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Published on April 16th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


The Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute

Pictured above John W. Bluford, III engages with BHLI Scholars from Fisk University, Morehouse College, and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

Eliminating Healthcare Disparities Through The Millennial Generation

BHLI 2018 Class pictured with Nicholas Tejeda, Market Chief Executive Officer of the Hospitals of Providence (center).

South Carolina native John W. Bluford, III, President/Founder of the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute (BHLI), believes resolving the issue of disparities in healthcare among minority patient populations requires an increased diversity in the C-Suites of hospitals.  By developing a pipeline of exceptionally talented minority undergraduates, the BHLI continues to impact the healthcare environment as it fulfills its mission to cultivate diverse healthcare leaders who will serve to alleviate the issue of access to quality care among minority populations.  

Welcoming its 7th cohort this year, the BHLI has mentored 81 undergraduate scholars primarily recruited from Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as Fisk University, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Morehouse College, North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University, Spelman College and Tuskegee University.

The BHLI was established in 2013 and exposes scholars to various facets of healthcare administration while developing their leadership skills to position the young talented men and women for life long careers in healthcare leadership.

The BHLI continues to positively impact the field of healthcare. From among the Institute’s 46 scholars who have earned their undergraduate degrees, 37 of those undergraduates are serving in the field of healthcare or earning related graduate degrees including South Carolinian Gabrielle Milton, a member of the BHLI’s 2017 Cohort who will graduate from Spelman College this spring. Gabrielle has been accepted to study at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA. Milton states, “The BHLI has shaped and prepared me for future endeavors. It has connected me with role models, provided opportunities for hands on experiences and heavily influenced my decision to complete dental school. This program is a necessary resource for underrepresented minorities considering roles in the healthcare field.”

The BHLI continues to expand its national footprint as it partners with a host of premier healthcare organizations around the country and has coordinated 70 internships on behalf of its scholars at healthcare systems such as Duke University Hospital (Durham, NC), Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC), Novant Health (Charlotte, NC), Cone Health (Greensboro, NC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (St. Petersburg, FL) and America’s Essential Hospitals (Washington, DC). As the scholars enter the healthcare workforce and engage in leadership roles, they will serve to increase the diversity among the C-Suites of healthcare systems.

Founder John W. Bluford has over four decades of experience in hospital and health system administration and executive leadership. He is a member of South Carolina’s Richland One Hall of Fame and a nationally known healthcare innovator recognized by Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the Most Influential People in Healthcare. Bluford served as Chairman of the American Hospital Association (AHA), America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Missouri Hospital Association.

On April 8th, 2019, John received the AHA’s Award of Honor on behalf of the BHLI for its leadership in professional workforce development, diversity, and health equity.  Bluford states, “The Bluford Institute has developed an impressive platform for nurturing and developing talented HBCU scholars for a lifelong career of positively impacting communities of color, as well as providing them the basis for a rewarding career.”

To learn more about the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute, please visit or call (816) 404-2454.

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