The UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science launched its White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship in 2021 to enhance medical students’ understanding of health disparities, political and social inequalities, and health care inequities experienced by Black Americans. 

Three years and 11 fellows later, the program is still going strong. The fellowships are supported by the department’s diversity, equity, and inclusion council and require an 18-month commitment from scholars. During that time, each fellow works closely with a faculty mentor from the department on a research or community-engaged project that addresses the health of Black Americans. 

See fellow highlights below to learn more about our past participants:

Thailandria Daniels, a fourth-year medical student, was among the inaugural cohort of fellows. As a first-generation college student and African-American woman, Daniels’ project was incredibly personal. She was motivated to find a supportive and diverse environment to continue her medical career journey and, under the guidance of faculty mentor, Laurie McLouth, PhD, focused her project on disparities in occupational stress between Black and white physicians in academic medicine. 

Third-year student, Rashmi Bharadwaj, is one of five 2022-2023 fellows. Her research focuses on maternal mortality and morbidity rates, specifically among Black women. Research indicates that Black women have the highest maternal mortality rate in the United States, almost three times the rate of white women. To address this, Bharadwaj is developing what she calls a “disparities dashboard” to help physicians become more aware of the intersecting disparities affecting their unique patient populations. She hopes this tool will allow physicians to stratify patient data they collect to make better-informed care decisions, especially for patients from historically marginalized populations. 

Mindy Baker, a second-year student, is among the most recent group of fellows. Baker’s project focuses on dermatology influencers on social media and, more specifically, the extent to which they discuss skin of color. Shyanika Rose, PhD, serves as her faculty mentor. She hopes the fellowship will help to develop foundational skills needed for her future career focused on improving health disparities. 

The White Coat for Black Lives Fellowship is currently accepting applications for its fourth cohort. All current first-year medical students are eligible to apply. Applicants can be submitted through Jan. 31, 2024.  For more information, click here