Fresno State News
In an effort to enhance the ongoing support of Fresno State and its education of future health care clinicians, the United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley Foundation presented the university with a $140,000 gift to establish an endowed scholarship for students pursuing careers in the medical field.
The Dr. Robert Allen Shankerman Memorial Scholarship honors the former chief medical officer for United Health Centers who died in September 2020 of COVID-related complications. Known for his compassionate spirit and dedication to underserved regions, Shankerman was committed to training and educating future health care providers and physicians.
“For many of our students, a scholarship is their lifeline to completing their degree on time,” said Dr. Denise Seabert, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State. “Through this memorial scholarship at Fresno State, many lives will be undoubtedly impacted — and the ripple effect is even greater. Students who receive the scholarship will become the physicians of the future, serving right here in the Valley.”
United Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Health Center nonprofit organization, provides a variety of services including general and family medicine, pediatrics, dentistry, chiropractic care, optometry and clinical laboratory, and other services among its 30 locations across Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties. In addition, the centers also provide a unique clinical experience for Fresno State nursing students.
UHC Support for Students
Ashley Bowers, a registered nurse, was pursuing her master’s degree in nursing when she was among the first cohort of graduate-level nursing students to participate in a new, three-semester clinical rotation with United Health Centers.
“Many nursing students have a hard time finding clinical placements, so it’s really hopeful to know that United Health Centers is wanting to grow their nurse practitioners through Fresno State,” Bowers said. “I had a very positive experience at each of my three clinical sites. The continuity of care the centers provide, especially in rural areas where health care access is limited, and the collaboration I had with other family nurse practitioners and medical doctors is something you can’t get in the classroom.”
Bowers, who graduated from the master’s degree nursing program this past May, said the cohesion and support United Health Centers provided was invaluable as she worked toward becoming a family nurse practitioner.
“As an internal medicine physician, Dr. Shankerman had a unique passion for continuous education which he used to provide the best outcomes for his patients,” said Justin Preas, president and CEO of United Health Centers.
“I believe Dr. Shankerman would be very pleased to know that his commitment to serving the underserved in Central California was greatly admired and appreciated by all those who knew him and that a very essential college grant program has been named in his honor. It is with this financial assistance to students who are pursuing their dreams that his legacy may help inspire their commitment as well.”