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HBCU Scholars Program

Closing the gap of health disparities and inequities
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HBCU Scholars Alum Jae Walls was featured on WSMV4 News in Nashville, TN.  |  Watch the segment

Diverse voices have unique perspectives and approaches to health and science. Underrepresented medical professionals are more likely to practice in their communities where cultural sensitivity can create trust and improve outcomes. We’re partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help students earn professional degrees in the biomedical and health sciences.

Our goal? Simply to increase the number of Black students who apply and are accepted into graduate science, research and public health programs.

HBCU Scholars learn about the health of their communities, participate in research projects, and explore varied career paths. Volunteer mentors give the scholars invaluable professional guidance. If we’re going to close the gap in health disparities, we must have more diverse researchers and medical professionals. A strong education can grow the next generation of African American doctors, nurses, and researchers.

In 2020-2021, only 8% of med students and 6.9% of med school graduates in the U.S. were African American.

A Relentless Pursuit to Close the Gap

The HBCU Scholars Program is an academic year experience focusing not only on research methodologies but also the social impact that health disparities and inequities have on the Black community. Scholars learn how diverse perspectives enhance scientific investigation, and how cultural sensitivity can create trust and improve clinical outcomes.
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graduate in cap and gown hugging person

The Past Connecting Our Future

Since 2015, the HBCU Scholars Program has changed the impact and trajectory of 139 Black and African American students, ensuring that the pipeline of dedicated and talented biomedical and health science professionals remains open. The majority of our HBCU Scholars have graduated from their respective HBCUs.

The “Heart” of the HBCU Scholars Program

Our dedicated volunteer mentors unselfishly share their time, talents and energy to prepare scholars for a  productive professional career in the biomedical and health sciences.

Volunteer mentors are the “heart” of our HBCU Scholars Program. Their influence goes far beyond the time they spend with these brilliant young adults. They are shaping and growing the next generation of African American biomedical science and health care professionals who will impact and transform communities that have had historically greater health risks.


Want to become a volunteer mentor? Email Dr. Charlene Walton for more information.


medical care worker consulting with woman
ISC 2022 New Orleans, LA - Ernest Morial Convention Center © AHA/Todd Buchanan 2022
2022 AHA HBCU Scholar Awards recipients © Larry McCormack

Contact Us

Funding opportunities to expand the HBCU Scholars Program are available and welcome. If you would like more information, please reach out! We'd love to hear from you.

Email Dr. Charlene Walton

AHA Scholars Program

Looking for other scholarship opportunities? Check out these additional American Heart Association Scholars groups.


a collage of the 2022 EmPOWERED Scholars headshots
Scholarships for students passionate about public health, health equity and community engagement, driven to address social determinants of health.


A group of AHA's Hispanic Serving Institutions Scholars Program 2021 scholars
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A group of NHLCC scholars standing in front of the AHA's life-size heart and torch sculpture.
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Three underrepresented students - two females one male - from Boston University - SURE scholars
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