Recipients of the Inaugural “Susie Ellis Scholarship for Equity in Wellness” Announced

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I believe that the wellness industry can do much more when it comes to fostering inclusion and equity; this is a simple but incredibly powerful step

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the leading research and educational resource for the $4.4 trillion global wellness industry, is pleased to announce the first two recipients of its Susie Ellis Scholarship for Equity in Wellness. The scholarship fund was introduced at last year’s Global Wellness Summit (GWS), GWI’s sister organization and the most prestigious conference on the business of wellness, as a way to build a bridge for individuals who might otherwise not be able to afford attending the Summit, but who demonstrated passion and commitment for the wellness industry.

This unique scholarship fund was made possible thanks to generous initial donations from Katrine and Bill Formby, Rick Stollmeyer, Lynne and Victor Brick, and the Szekely Family Foundation and continues to grow. Learn more about the fund and how to donate and/or apply for a 2023 scholarship here.

“This scholarship lets us offer those who have perhaps dreamed of attending the Summit an opportunity to participate in conversations with global wellness leaders, exposing them to the topics and issues that are shaping the business of wellness now and into the future,” said Nancy Davis , GWI’s Chief Creative Officer & Executive Director.

Nearly 100 applications from 36 countries were considered and the two well-deserving recipients chosen by both the GWI and GWS board members are: Esther Ajari, founder and director of The TriHealthon, a Nigerian-based multi-award-winning non-profit that promotes health and wellness equity in Africa via research and community development projects; and Demetria McNeal, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of Health Equity in the Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus.

“Both of this year’s very worthy recipients are already wellness leaders in their communities and it’s my sincere hope that this scholarship will accelerate and amplify the impact they are already making in their own communities,” continued Davis. “Both recipients were grateful and excited when they were notified that they would be coming to Tel Aviv.”

Ajari, who was born in rural Nigeria where she says “opportunities to thrive are limited,” has thrived nonetheless. In 2019, her commitment to wellness was recognized by the Dalai Lama Fellowship, an organization for emerging social innovators and future leaders committed to making a positive impact in the world, and, in 2021, she was named a COVID-19 Hero by the Nigerian Vice-Presidency. Ajari looks forward to bringing an African perspective to the Summit, while also learning how to improve her own NGO’s financial standing so she can generate the revenue required to “attain our vision of achieving wellness equity among vulnerable Nigerian women and children.”

McNeal describes herself as a Black American scientist who is thirsty for expanding her wellness knowledge and seeks to learn, among many things, more about the integration of wellness and the healthcare system; explore the new discoveries being made in mental wellness that could be applied in a clinical setting, as well as the ways emerging wellness innovations can be leveraged to promote better access to wellness in her local community.

The scholarship is named for Susie Ellis, GWS Chair & CEO, who has been at the helm of the Summit and its sister non-profit organization, the GWI, since its inception. Ellis said, “I believe that the wellness industry can do much more when it comes to fostering inclusion and equity; this is a simple but incredibly powerful step. I thank all the donors who made it possible for us to put our mission statement of ‘Joining Together. Shaping the Future.’ into tangible action; my hope is that next year we will be able to provide a greater number of scholarships.”

This year’s auction, held on the evening of November 2 as part of the GWS Gala, will be dedicated to growing this unique scholarship fund and interested individuals or companies can learn more here.

Registration for the 2022 Summit remains open.

About the Global Wellness Institute: The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the global wellness industry and is known for introducing major industry initiatives and regional events that bring together leaders to chart the future. GWI positively impacts global health and wellness by educating public institutions, businesses and individuals on how they can work to prevent disease, reduce stress and enhance the overall quality of life. Its mission is to empower wellness worldwide.

About the Global Wellness Summit — The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) is the premier organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.4 trillion global wellness economy. Its future-focused conference is held at a different global location each year and has traveled to the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. GWS also hosts other virtual and in-person gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes, Wellness Sector Spotlights, Investor “Reverse Pitch” events and Global Wellness Symposiums. The organization’s annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness. The 2022 Summit will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel from October 31 to November 3.

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