By tamaraWorld Health Day was first celebrated on April 7, 1950 to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). The organization, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, deals with international public health. Since its creation, the WHO has played a crucial role in eradicating smallpox and helping to reduce the spread of communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. This year’s World Health Day initiative will focus on educating people on the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases. More than 50 percent of the world’s population is at risk from these illnesses, which are spread through bites from mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and other bugs. Doctors, nurses, pathologists, and others in the healthcare field are vital to keeping populations educated about these potential dangers and treating those who are affected by them. Unfortunately, pursuing a medical career can be quite expensive, and many students find themselves saddled with high student loan debt. There are, however, many scholarships available to help students reduce their costs. Here are just a few healthcare scholarships that are currently open. 1. Aetna Foundation/NMF Healthcare Leadership Program Each year, this program provides 10 healthcare scholarships to second- and third-year medical students from underrepresented, minority groups. Students must demonstrate leadership potential and have a history of community service. Scholarships are valued at $5,000 each. Applications are due by April 10 for students residing in Los Angeles. Chicago students have until August 14 to submit their applications. 2. Fort Healthcare Partners Scholarships Each year, Fort Healthcare Partners sponsors several scholarship programs for students living within its service area. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, financial need, and community activities. Award amounts and deadlines vary by program. Next deadline: April 11. 3. NBNA Scholarship Program The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) offers a variety of scholarships each year for nurses and allied health professionals. These healthcare scholarships range in value from $1,000 to $6,000 each. Students must be currently enrolled in a nursing program and have at least one full year of school remaining. Deadline: April 15. 4. Medical Student Scholarship Program The Dr. David Monash/John Caldwell Scott Medical Student Scholarship Program is designed to increase the number of qualified medical providers available in underserved Chicago communities. There are six $5,000 scholarships available to second- and third-year medical students and four $25,000 scholarships for those who have completed medical school. Students must reside in the Chicago area and exhibit a commitment to working in underserved areas. Deadline: April 24. 5. Healthcare & Nursing Scholarship Award This award, offered by ClearTarget Media, provides one $500 scholarship for students who are pursuing a healthcare or nursing degree. Students must be 16 years of age or older to apply. Deadline: May 1. 6. Koster Insurance Health Careers Scholarship Program Each year, five undergraduate students (juniors and seniors only) are awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Koster Insurance Agency to help cover expenses related to their healthcare degree. Students must be enrolled full time and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher to apply. Deadline: May 16. 7. Benefis Health System Foundation Scholarships There are 13 different healthcare scholarship programs available through the Benefis Health System Foundation. Most are for students pursuing nursing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. The total number of scholarships varies annually, but many are valued at up to $2,500 per semester. Deadline: June 1. 8. AfterCollege-AACN Scholarship Fund Each quarter, AfterCollege awards one $2,500 scholarship for students pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing. Students must already be enrolled in a program prior to applying for the award. Deadline: June 30. 9. New Look Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship Students who are pursuing a degree in nursing, medicine, natural or applied sciences, or engineering may be eligible for this $1,000 scholarship. Two awards are available annually. Deadline: June 30. Other Options to Pay for Healthcare Degrees Healthcare students can also save money by looking into student loan repayment programs that may be available to them. Nurses can have up to 60 percent of their loans paid off through the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program by agreeing to work in eligible, underserved communities for a minimum of two years. Allopathic and osteopathic medical students, in their fourth year at an accredited medical school, can receive up to $120,000 in exchange for three years of service in a critical shortage area. Many states also provide loan repayment assistance to those working in the medical field. Students simply need to spend some time researching and applying for available healthcare scholarships and other financial aid programs to ensure they graduate with as little debt as possible.