AHA heart and torch logoEmPOWERED To Serve

Urban Health Accelerator


photo of Howard University

Welcome to the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU, Healthy Communities Challenge

Presented by the American Heart Association (AHA)/Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

Congratulations to the two grant recipients!

Both will be awarded a $100,000 grant over two years to implement their projects.

Winston-Salem State University

Photo of the Winston-Salem State University grant recipients holding their check
The team: Taylor Redfearn, Dontae Moore, Diamond Bynum, Taylor Daniels, Shakalyn McLean, Shikha Sharma, Cidney Hemingway
The project will mobilize community and campus resources to address food insecurities with a large emphasis on sustainability.


Johnson C. Smith University

Photo of the Johnson C. Smith University grant recipients holding their check
The team: Dana Battle, Brenda Montanez, Kelvin Simon, Giavanni St. George, Zabdiel Escalona, Zara Jacome

Grow with the Green

An initiative to educating the youth and their families about healthy nutrition, combating the food desert dilemma within the community, and bringing awareness to sustainability practice

Watch the showcase event:


Overview of the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU

At the American Heart Association, we believe in the impossible. In urban communities across the country, there are amazing stories of lives being changed by folks stepping up and solving problems others thought impossible. Through the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU pilot, we are uncovering and accelerating incredible projects to improve the health and well-being of urban communities across the country. As the AHA builds on our “equity first” strategies, we are excited to offer this unique opportunity to Historical Black Colleges and Universities within the Mid-Atlantic territories of MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, and August, GA.

Talented, civic-minded students and faculty from HBCUs are collaborating with community leaders and The American Heart Association, to build and launch ambitious projects designed to solve health inequities and promote social justice on campus and in local communities.

All applicant schools were invited to send representatives to the EmPOWERED to Serve Leadership Summit on February 28TH in Charlotte, NC. Five (5) HBCUs were selected as finalists and invited to present their concepts at the EmPOWERED to Serve HBCU Showcase, April 29, 2019, at the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC.

Congratulations to the finalists:

  • Johnson C. Smith University
  • Bennet College
  • Howard University
  • Virginia State University
  • Winston-Salem State University

Based on outstanding performance and potential of their projects, two schools have been awarded a $50,000 per year grant for two years to implement their plans. This grant is made possible by the Barbara Houston Historically Black Colleges and Universities Legacy Award along with the support of Mr. John Houston III.

This entry program is also brought to you in collaboration with:

Community Campus Partnerships for Health

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health is a recognized leader in authentic partnership development, service-learning, Community-Based Participatory Research methods, community engagement, and leadership development for academicians in promotion and tenure. Their mission is to promote health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions. Health equity and social justice cannot be achieved by going it alone.  They can only be achieved through collaborative efforts.  We all need partners and lots of them in order to affect important changes. Their partners include communities, academicians, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, funders, public sector agencies, and private sector businesses.

More Info About the Accelerator

Download The UHA Toolkit

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.
– Wilma Randolph, Tennessee State University

Wilma Rudolph, who was the first African-American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during the 1960s Rome games.

More Quotes from HBCU Alumnae