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Courage Kenny Foundation fund awards EMPOWER scholarship to two local high school grads

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 8/15/2018 Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute is pleased to announce two recipients have received an EMPOWER scholarship. The scholarship encourages and supports ethnically diverse students in pursuing a medical or rehabilitation career. The annual scholarship is made possible by a gift from the David M. Hersey Endowment Fund of the Courage Kenny Foundation. This year’s recipients are Himal Purani, a University of Minnesota student who will be starting med school this fall, and Elizabeth Ramos Young, who has been accepted into the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program.

Himal Purani, a Shakopee resident, has a passion for service and healthcare. She received her Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Cellular Biology and Development from the University of Minnesota, and has been accepted as a medical student starting this fall. She is an Allina Health employee, who works at Allina Health Clinic — Shakopee as a scribe.

In her role as an outreach volunteer for the American Cancer Society, Purani said she “grew in cultural humility.” Fluent in Spanish, she used her growing understanding of other cultures to help medically underserved people and communities. And, as a volunteer in the Adult and Pediatrics Surgery Lounge at the Masonic Children’s Hospital at the U of M she realized the essential role of communication in medicine and “…the significance of teamwork… in easing (patients’) anxiety.”

“As a future physician,” Purani said, “I look forward to providing holistic care for my patients and working with a dynamic, diverse team of healthcare professionals as we help patients recover and rehabilitate.”

The scholarship will help Purani pay her tuition and educational expenses.

Her goal is to work with people with disabilities in a hospital or outpatient setting.

In 2013 while living in California, Elizabeth Ramos Young was hit by a speeding car during her daily jog. As a result of the accident, she was hospitalized for several months and had years of physical therapy. One of the people who submitted a scholarship reference noted that Ramos Young “…first fought for her life, then fought to learn how to walk again, then fought to get into physical therapy school so she could help others overcome life’s challenges.” 

Since 2013, Ramos Young has completed more than 500 volunteer hours preparing for her DPT studies. On the campus of California State University —Long Beach, she worked with the geriatric community, learning about knee and hip surgeries. She also worked with veterans at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and at Step Therapies, Inc., where she learned techniques in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.  

The scholarship will help Ramos Young, who now lives in St. Paul, realize her goals, and show her young daughter that “…anything is possible.” 

EMPOWER scholarship applications are accepted January 1 – April 15 of each year. To learn more visit

About Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health, was created in 2013 by the merger of Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. The Institute provides a continuum of rehabilitation services for people with short- and long-term conditions, injuries and disabilities in communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute has multiple locations, and numerous programs and services. For more information visit

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.

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Elizabeth Ramos Young and Himal Purani, 2018 EMPOWER scholarship winners.