Historically Black colleges and universities graduate the largest number of African American scholars in the field of medicine. (Over 70% of African American medical professionals earn degrees from HBCUs.) But the number of students studying biological sciences at these institutions has been declining since the late 1970s.
The American Heart Association designed the HBCU Scholars Program to increase the number of Black students who can compete successfully for acceptance and matriculation into graduate programs leading to professional degrees in the biomedical and health sciences. Scholars learn about the impact of cardiovascular disease on their communities, participate in valuable cardiovascular-related research projects; and explore varied career opportunities.
Education is key to cultivating the next generation of African American doctors, nurses and researchers who will enhance the health of people of color and help reduce significant health disparities. The HBCU Scholars Program depends on funding to support the students’ activities and involvement with the AHA, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to cardiovascular research.
The American Heart Association is committed to enhancing education among under-represented groups through strategic partnerships with educational institutions. People of color contribute diverse perspectives to scientific investigation, and those who become health care professionals are more likely to return to practice in their communities where their cultural sensitivity can create trust and improve patient outcomes.