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Fifth grade to high school students invited to participate in GHP’s Annual Health Heritage Essay and Scholarship Contests

Genesee Health Plan (GHP) announced it is accepting entries for its Sixth Annual Health Heritage Essay Contest. For a second year, Sovita Credit Union is sponsoring the contests, which are open to all Genesee County students in elementary (grades 5 and 6 only), middle/junior high and high school, including students in home-school or private school.

Students are encouraged 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.

“Knowing your family health history is a key part of prevention and living a healthy life,” said E. Yvonne Lewis, GHP Director of Outreach and Founder/CEO of the National Center for African American Health Consciousness.

“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 and family,” Lewis added. “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.”

The specific essay guidelines are outlined below and can also be found at

Elementary (grades 5 and 6 only) & Middle/Junior High School

Elementary: 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
Health Care Career Scholarship Contest

High school seniors planning to pursue a career in healthcare or health related sciences may enter an essay for the opportunity to receive a scholarship. The essay must 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.
1,000 words or more
Essay must be typed

“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,” Shew added. “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.”

All essay submissions are due by Wednesday, March 31. Scholarship recipients and Health Heritage Essay Contest winners will be recognized and awarded in August 2021.

The contest also provides an opportunity for teachers to participate for the chance to win prizes. The middle/junior high school teacher who has the most students from their classes enter the contest will receive a $300 gift card and the high school teacher who has the most students from their classes enter the contest will receive a $500 gift card. Both winning teachers will also be recognized in August of 2021.

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.

“The Health Heritage Essay Contest is a great opportunity for students to reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities in Genesee County and shine a light on its impact on social justice, health and racial equity,” said State Rep. Tim Sneller. “The contest also gives them a chance to think about their own health through the lens of their family health history.”

Contact Sherika Finklea at (810) 232-7740 ext. 217 with any questions.

For more information including specific contest rules and guidelines, visit

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