Propel Center and BDHEA Launch Health Equity Internships

ATLANTAMarch 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new healthcare internship program will give 100 Black students hands-on experience and leadership skills to advance health equity in the medical workforce. The immersive paid internships will be organized by the Propel Center, a pioneering innovation and learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities; the Black Directors Health Equity Agenda (BDHEA), a consortium of senior healthcare leaders focused on eradicating health disparities that threaten Black families; and INROADS, a nonprofit career academy for under-represented youth.

The Propel-BDHEA internships, announced March 17, are open to Black sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students considering medical and related healthcare careers, with applications due May 1. The internships will give them innovative work projects, research, academic coursework and career mentoring to prepare them for an inclusive experience. BDHEA aims to establish career mentoring relationships that will lead to full-time employment. Interested students can learn more and apply at

Career Mentoring Guides Interns to Change Future of Health Care

Propel-BDHEA internships will drive healthcare transformation by nurturing emerging Black leaders in medical and health-related fields and creating a more diverse and inclusive healthcare workforce.

“The Propel-BDHEA internship program addresses the urgent need to recruit and train Black professionals and to give them pathways to leadership in our nation’s top healthcare organizations,” BDHEA Board Member and Executive Sponsor Michele Richardson said.  “The dearth of Black doctors impacts healthcare. Most Black adults say it’s hard to find a doctor of their own race, a new Gallup poll found. More choices will assure the Black populace healthcare providers they can trust.”

“Healthcare organizations need Black talent at all levels. American Hospital Association statistics show Blacks comprise only 6% of board members in U.S. hospitals and health systems,” Richardson said. “Black students are an incredible source of talent who can help bring quality care to under-resourced urban and rural areas, improving access to services and patient outcomes. The intensive Propel-BDHEA internship program cultivates leadership skills that will magnify their impact on healthcare organizations and communities of color.”

BDHEA is a group of Black health industry leaders fostering collaboration across the health ecosystem to ensure equal access to care and advocate for Black people and communities of color. Propel and BDHEA will select 100 students for the internships with guidance from INROADS, a nonprofit career academy for under-represented youth.

Future health professionals in the nationwide Propel-BDHEA internship program will benefit from unprecedented access to Propel, BDHEA and INROADS senior advisers and corporate partners, while participating organizations will be able to bolster their workforce with emerging Black professionals that have added training and more robust leadership skills. Employers willing to sponsor interns can contact BDHEA at

Future Leaders Answer Call to End Health Disparities

In fact, the nation’s need for Black healthcare professionals is acute. In clinical areas, the U.S. will have up to 124,000 unfilled posts for physicians by 2032, Association of American Medical Colleges statistics showed in June 2021. Yet only 8% of current medical school enrollees at that time identified as Black or African American. To address health disparities, the medical profession will need inclusive leadership and a diverse workforce that engages patients and validates their lived experience.

“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 stated. “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 Black communities, but it starts with initiatives like this collaborative internship with our phenomenal partners.”

Participating organizations include the AUC Data Science Initiative and select HBCU medical and pre-med programs. Students will immerse themselves in focused study of the data-informed strategies that can reduce health disparities and advance a society where neither race nor income determines health or life outcomes. Prime areas of focus will be infant and maternal health, internal medicine, preventive and health equity, clinical algorithms, data science, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, app development, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases.

“INROADS has a proven 50-year history of preparing young people from underrepresented communities for success in business and STEM Careers,” INROADS President and CEO Forrest Harper, Jr. shared. “We know well that career disparities start with a lack of internship opportunities for Black students, with only 6% 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.”

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

The Black Directors Health Equity Agenda (BDHEA) 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

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