Students invited to enter Genesee Health Plan’s sixth annual Health Heritage essay and scholarship contests

Genesee Health Plan (GHP) is accepting entries through March 31 for its sixth annual Health Heritage Essay Contest from all Genesee County students in elementary grades five and six, middle school, junior high, and high school students, including students in homeschool or private schools. Winning students will receive hundreds of dollars in gift cards sponsored by Sovita Credit UnioHean.

The contest encourages students to understand their family health history and COVID-19 and its impact on social justice, health, and racial equity, according to a press release from GHP.

“Knowing your family health history is a key part of prevention and living a healthy life. Our annual Health Heritage Essay Contest focuses on promoting students’ learning about their family health history with the goal of improving health outcomes for them and their family,” said E. Yvonne Lewis, GHP director of outreach and founder/CEO of the National Center for African American Health Consciousness.
“This year, we wanted to shine a light on the students’ understanding of COVID-19, and its impact on social justice, health and racial equity,” Lewis said.

GHP encourages students to interview one or more of their family members about their family health history and write an essay about their findings, as well as their plans for their personal health and their future health.
Essay submissions are due by Wednesday, March 31. Scholarship recipients and Health Heritage Essay Contest winners will be recognized and awarded in August 2021.
Teachers who encourage the most students in their classes to participate will also receive a $300 gift card for middle school or junior high and $500 for high school.
The specific essay guidelines are outlined below and can also be found at

  • Elementary (grades 5 and 6): 200-350 words
  • Middle/Junior High School: 350-500 words
  • Essay must be typed or clearly hand-written

First place winner will receive a $200 gift card; second place winner will receive a $100 gift card

  • High School: 500-750 words
  • Essay must be typed

First place essay contest winner will receive a $400 gift card; second place winner will receive a $200 gift card
The essay must be typed, a thousand words or more, and include information about the health career they plan to choose and why, how learning about their health heritage influenced their selected field of study, and how the Coronavirus pandemic impacted their selected field of study. Two $1,500 scholarships will be awarded.
Essays can be submitted electronically to:
GHP cannot accept drop-off essay submissions due to the GHP office being closed to the public until further notice.

Sovita Credit Union sponsors the contest
“Sovita Credit Union is honored to sponsor the contests again this year,” said Jen Shew, Sovita Credit Union director of marketing.

“Last year’s contest submissions included several students reflecting on their understanding of COVID-19. Because Sovita is a financial institution that serves education and healthcare workers and their families, it is encouraging and important for students to learn and understand how social determinants of health, including financial health, play a factor in accessing care,” Shaw said.

(Photo Source: Sovita Credit Union website)

High school seniors planning to pursue a career in healthcare or health related sciences may enter the Health Care Career Scholarship Contest for the opportunity to receive a scholarship.
Questions about the contests can be directed to Sherika Finklea at (810) 232-7740 ext. 217. For more information including specific contest rules and guidelines, ⁷visit

EVM Staff can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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