New Ireland Scholarship Program to Help Grow Health Care Workforce

Monday, April 11, 2022 Press Office
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ATU Donegal healthcare scholarships

Atlantic TU Donegal, Ulster University and other universities to administer scholarships and support services to eligible students.

The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of Optum Ireland’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), has announced a new scholarship program designed to grow the health care workforce in Ireland. The program is focused on underserved students seeking degrees in primary or specialised care, or emerging health care technologies. The Ireland Health Care Scholarship Program builds on the success of the pilot program started by Optum Ireland in 2018.

“As a partner institution since 2018, Atlantic Technological University Donegal (formerly LYIT), has been involved in delivering the scholarship program over the last four years,” said Paul Hannigan, Head of College, Atlantic Technological University, Donegal. “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 Atlantic Technological University Donegal 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, Atlantic Technological University Donegal and Ulster University.”

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 Program 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.

Jodie Gallagher from Castlefin, Co. Donegal was one of the first scholars to receive support from this scholarship programme. Jodie is a final year General Nursing student at Atlantic Technological University Donegal and highlighted, “The support received from Optum Ireland over the last three years has been incredible, this scholarship has provided me with so many opportunities and I have met amazing people along the way. The scholarship provided me with the opportunity to focus on my studies which I am thankful for.”

About the United Health Foundation

Through collaboration 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 (NYSE: UNH) 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

About Optum

Optum is a leading 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 (NYSE: UNH). For more information, visit