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  • Writer's pictureCarol Loftur-Thun

HTA Fellowships Boost HBCU Students' and Underserved Communities' Health and Wellness

Health Tech Alley is proud to launch an innovative fellowship program for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to promote entrepreneurial approaches to reducing health inequities and promoting health and wellness for underserved communities. Our inaugural cohort includes student teams from Morgan State University, Bowie State University, and Howard University

HTA pairs students and student teams with local initiatives and partners working in health technology and wellness initiatives to address disparities and promote public health. The four partners for this cohort include Wave Welcome, Salveo Innovations, There Goes My Hero, and the City of Annapolis. Projects will range from helping to formulate decision-support tools to address the rate of diabetes in Prince George's County to helping to increase awareness of blood cancers and promote registration for Bone Marrow drives.

Greg Miller, Co-Founder of HTA, notes "True to its mission, Health Tech Alley is catalyzing opportunities to merge talent building, workforce development, health tech, and impact for underserved communities. HTA is very excited about the potential of this program to create meaningful experiences for students and meaningful impact for underserved communities.”

HTA's goal is to support often underestimated youth in developing transformative solutions to improve health outcomes for both HBCU students and for underserved communities. HTA provides funding and mentoring for HBCU students and student teams in Maryland and the District of Columbia, matches students with local health initiatives and community partners, and provides educational programming, contacts, and resources for these students to be successful.

Bowie State and Howard University are among the 10 HBCUs chosen to receive multi-million grants to implement HHS's Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Workforce Development Program. HTA's support for students to gain hands-on experience in PHIT complements these HBCU's workforce development efforts.

At the same time, HTA is aware major barriers exist for HBCU students, including simply meeting their own basic needs for food, shelter, and health care. HTA's HBCU program ties to a recent report sponsored by the Annie B. Casey Foundation detailing the impact of food insecurity, lack of access to health food, and safe, secure housing.

  • 46% of HBCU students surveyed said they experienced food insecurity in the last 90 days.

  • Major­i­ty of respon­dents — 55% — said they expe­ri­enced hous­ing inse­cu­ri­ty in the past year.

HTA's support can make a difference in addressing food and housing insecurity by providing meaningful, paid opportunities for HBCU students to contribute to improving their campus's and community's health and wellness, while they grow their entrepreneurial and professional skills.

All fellows are slated to begin their projects by June 6, 2022. "It's exciting to see these various impactful projects coming together," says LaToya Staten, HTA's HBCU Fellowship program lead.

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