systems and more gathering together to rally in an effort to make our communities healthier with current focus on the mental health. I have the privilege of participating in an action team focused specifically on decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health care. I also look forward to partnering with local groups working on harm reduction strategies, especially when it comes to substance use, as it is a personal passion of mine. I appreciate that Drs. Bora and Smith-King get to know us as individuals and design elements of the curriculum to be able to get us involved in the areas we are most passionate about. It has been empowering to be able to carve out space and time to spend on such efforts amongst the grind of intern year and residency.

2021-2022 HEAL Scholars
close icon

Antonio Castaneda, MD

Internal Medicine

I am an internal medicine resident. I graduated from MSU college of human medicine and completed my undergraduate degree in anthropology from The University of Montana and BSN from Pace University in New York. Prior to working as a nurse, I worked as an addiction counselor. When I am outside the hospital, I enjoy cooking vegan recipes and the occasional home renovation project.

Jason Wanamaker, MD

Emergency Medicine

I am incredibly thankful for my experience with the HEAL Scholars program. While it provides a comprehensive overview of public health obstacles and social determinants of health present in any part of this country, it also quickly helped me become familiarized with my new home in Grand Rapids, MI. I know that I am gaining valuable knowledge about how I will fight against health care disparities throughout my career while also making me feel so much more connected to the community that I am fortunate enough to serve for my three years of training. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this program and I can't wait to see how much it builds moving forward!

Minority Visiting Scholars Program

Program overview

The Minority Visiting Scholars Program (MVSP) is sponsored by the Office of Medical Education at Corewell Health in West Michigan as a supplement to our visiting learner program for medical students. MVSP is a specialized away rotation that provides mentoring and networking for fourth year medical students who are underrepresented in medicine.

The mission of MVSP is to enrich medical education, advance research and strengthen clinical care by fostering equity in opportunities. Corewell Health in West Michigan is committed to creating a graduate medical education environment that is inclusive, intersectional and free from bias – both conscious and unconscious. We strive to recruit a resident class that reflects the diversity and intersectionality of our communities.


  • Scholarship of up to $1,500 scholarship awarded upon completion of rotation
  • Four-week rotation on clinical shifts, didactics and simulation with attending physicians and resident physicians
  • Opportunities to attend all residency educational activities
  • Mentoring opportunities from faculty member in specialty of interest
close icon

Applicants must be full-time fourth year medical students who are from an underrepresented group, including historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQIA+ people and individuals with disabilities who are also in good standing at a LCME-accredited U.S. medical school.


close icon

Scholars may elect to secure housing through our partnership with Grand Valley State University. Housing is based on availability. If there is no availability, scholars will be responsible for securing housing. Contact residentdiversity@corewellhealth.org if you would like to seek housing through our partnership.

Mentoring and networking
close icon

MVSP scholars are assigned a faculty advisor and provided opportunities to network with Corewell Health in West Michigan faculty, attending physicians, residents, fellows and staff.

Mentoring and networking is designed to:

  • Increase awareness of opportunities in academic and community medicine
  • Provide access to our diverse workforce and professional relationship-building
  • Offer exposure to the residency and fellowship programs available at Corewell Health in West Michigan

How to apply
close icon

Applications for 2024 are now open.

Applications for the Minority Visiting Scholars Program can be submitted starting April 1 for the next academic year and will be accepted through June 1.

To Apply:

  1. Complete the VSLO application and upload all required documents.
  2. Within 5-7 business days, complete the MVSP application and attach required documents.
  3. Email CV/resume to residentdiversity@corewellhealth.org

Notification of status will be emailed within three weeks of receiving the application.

Racism is a Public Health Crisis

We pledge to take on the challenge to eliminate racism and its impacts on health, hope and lives.