AHA heart and torch logoEmPOWERED To Serve

Urban Health Accelerator


Photo of students in class

Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

EmPOWERED To Serve (ETS) is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s multicultural program and movement developed to build a sustainable culture of health in diverse communities across America. It also encourages people to get involved in their communities. ETS is designed to leverage the American Heart Association’s 2020 impact goal of improving health outcomes and reducing the gap in health disparities among minorities.
There are many factors that affect a person’s health, including community environments. People living just five miles apart can have a life expectancy that differs by more than 20 years. Thus, the American Heart Association is working in communities and joining with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to address key factors that impact health and well-being: economic stability, education, societal influences, neighborhoods and healthcare. The accelerator is an opportunity for students from HBCUs to work with local communities to build a plan and begin implementing solutions that will positively impact community health. The overarching goals of your team’s solution are to increase healthy living behaviors, enhance the chain of survival and cultivate community transformation.
We understand that the Association must collaborate with and value the knowledge of organizations and individuals who have deep community connections in order to affect meaningful change within the communities we serve. Tapping into and providing resources to HBCUs will give us the best opportunity to work together to devise solutions to address the social determinants of health.

EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health AcceleratorTM Guidelines and Expectations

For a full description of the award process please read the Request for Award Terms and Conditions. We will be asking basic information about you and/or your school. There are some other items we want to know:

  • How are you solving a health problem within the communities you serve?
  • What project/problem would you like to improve/implement?
  • How will you measure success?

Yes, but we will probably review and confirm with your team ahead of time. Communities have room for several slightly different solutions. It’s unlikely that two student teams would do precisely the same thing. If two teams are working on related ideas, we won’t discuss with one team what the other is doing.
You can enter as a team from a HBCU in the following areas: Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and August, Georgia. The application must be approved by the college/university president or chancellor and have an administrative lead submit the application.
The accelerator consists of eight weeks of coaching and training on topics that include digital marketing, messaging, market segmentation, customer discovery, brand experience and brand storytelling. The coaching and training will be delivered primarily through phone and/or video conferencing. Each team can expect to spend a minimum of eight to ten hours per week on a combination of individual work, coaching and video conference clinics. Teams will receive thousands of dollars’ worth of training, coaching, direct access to industry experts and PR/media exposure.

Community Impact Project Expectations

We don’t recommend it. You should pick your favorite idea and apply with that one.

EmPOWERED To Serve Leadership Summit and Showcase Night Logistics

Two team members from each applicant school are invited to attend the EmPOWERED To Serve and Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Leadership Summit in Charlotte, NC. You will be responsible for organizing and paying for your travel, but we will cover the hotel costs for your team.

If selected, you will be responsible for organizing and paying for your travel to the EmPOWERED To Serve – HBCU Showcase in [location TBD]. However, we will cover the hotel costs for your team. Your team will also receive one meal from the Summit’s event menu.

The panel of judges will review several factors when selecting which candidates will advance to share their stories onstage. The following attributes will be considered:

  • How well does the proposed model/concept address a critical community problem?
  • Does the concept have the potential to grow? Can it be easily introduced into other communities?
  • Does the candidate clearly define what success looks like and how the grant will be managed?
  • Does the candidate exude passion and enthusiasm toward the presented concept and its potential impact?

Disbursement of Funds

The Barbara Houston Historically Black Colleges and Universities Legacy Award is made possible through the support of Mr. John Houston III. There are up to two awards of $100,000 that will be available to the winning team or teams. Recipients will receive an initial payment of $25,000. After successfully completing and submitting a mid-year update report, a 2nd payment will be issued ($25,000). After the Year 1 report is submitted the 3rd payment will be issued ($25,000). The final payment of $25,000 will be released upon receipt of the final report.

Do you have questions about the accelerator?

We’re happy to answer any and all of your questions:

General Questions:
Michelle Raphael
Christa Chambers-Price

PR/Media Questions:
Roxanna Hoyveda

Thank you to the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator™ HBCU Collaborator
Community Campus Partnerships for Health