Five HBCUs Advance in the American Heart Association Urban Health Accelerator-HBCU Healthy Communities Challenge

Community environments play an important role in health outcomes. People living just 5 miles apart can in some cases have a difference in life expectancy of more than 20 years due to factors such as economic stability, education, societal influences and health care.  Through the American Heart Association’s 2019 EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator-HBCU pilot, schools have an opportunity to secure a $100,000 grant to implement a community-based idea that changes behaviors, expands access and improves long-term health by overcoming challenges in urban communities.

“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 pilot 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 related to social and societal barriers to health.

Nineteen schools submitted ideas for a chance to move forward to the Showcase event on April 29th where the top five HBCUs will present their solutions.  There, up to two schools will be awarded $50,000 per year for two years to implement their plan. This funding opportunity was made possible by the Barbara Houston Historically Black Colleges and Universities Legacy Award and through the support of Mr. John Houston, III.

The American Heart Association congratulates the five HBCUs that will share their proposal at the Showcase on April 29:

  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina – They plan to target the cumulative physiologic stress that African Americans, particularly women, bear over time that contributes to poorer health when compared to other groups.
  • Howard University, Washington, DC – Their project focuses on targeting the health disparities among low income seniors.
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina – They will target healthy food access as a barrier to health on their campus and in the community.
  • Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia – They will look at healthy food access in order to address some of the worst health outcomes in the State.
  • Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina – 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.
The American Heart Association applauds the remaining 14 schools that submitted applications including:
  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina  
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
  • Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina
  • Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • HamptonUniversity, Hampton, Virginia
  • 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 Union University, Richmond, Virginia
  • Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina

Look out for more information on the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator-HBCU Showcase. 

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