05 Oct 2022

Scholarship programme for Health Care students

United Health Foundation supporting medical students in five universities

Conal McGinley, UU School of Medicine Scholar receiving his award from Padraig Monaghan, Managing Director Optum Ireland and UK and Professor Terri Scott, Pro Vice Chancellor Ulster University.

Conal McGinley, UU School of Medicine Scholar receiving his award from Padraig Monaghan, Managing Director Optum Ireland and UK and Professor Terri Scott, Pro Vice Chancellor Ulster University.

Ireland Healthcare Scholars 2020 & 2021 who recently received their scholarship awards at a Ceremony held at Rockhill House and are studying in ATU Donegal, Ulster University and NUI Galway.

A new scholarship programme, designed to grow the healthcare workforce in Ireland has been announced.

The organisation behind the programme is the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of Optum Ireland’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group.

The programme is focused on underserved students seeking degrees in primary or specialised care, or emerging health care technologies and builds on the success of the pilot program started by Optum Ireland in 2018. 

Speaking to Inish Live, Paul Hannigan, Head of College, Atlantic Technological University, Donegal, said: As a partner institution since 2018, Letterkenny Institute of Technology has been involved in delivering the scholarship program over the last four years.

“There are currently 11 health care scholars studying a range of health care and innovative technology programs at our Donegal campus. Our scholars benefit greatly from the support the program provides and we are delighted to renew the partnership with Optum Ireland and the United Health Foundation in 2022.”

"Due to the national shortage, the medical community has expressed urgency in recruiting and training additional medical practitioners. The scholarship program developed to address the shortage includes partnerships with Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Ulster University, National University of Ireland, Galway, Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal College of Surgeons Dublin."

“The United Health Foundation is committed to helping cultivate a modern, diverse health workforce in Ireland,” said Padraig Monaghan, Managing Director of Optum Ireland and UK. “We are honoured to launch this new scholarship program with our partners in the Northwest, Ulster University and Atlantic Technological University Donegal.” 

More than €350,000 will support 31 students across the five academic partners. All scholarship students will be paired with a mentor and will participate in community volunteer activities.

The Ireland Health Care Scholarship Programme for 2022-23 is open for applications, with application forms available on each of the partnering university websites. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 27, 2022.

Conal McGinley from Letterkenny, the first cohort of 70 doctors being trained in the new School of Medicine at Ulster University’s Magee campus, said: "I qualified initially as a physiotherapist and worked in the NHS, private practice and in Australia.

“A positive encounter with a consultant in relation to a personal family matter was the defining moment for me. I decided to come home from Australia to train as a doctor and work in my own community. The ambition was there and receiving the Ireland Health Care Scholarship enabled me to take my place in the School of Medicine in Derry when it opened in September 2021.”

The United Health Foundation works with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve the health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities.

The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, the United Health Foundation has committed more than $590 million to programs and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

Optum is an information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone.

With more than 210,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernise the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group. For more information, visit

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