Press Release

American Heart Association launches HBCU Scholars program in greater Dayton area

August 12th, 2021 | 4 min read

Locally sponsored by CareSource, HBCU Scholars Program aims to increase diversity in science and in the delivery of health care

DAYTON, OH August 12, 2021 — The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on ensuring longer, healthier lives for all, recently launched its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars Program, locally sponsored by CareSource.

The AHA’s HBCU Scholars Program helps historically underrepresented students attain professional degrees in the biomedical and health sciences fields with the goal of increasing the number of Black students who apply and are accepted into graduate programs.  Applications are being accepted through September 3, 2021.

“The opportunity for a long, satisfying, healthy life is a fundamental human right,” said Kelli Dixon, executive director for the Greater Dayton American Heart Association. “Tragically, not everyone can access the things they need to have a full, healthy life, including quality health care. If we’re going to close the gap in health disparities, we must have a wider array of diverse researchers and medical professionals. A strong education can grow the next generation of Black doctors, nurses and researchers, and we are honored to have this opportunity and thankful to CareSource for providing funding to bring this program to Dayton. We are excited to see what these young scholars do with their future careers as they learn and grow in our community.”

The Dayton inaugural class will include students from both Central State University and Wilberforce University. The program will provide five undergraduate students with a school year of academic and career mentorship that encourages the pursuit of a career in healthcare or scientific research and increases their awareness of their potential impact on the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Each student is paired with a mentor and provided a scholarship stipend. They also engage in a virtual leadership and professional development series to enhance critical skill sets needed to position them for success beyond graduation.

“At CareSource, we know the impact providers can make on the overall health and well-being of our members,” said Dan McCabe, CareSource Chief of Staff and CEO, CareSource Foundation. “We are confident that our support of the American Heart Association’s HBCU Scholars Program will not only improve diversity in the medical field, but also build a knowledge base and legacy of care critical to ending racial disparities in health care.”

Currently, only 7% of medical school students, 6% of medical school graduates and less than 4% of physicians are Black. The program will broaden the healthcare career pipeline and to ensure inclusion resulting in diverse leaders. The program has already seen success in other parts of the country. Since 2015, the HBCU Scholars Program has changed the impact and trajectory of 63 Black students (with a 100% graduation rate), ensuring that the pipeline of dedicated and talented biomedical and health science professionals remains open.

Along with contributing diverse perspectives to science investigation, doctors, nurses and researchers from under-represented races and ethnicities enhance health treatment for individuals of color and help close significant health disparities. Additionally, people of color who become medical professionals are also more likely to return to practice in their communities where cultural sensitivity can create trust and improve outcomes.

For more information on the program, visit the website.

About the American Heart Association  

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

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