The UK College of Medicine Behavioral Science Department (BSC) recognizes political and social inequalities that have not only created significant health disparities among the Black population but have led to health care inequalities experienced by Black people due to historical explicit bias and contemporary implicit bias across the healthcare system. Furthermore, there is a severe national shortage of physician-leaders who are committed to the health of underserved communities. Black individuals represent 14 percent of the U.S. population, yet account for just 5.7 percent of its physicians. As such we are proud to offer the BSC White Coats for Black Lives (WCBL) Fellowship award to qualified rising second-year medical students with the goal of enhancing their understanding of health disparities, political and social inequalities, and health care inequities experienced by Black people in the U.S. The fellowship experience will enhance medical school training and enable students to be better prepared to care for the underserved patient population of Black individuals.
Learn more about the 2023 WCBL Fellows here.
Behavioral Science White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship
Over a period of 18 months (from July at the beginning of the student’s first year of medical school through December of the student’s third year) each fellow will work with an identified faculty member in the department of behavioral science (BSC) in the College of Medicine to develop a clear, achievable project that addresses the health of Black people in the U.S. The research project should focus on an aspect of increasing health equity, decreasing bias, or enhancing contributions to the health and well-being of the Black population. Clinical science, basic science, community-engagement, health humanities or educational intervention projects will be considered.
Once accepted all fellows will be expected to enroll in one of two elective courses during their 2nd year of medical school: either BSC 750 “History of Medicine among African Americans: Implications for Health Disparities,” which is offered in the Fall semester or MD825 “Race, Racism and Health Disparities among African Americans in the U.S.,” which is offered during the Spring. (Both courses follow the main campus University academic calendar). In addition, the research timeline for the fellowship is as follows:
- July – November 2024: Development of detailed research proposal. After the applicant receives the notice of the research fellowship award, they will spend the first several months of their fellowship fully refining the details of the research project and develop a full, detailed research protocol (along with their behavioral science mentor).
- Dec. 1, 2024: Deadline for submission of full research proposal. The final detailed research protocol is submitted to the Fellowship Committee for review and feedback.
- January 2025: Deadline for research project initiation. The project should be initiated by January 2025; the project should have received regulatory approval (if needed) and project start up activities should begin. The project and analyses should remain active through Fall 2026.
- May 2025: Submission of a 1-page progress report. The fellow should submit a brief summary reporting on their research activities and progress.
- Late Fall 2025/Early 2026: Research presentation. The fellow will create a 15-20 minute presentation to describe the background, methods, and data obtained from their research project. This will be an open forum open to the campus community; friends and family of the applicant are welcome.
- Late Fall 2025/Early 2026: Brief exit interview. 30-min Zoom meeting to offer thoughts/suggestions.
Award Amount and Award Period
This 18-month fellowship will begin in July of the fellow’s second year of medical school and extend up through Dec. 31 of the fellow’s 3rd year of medical school. Fellows will be provided with a $5000 stipend that will be dispersed in two installments in Fall and Spring of the fellow’s second year of medical school. Two fellows will be selected to participate in the 2024-2025 cohort.
- All current first year medical students are eligible to apply for the WCBLs Fellowship.
- Applicants must submit a completed and signed application form along with:
Any Behavioral Science faculty member is eligible to serve as a faculty mentor. Each mentor will assume the responsibility of overseeing their respective fellow’s work and progress. The primary mentor is expected to assist the applicant with the following activities:
- Development of the fellowship application and research plan
- Project implementation, including overseeing data collection and completion of the project
- Development of full project proposal (due Dec. 1, 2024)
- Completion of progress reports describing the fellow’s progress (written by the fellow with mentor’s input and guidance)
- Preparation of a brief final presentation of the fellow’s project (Late Fall 2025/Early 2026)
- Completion of a final evaluation of fellow’s progress/exit interview (Late 2025/Early 2026)
- Personal Statement: Provide a personal statement of no more than 600 words that describes:
- any previous experience related to service or leadership in social justice organizations and/or organizations focused on healthcare equity
- commitment to addressing health disparities and/or healthcare inequities within the African American community
- describe why the Behavioral Science faculty mentor was chosen for this project
- addresses how the BSC WCBL Fellowship will benefit the applicant in their training as a future physician
- individuals from any racial/ethnic background are welcome to apply, but the committee asks that the applicant describe if they meet criteria for an under-represented in medicine applicant: AAMC Under-Represented in Medicine
- Research Proposal: Submit a 2-page research proposal that includes the following elements:
- Specific aims page (1 page) (examples and general guidance if needed: NIH SA Page)
- Project timeline (approx. ½ page) using the research timeline above as a general guide
- Itemized budget justification (approx. ½ page); $2,000 maximum budget for the duration of the project
- Questions regarding allowable costs should be directed to: Alicia Colliver (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Resume or CV: Include educational history, previous/current research activities (if any), employment, and extracurricular activities, and awards/recognitions
- Two letters of recommendation:
- One letter from a previous or current mentor or supervisor who can speak to the applicant’s involvement working with underserved communities, health disparities impacting African American or underserved communities, or community engagement in social justice activities
- One letter from the applicant’s Behavioral Science faculty mentor
- Letters should be submitted on official letterhead and include a signature
- Letters of recommendation can be sent within the online portal or directly to email@example.com by the letter’s author. If sent via email, letters should have the applicant’s name as part of the file name and in the subject line of the email.
Any Behavioral Science faculty member is eligible to serve as a faculty mentor. Each mentor will assume the responsibility of overseeing their respective fellow’s work and progress. The mentor’s responsibilities are primarily to:
Assist the applicant with completion of the fellowship application.
Aid the fellow in the developing their project proposal for submission by Dec. 1 of the first year of their fellowship second year of medical school).
Oversee the implementation and completion of the fellow’s project.
Complete and submit progress reports describing the fellow’s project.
Assist in the preparation of a short presentation of the fellow’s project to be presented during the Fall semester of the fellow’s third year of medical school.
Complete a final evaluation form describing the fellow’s overall experience in the program by Dec. 30 of the fellow’s third year of medical school.
- Applications can be submitted beginning Oct. 1, 2023, through Jan. 31, 2024. Notification of award(s) will be made no later than March 15, 2024.
- Begin Preparing Applications Early!
The deadline to submit your application and all supplemental materials is Jan. 31, 2024 @ 5 p.m. Please submit all applications and supporting materials online here. If you are electing to have your letter writers submit their letters separately, letters of recommendation can be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org by the letter’s author. The letters must be submitted as a pdf file on official letterhead. All letters should have the applicant’s name as part of the file name and in the subject line of the email. The file name for all letters of recommendation should be submitted as follows: Applicants Last Name, Applicants First Name, LOR Author’s Last Name.
Applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by the department of behavioral sciences’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Council. In choosing fellowship recipients, the Council will prioritize candidates who are academic scholars and express a commitment to serving the Black community as a future physician. Applications from individuals who are under-represented in medicine (i.e., African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans of Vietnamese and Cambodian heritage, 1st generation college graduates, and individuals from disadvantaged economic backgrounds) are highly encouraged.