The Behavioral Science Department (BSC) in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky recognizes political and social inequalities that have not only created significant health disparities among Blacks in the U.S. but have led to healthcare inequalities experienced by Blacks in the U.S. 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. Blacks represent 14% of the U.S. population, yet account for just 4% 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 healthcare inequities experienced by Blacks 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 Blacks in the U.S. 

Learn more about the 2022 WCBL Fellows here.

2022 White Coats for Black Lives Fellows (clockwise from left): Rashmi Bharadwaj, Maya Cleveland, Lillian Maxwell, Darayon Moore and Maggie Stull.
2022 White Coats for Black Lives Fellows (clockwise from left): Rashmi Bharadwaj, Maya Cleveland, Lillian Maxwell, Darayon Moore and Maggie Stull.

Behavioral Science White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship

Over a period of 18 months (from July thru December of the following 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 Blacks in the U.S. The proposed project can be a research project (clinical or basic science), a community-engaged project, or other project of significance to the health of Blacks.

Once accepted all fellows will be expected to enroll in one of two elective courses during their 2nd year of medical school: either MD825 “Race, Racism and Health Disparities among Blacks in the U.S.”, which is offered during the Fall semester or MD825 “History of Medicine among Blacks in the U.S.: Implications for Health Disparities”, which is offered during the Spring. (Both courses follow the main campus University academic calendar). In addition, during the first two-three months of the fellowship, fellows – under the guidance of their BSC mentor – will prepare a full project proposal that must be submitted to the Fellowship Committee no later than December 1. It is expected that each fellow will initiate their proposed project no later than the following January, submit a progress report in May, continue to work intensively on the project with their mentor during the summer break, and present their project to the campus community during the Fall semester of the close of the fellowship period.  

Award Amount and Award Period

This 18-month fellowship will begin in July of the fellow’s 2nd year of medical school and extend up through December 1 of the fellow’s 3rd year of medical school. Fellows will be provided with a $5000 stipend that will be dispersed in two installments. Two fellows will be selected to participate in the 2023-2024 cohort. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • All current 1st year medical students are eligible to apply for the WCBLs Fellowship. 

  • Applicants must submit a completed and signed application form  along with:
  • A personal statement of no more than 600 words that describes previous experience related to service or leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement or similar social justice organization and/or organization focused on healthcare equity; discusses their commitment to addressing health disparities and/or healthcare inequities within the Black community in the U.S.; identifies a project mentor (who must be faculty in the Department of Behavioral Science); briefly discusses a potential topic for their fellowship project that addresses health disparities/inequities within the Black community; addresses how they think the BSC WCBL Fellowship will benefit them in their training as a future physician; and describe whether they are an under-represented in medicine candidate (please see AAMC’s definition of underrepresented in medicine). The personal statement should be typed single spaced in Times New Roman Font Size 12. Page margins should be 1” top, bottom, right, and left. Please do not use page borders or text boxes. 

  • A resume or CV. Please be sure to include education, previous/current research activities (if any), employment, and extracurricular activities. 

  • Two letters of recommendation. The first letter writer should be a previous or current mentor or supervisor who can speak to the applicant’s involvement working with Black communities, health disparities impacting Black communities, the White Coats for Black Lives or Black Lives Matter movements, or similar community engagement or social justice activities that may not be directly related to the White Coats for Black Lives or Black Lives Matters movement. The second letter writer should be from the identified Behavioral Science faculty member mentor. Please contact potential mentors early to discuss potential WCBL fellowship ideas and their willingness to serve as a mentor. The link to Behavioral Science Faculty can be found here. Please note that it is not critical that the mentor you identify be engaged directly in projects related to health disparities/inequities in the Black community. For example, you and the mentor may develop a new project based upon the mentor’s established program of investigation that can be translated to address health disparities/inequities in the Black community.  

All recommendation letters should be on the official letterhead of the letter writer’s organization and include the letter writer’s signature).  

Project Mentors

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 December 1 of the first year of their fellowship (2nd 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 3rd year of medical school. 

  • Complete a final evaluation form describing the Fellow’s overall experience in the program by December 30 of the Fellow’s 3rd year of medical school. 

Application Period

Applications can be submitted beginning December 1, 2022, through January 31, 2023. Notification of award(s) will be made no later than March 15, 2023. 

Begin Preparing Applications Early! 

Application Submissions

The deadline to submit your application and all supplemental materials is January 31, 2023 @ 5:00 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 bscdeicouncil@uky.edu 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.  

Review Considerations

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. 

Questions about the Fellowship

For questions regarding the BSC WCBL Fellowship, please contact Dr. Laurie McLouth at laurie.mclouth@uky.edu or contact the BSC DEI Council at bscdeicouncil@uky.edu