American Heart Association Empowers HBCUs to Address Social Barriers to Health

Winston-Salem State University & Johnson C. Smith University each awarded $100,000 as American Heart Association grant recipients for building healthier communities

Winston-Salem State University & Johnson C. Smith University were selected by a panel of judges on Tuesday evening April 29, 2019 to each receive a $100,000 American Heart Association (AHA) grant as part of the AHA’s first-ever EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Healthy Community Challenge Showcase.

At the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown Greensboro, five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) finalists presented exhibits and made their final pitches to a panel of judges showcasing their concepts to improve the health of their campus and surrounding community.  Roland Martin, award winning journalist and writer, served as master of ceremonies for the evening and aired the event live on his social media accounts. Martin is the host and managing editor of #RolandMartinUnfiltered. You can watch the entire event below:

Bennett College, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, Virginia State University, and Winston-Salem State University were the five finalists selected from in February to advance to the Showcase.  Two HBCUs were selected to receive a grant to move forward with their proposal.

Johnson C. Smith University, located in Charlotte, N.C., was awarded a $100,000 two-year American Heart Association EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Healthy Community Grant. They will target healthy food access as a barrier to health on their campus and in the community.

“We are very proud of this student-run venture. Our students took a challenging issue, made it their own, ran with it and were victorious,” shared Dr. Philip Otienoburu, assistant professor of biology and director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability for Johnson C. Smith University. “This grant will impact the community, deal with social mobility and provide community sustainability. We are going from grease to green!”

American Heart Association Empowers HBCUs to Address Social Barriers to Health

Johnson C. Smith University, located in Charlotte, N.C., was awarded a $100,000 two-year American Heart Association EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Healthy Community Grant.

Winston-Salem State University, located in Winston-Salem, N.C., was also awarded a two-year, $100,000 American Heart Association EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Healthy Community Grant. Their project is taking aim at food insecurity to address disparities in chronic disease rates which are highest among racial/ethnic minority and low-income population.

American Heart Association Empowers HBCUs to Address Social Barriers to Health

Winston-Salem State University, located in Winston-Salem, N.C., was also awarded a two-year, $100,000 American Heart Association EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Healthy Community Grant.

”We had a vision and now we can put that vision into motion. This means a lot for our campus, our community and our community partners. We are committed to our university and community engagement,” shared Marian Anderson-Booker, research project coordinator for Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Studies at Winston-Salem State University. “This grant helps to set the foundation for the impact that our HBCU can make in underserved communities.”

The funding for the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Community Wellness Challenge was made possible by the Barbara Houston Historically Black Colleges and Universities Legacy Award and through the support of Mr. John Houston, III.

“Every member of our community should be able to achieve well-being supported by the places they live, learn, work, pray, and heal,” said Jeremy Beauchamp, Executive Vice President, American Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate. “We are excited to work alongside HBCUs to increase the opportunity for all of our neighbors to live longer, healthier lives.”

The EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator- HBCU Leadership Summit was developed to address critical needs and social issues – in and around campuses – that impact the ability of individuals to attain optimal health. Earlier this year, the American Heart Association called on HBCUs from Maryland, DC, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina to help solve some of today’s most complex problems including removing social and societal barriers to health.  Nineteen schools answered that call and submitted ideas for a chance to move forward to the Showcase event.

The American Heart Association continues to applaud the remaining 17 schools that submitted applications and are driven to improve health on their campus and surrounding communities, including:

  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
  • Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina
  • Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia
  • Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia
  • North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina
  • Augustine’s University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
  • Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia
  • Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
  • Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina

Leave a Reply