The New River Valley Health Foundation empowers future healthcare professionals at Radford

The New River Valley Health Foundation has created a new scholarship fund for local Radford University students who aspire to enter the healthcare field in the New River Valley. The New River Valley Health Foundation, Inc. Health Professions Scholarship Fund will serve students in the College of Nursing and Waldron College of Health and Human Services, as well as those in the Foods and Nutrition and Medical Laboratory Sciences programs at Radford.

“Gifts such as this are extremely important for our students. Without scholarship and grant assistance, many of our local first-generation students would not be able to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare,” said Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program director and assistant professor, Laura Link. “Since many of these students stay in the area after graduation, they immediately begin to make an impact on the community by providing quality healthcare for our patients. We have graduates in every healthcare facility in the NRV, including the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Virginia Tech.”

The Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) program prepares students to perform and interpret tests, make treatment recommendations, and deliver quality data in medical, research, veterinary and reference laboratories. At Radford, MLS graduates have maintained a 100% job placement rate since 2010. The need for laboratorians continues to grow, making support for these students vital.

“I think [supporting future healthcare professionals] is one of the most worthwhile endeavors a foundation can pursue,” said Link. “Every single person is touched by our profession. When a person learns that they are going to become a parent, when a child is sick, when a ball player is injured, when your pet has a tick bite – the clinical laboratory can provide information to the patient, family and healthcare team that will answer questions and provide guidance to determine the appropriate care. We are proud of our graduates and the work that they do. The New River Valley Health Foundation helps us help them get ready, and we are grateful for that.”

Established in 1984, the New River Valley Health Foundation focuses on promoting and fostering the development of community health activities for charitable and educational purposes in the New River Valley. The foundation has generously supported many Radford scholarships, funds and initiatives over the years, giving more than $2.1 million in total. Their commitment has made a tremendous impact on Radford students and the community at large.

Fred Newhouse, Jr., chairman of the New River Valley Health Foundation board, is passionate about supporting local students and empowering them to serve their communities after graduation. “Part of the rationale behind the establishment of the foundation was to improve and enhance the health education opportunities in western Virginia,” said Newhouse.

He has observed the impact of these efforts firsthand. “It’s truly a blessing to experience these young people in their careers in the medical field as a resident, as a donor and as a patient. It’s a beautiful thing to see these foundation scholarships [come full] circle – to be a recipient of the care.”

Caitlin Kendrick, Class of 2024

Senior Nursing major Caitlin Kendrick is one of the students who has benefitted from the generosity of a New River Valley Health Foundation scholarship. Kendrick, who will graduate from Radford in May, has always had a passion for healthcare.

“I started volunteering at local long-term care facilities when I was 12 years old,” said Kendrick. “For the past four years, I have worked as a patient care technician to help fund my education. Since receiving this scholarship, I have been able to reduce my hours at the hospital and focus on earning the degree that I am so passionate about.”

Kendrick has already secured employment following graduation. She will begin her career as an emergency department nurse with Lewis Gale Montgomery, serving the New River Valley and beyond.

“When I see the impact of our scholarships on students’ lives and their careers, I’m humbled and proud, as are our 15 board members,” said Newhouse. “One of the greatest blessings in my life has been to be a part of the foundation since its beginning and witness the impact on the students, the families and the organizations that our foundation has contributed to over the years in the New River Valley.”

To learn more about supporting future healthcare professionals at Radford University, please contact Penny White, Vice President for Advancement, at or 540-831-6008.