Sanofi launches first global scholarship program for students from underrepresented communities pursuing careers in healthcare

PARIS, Jan. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanofi announces at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos the launch of the Sanofi NextGen Scholarship, its first global higher education scholarship program for people from numerous communities underrepresented in healthcare professions.

The program will help pay tuition and other expenses at institutions of higher education for students who are part of their nation's ethnic minority groups, women, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community who wish to pursue careers as doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers and other healthcare-related professions. 

Launching this year in Brazil, France, Japan, the UK and the U.S., the Sanofi NextGen Scholarship program will work hand-in-hand with leading higher education institutions across the world to annually identify up to 100 new talented students from underrepresented populations to become Scholars. Students will be able to apply for the scholarship program via university portals. Once selected, Scholars will be awarded funding covering partial university and living costs. In addition to financial aid, Sanofi will offer Scholars development support, mentorship and internship opportunities, and potential employment opportunities once they graduate. The program will expand to other countries in coming years.

The launch of the Sanofi NextGen Scholarship program follows the results of a global survey of underrepresented groups' trust in healthcare, the first of its kind. Sponsored by Sanofi, the survey showed diminished trust in healthcare systems among underrepresented communities, with nearly 75% of people from underrepresented populations saying they have suffered trust-damaging healthcare experiences. The survey underscored that, when it comes to trust in healthcare, 59% of patients from underrepresented communities would like access to providers from diverse backgrounds.

Paul Hudson 
Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi
"As an innovative global healthcare company, we have a role to play in responding to the destabilizing situation underrepresented populations are in when they need care. We aim to help build the next generation of diverse healthcare leaders. By also working to build trust through conversation and dialogue between underrepresented communities and healthcare stakeholders, we can help improve engagement and health outcomes for all."

The Sanofi NextGen Scholarship program is part of 'A Million Conversations', Sanofi's broader €50 million initiative that aims to create greater trust between underrepresented communities and healthcare stakeholders by 2030. 'A Million Conversations' will run hundreds of dialogue events in communities in the first five countries of the initiative - Brazil, France, Japan, the UK and the U.S. These events will convene three groups: people who have experienced discrimination in healthcare, representatives from local health organizations (including governments and nonprofits) and Sanofi employees, with the aim of changing policy and attitudes within the broader healthcare industry. Participants will also carry out further research into the causes of the 'trust gap' in the hope they can prevent it from widening. Sanofi will capture stories and feasible solutions in an annual Trust and Inclusion Report that will measure the progress of the project toward its 2030 goal.

The survey

The first global survey of numerous underrepresented groups' trust in healthcare, sponsored by Sanofi and conducted by Purpose Union and The BRC, showed alarming evidence that the majority of people from underrepresented communities have lost trust in their healthcare providers due to past negative experiences.

The survey asked more than 11,500 people in five countries (Brazil, France, Japan, the UK and the U.S.) about their experiences accessing medical treatment, with large sample sizes coming from minority and underrepresented groups. Majorities of people from those groups reported one or more negative experiences, leading to lower levels of trust. 'Not feeling listened to' (37%), 'receiving poor service' (34%), and 'poor explanations' (33%) were the top contributory factors, with one in five saying they felt 'unwelcome' (20%), 'judged' (20%), or 'unsafe' (19%). Michelle A. Williams, dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reviewed the results and called them "yet another wake-up call for a healthcare system in urgent need of reform."

According to the survey, in the U.S. more specifically, people from ethnic minorities (69%) were more likely than non-minorities (61%) to say they have had experiences that damaged their trust in healthcare. Members of the LGBTQ+ reported a similar experience (70% vs 61% of their straight peers) - and perhaps most worryingly due to their fundamental reliance on accessing healthcare, the same was true for people with disabilities (77%) compared to non-disabled people (57%).

The study also showed that this trust gap actually widens for people who belong to more than one of these communities. For example, 80% of people who are both disabled and identify as LGBTQ+ state that they have experienced a trust damaging encounter with healthcare vs 56% of people without those backgrounds.

More than half of respondents in the US survey (56%) said their trust would increase if it were easier to find healthcare providers that look like them, talk like them, or come from a similar background.

The survey also asked participants globally how the healthcare system could regain that trust, with the most commonly given answers being that their healthcare providers should be 'more dependable' (79%), 'offered the best quality care' (77%), 'more transparent' (77%), and 'treated them fairly' (77%).

Michelle A. Williams
Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
"These findings are yet another wake-up call for a healthcare system in urgent need of reform. I find it deeply troubling, though not surprising, that so many individuals — especially those from marginalized communities — have lost trust in their providers and in the system. To close this dangerous health gap, we must diversify our healthcare workforce so that people from all backgrounds can find providers who understand their lived experiences. We must train providers to recognize and overcome unconscious bias, to communicate with clarity and empathy — and, crucially, to listen carefully and respectfully to patients of all backgrounds. We cannot let the disparities seen in this survey persist. These stark findings should spur reflection and drive change."

Press Conference connection details

Register here to follow the livestreamed press conference from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, to be held on Wednesday January 18th, from 3:00pm to 3:30pm CET with:

- Caroline Casey, Founder and Director, The Valuable 500

- Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

- Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi

About Sanofi

We are an innovative global healthcare company, driven by one purpose: we chase the miracles of science to improve people's lives. Our team, across some 100 countries, is dedicated to transforming the practice of medicine by working to turn the impossible into the possible. We provide potentially life-changing treatment options and life-saving vaccine protection to millions of people globally, while putting sustainability and social responsibility at the center of our ambitions.
Sanofi is listed on EURONEXT: SAN and NASDAQ: SNY

Media Contact
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