The American Heart Association Continues To Combat Disparity In Healthcare Through Scholars Programs
Photo Credit: John F. Williams

The American Heart Association Continues To Combat Disparity In Healthcare Through Scholars Programs

To bring diversity into the healthcare space, it’s important for people to have access to all that is needed to thrive.

The American Heart Association is on a mission to support more people from Black and Hispanic/Latino communities through its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institution Scholars (HSIs) programs.

The programs are designed to equip them with all that is needed to land careers in the healthcare industry.

The Programs

As the HSI Scholars program prepares for year two, it can celebrate as the first year was one for the books. It included a 30-student cohort and 12 graduating seniors that belong to its program.

Seniors were afforded the opportunity to conduct research alongside a mentor and were allowed to present research to various medical, academic, and community professionals and leaders at the HSI Scholars Symposium at the University of Houston.

In addition to the access, students received a $7,000 stipend which included two all-expense-paid trips to the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions as well as the HSI Spring Research Symposium.

Rounding off year eight, the programs remain committed to increasing the amount of African American students who attend and study graduate science, research, and public health programs.

Seniors from nine states attended 24 different HBCUs whose programs focus on health disparities specifically as they pertain to the Black community.

The Future Is In Great Hands

The HSI Scholars program included two standout students, who were recognized by the program’s director for their sessions during the cohort.

  • A senior biology major at the City College of New York, Jalen Crespo, conducted and completed research on COVID-19 and pregnancies with a primary focus on how vaccines affect both mothers and babies following birth.
  • Ambar Rodriguez is a senior biology major who studied at the University of Puerto Rico, where she researched the cardiovascular disease and precision medicine and how it works for Caribbean Hispanic Patients.

From the HBCU Scholars program, there were also two standouts:

  • Senior biology major Philomena Onasanya studied at North Carolina Central University. She investigated “Participant Engagement and Preference Study for Clinical Outcomes Associated with Atrial Fibrillation” alongside her mentor Dr. G. Michael Felker.
  • Jalyn Dantzler was under the mentorship of Dr. Shameka Cody at Stillman College where the focus was “Capstone Reading 4 Rural: Increasing Opioid Risk Perception Among Youth” as a senior biology major.