Propel Center Partners with Black Directors Health Equity Agenda (BDHEA) and INROADS to Establish New National HBCU Healthcare Equity Internship Program

The Propel Center, the global HBCU innovation and learning hub intended to level the playing field and open greater doors of opportunity for their students, today announced the creation and launch of its Propel-BDHEA internships, a national program focused on select HBCU and other African American students interested in pursuing medical and related healthcare careers.

The internship partnership will reimagine health equity and advance the goal of the Black Directors Health Equity Agenda (BDHEA) to foster collaboration among top health systems. BDHEA programs address the social determinants of health, provide best practices, ensure equitable access to care and advocate for long-term, meaningful healthcare policies impacting Black people and other communities of color. BDHEA unites healthcare leaders in efforts to diversify their organizations and achieve long-term health equity. INROADS, Inc. will execute the program.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. will have up to 122,000 unfilled posts for physicians by 2032. This skills shortage in the medical profession is even more alarming as it relates to future healthcare professionals of color: Only 7.3 percent of those enrolled in medical schools in 2020 identified as Black or African American. “The Propel-BDHEA internship program addresses the urgent need to recruit and train Black healthcare professionals and to give them pathways to leadership in our nation’s top healthcare organizations,” said Michele Richardson, BDHEA board member and executive sponsor. “HBCU students are an incredible source of talent who can help bring quality care to under-resourced urban and rural areas, improving access to care and patient outcomes. The intensive Propel-BDHEA program cultivates the leadership skills that will magnify their impact on healthcare organizations and communities of color.” 

“We recognize that representation must be more reflective of the populations being served to bring about real, long term systemic change addressing these health disparities,” Propel Chief Development Officer Julie Sills Molock states, adding that “increasing the numbers of Black physicians is not only about diversity and inclusion; it’s also about establishing greater patient access to doctors with whom they can confide in, connect with culturally, trust and build a better overall patient-provider rapport. This ultimately leads to more preventive care and healthier African American communities, but it starts with initiatives like this collaborative internship with our phenomenal partners.”

INROADS has a proven, 50-year history of preparing young people from underrepresented communities for success in business and STEM careers,” shared Forest T. Harper, Jr., president and CEO of INROADS, Inc. “We know well that career disparities start with a lack of internship opportunities for African American students–with only six percent of paid internships going to them. We’re committed to our exciting new collaboration with Propel and BDHEA to address these disparities and are especially pleased to be a channel for providing the resources and expertise to execute this invaluable initiative. Our goal here is clear: To prepare and convert more African American students into healthcare professionals who can excel and make an impact in the communities they serve.”

With the guidance of INROADS, Propel and BDHEA will secure a total of 100 students for the internships, which are open to collegians and will serve as a unique opportunity for immersion, focused clinical study, leadership access and exposure that the partners believe will accelerate early talent development and help advance the nation’s diverse medical pool and workforce of the tomorrow.

The selected interns will engage in innovative, work-based learning experiences, research opportunities with R&D-focused institutions, augmented academic coursework and mentoring. These future healthcare professionals will additionally benefit from unprecedented access to Propel, BDHEA and INROADS’ corporate partners and senior advisors, as well as select medical schools in collaboration with the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative (AUC) and specific HBCU medical and pre-med programs, while working on emerging medical health technology projects. 

Propel and BDHEA’s joint vision and commitment to health equity will ensure that all HBCU students have the access and ability necessary to achieve their full healthcare career potential. The partners emphasize that the most effective pathway toward eliminating persistent health disparities mandates leveraging data-informed strategies to help create a society where neither race nor poverty determine health or overall life outcomes.

Prime areas of focus for the new national internship program will include infant and maternal health, internal medicine, preventive and health equity, clinical algorithms, data science, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, app development, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and more. To apply or find out more, interested students may visit this link: www.INROADS.org/internships-program/. The application period is currently open, and all applications are due by May 1, 2022. The selected interns will be announced and matched to internships in May of 2022. Employers willing to sponsor interns may contact the BDHEA at bdhea.org/contact.

About the Propel Center

Supported by founding partners Apple and Southern Company, the Propel Center is a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the entire HBCU community that will serve as a catalytic epicenter of learning, providing students with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Through a robust virtual platform, on-campus activities at partner institutions and a physical campus located in the Atlanta University Center, Propel will offer innovative curricula and unprecedented leadership opportunities to HBCUs across the nation in an effort to produce the next generation of capable and conscientious Black leaders. To learn more, visit https://propelcenter.org/.

About BDHEA

The Black Directors Health Equity Agenda is made up of board directors and senior leaders who are working to eradicate the health disparities and inequities that threaten the individual and collective prosperity of Black families. As change agents, its members across the health ecosystem, foster and facilitate board education for up-and-coming leaders, encourage revised business models, spur innovative thinking and action and support policy reforms that advance health equity for Black Americans that will ultimately ensure equal and fair healthcare for all. Learn more at www.bdhea.org.

About INROADS

Founded in 1970, INROADS delivers innovative programs and creative solutions that identify, accelerate and elevate the development of underrepresented talent throughout their careers. Through this development, students become equipped for corporate and community leadership that affects community renewal, social change and elevates economic status and quality of life. INROADS has more than 30,000 alumni, over 900 interns and serves 4,000+ students and 200 corporate clients. Learn more at www.INROADS.org, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn: @INROADSInc.