Black Students in Public Health Grant

Funded by
Dror Liebenthal
Learn more about the Donor
1 winner
Application Deadline
Nov 1, 2020
Winners Announced
Nov 5, 2020
Education Level
Graduate, Undergraduate
Eligibility Requirements

After Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, she almost died from a pulmonary embolism.

Since she had a history of blood clots, she knew immediately what was wrong, but her doctors didn’t believe her at first

Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time and a global inspiration, but in the healthcare system, her experience was far from unique.

Today, in 2020, doctors are more likely to evaluate Black patients’ pain as less than that of white patients with the same symptoms.

A stunning 40% of first- and second-year medical students believe myths of biological differences between Black patients and White patients, leading to chronic undertreatment of pain in Black patients.

Healthcare inequity in the Black community is a systemic problem, one that also manifests itself as a representation issue. Despite African-Americans making up 13.4% of the nation’s population, just 5% of physicians are Black.

Numerous studies show that patients of color both feel less safe with doctors than White patients, and also see improved health outcomes when they see Black doctors.

Addressing this problem will take dedication and collaboration across government, the public health sector, the education sector, and more. We need more Black people in public health (whether as physicians, policy-makers, or otherwise) who are passionate about meeting the needs of their communities and driving change. 

As one small part of this, the Black Students in Public Health Grant will be awarded to a Black undergraduate or graduate student pursuing public health.

Students are not required to be public health majors to apply. Candidates who intend to pursue a career across any area of public health are eligible. The winner will be chosen on the basis of their drive, and on the impact that additional support would have for them.

Thank you to Madison Ambroise and Nadia La Mar, who are both recent scholarship winners and amazing Black students pursuing careers in public health. Madison and Nadia both inspired this grant and guided its direction through their invaluable feedback.

Diversity and Inclusion
Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself, why you’re pursuing public health, and what you plan to achieve with the help of your education.

500–1000 words

Winning Application

McKinley Crisp
Harvard CollegeCleveland, OH
At a young age, I expressed the desire to work in healthcare in order to help people. My original goal was to become a physician. However, after fainting at the sight of blood during a virtual surgery, I knew that I had to find another career path. As I was gradually exposed to the broad spectrum of careers in healthcare, I found that I was more suited for administrative roles rather than the operating room. After participating in a summer internship at a nonprofit hospital, I was intrigued by the behind-the-scenes work that occurred to create systems that provide compassionate and individualized care to each patient. Since then, I have dedicated myself to pursuing a career that would allow me to create change and have an impact in this unique way. In order to create a strong foundation, I followed my undergraduate degree in Health Policy and Management from the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill with a Master of Public Health degree from the Yale School of Public Health. Though I had been exposed to the business side of healthcare, I wanted to augment my understanding of social determinants, factors outside of the four walls of healthcare, that impact health. I understood that in order to create viable systems and have meaningful impact, I needed to appreciate the complexity and intersectionality of patient needs. After graduation, I sought to formally begin my career at a nonprofit health system. I specifically joined the Cleveland Clinic because of their commitment to providing world class care to each patient and making an impact on the local community. In fact, in 2018, the organization provided over $1 billion dollars for community benefit projects. Within the past four years, I have been promoted from an Administrative Fellow to a Project Manager to an Assistant Administrator in the Executive Administration and Chief of Staff offices. In these roles, I led projects and programs that either had a direct impact on our community or created organizational structures to provide this benefit. A few of these projects include: Creating and implementing our organization’s population health strategy, creating and securing funding for a proposal to create a clinic dedicated to LQBTQ+ patients, and developing an inaugural internship program to help develop and recruit underrepresented minority from the local community. In addition to my formal role, I serve on the leadership team for our African American Employee Resource Group. In response to the recent tragic events, I helped organize a demonstration for #whitecoatsforblacklives across all of the organization’s locations, including locations in Canada, London, and China. I also put together an action plan to increase and retain our African American physicians and leadership to ensure that our workforce reflects the community that we serve. My commitment to healthcare extends outside of my job and into my local community. When I first moved to Cleveland, I realized that there was a lack of connection between Black healthcare leaders. I knew that having this connection would enable each of us to better serve our organizations and our community. I partnered with three other individuals to charter a chapter of National Association of Health Services Executives, a nonprofit organization that elevates the quality of health care services rendered to underserved communities. Within one year of chartering the chapter, we were able to secure two Institutional partnerships, fundraise over $1,000, and host events to more than 100 people, including a donation of 2,750 diapers to local women’s organizations. While working at the Cleveland Clinic, I developed an enhanced perspective on the concept of “no margin, no mission” as our strong financial position enabled us to provide more community benefit. I am excited to attend Harvard Business School (HBS) this fall in order to round out my skillset in healthcare management and public health. My goal is to develop a strong financial acumen to guide healthcare organizations through the current industry transformation that is focused on providing high quality care at reduced costs. Even before the impact of COVID-19, healthcare organizations were struggling to figure out how to provide better care with less resources amidst national cost pressures. COVID-19 has only increased this financial burden as many patients have lost their jobs and are uninsured, thus having difficulty covering healthcare costs. These cost pressures and revenue shortages ultimately impacts the ability of healthcare organizations to provide necessary community outreach. I am passionate about leveraging my deep healthcare background to help nonprofit healthcare organizations solve their problems, provide better care to their patients, and make an impact in their communities. However, I also realize that these goals cannot be achieved without the ability to operationalize transformational strategies and sustain margins. For example, I believe that social enterprises have the ability to continue to transform the nonprofit healthcare space. With the wide range of models that can be used, I am excited to continue my career as a nonprofit leader in an entrepreneurial, strategic operations, business development, and/or consulting role that creates and implements sustainable ideas and operating models. I specifically enrolled at HBS because of its unparalleled ability created a diverse class while also establishing specialty groups where each student can find their place personally and professionally. I am thankful for this scholarship because it will allow me to continue to pursue my nonprofit healthcare goals without worrying about how to finance my education. Thank you for the opportunity.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 1, 2020. Winners will be announced on Nov 5, 2020.

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