HealthGAINS: Grants And Scholarships Awarded To Address Health Disparities Locally

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A trend report in Forbes magazine during the peak of the global pandemic noted that social enterprises targeting low-income and underserved communities—people most severely hurt by the pandemic— have found themselves uniquely positioned to help those populations cope. The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, is investing in social entrepreneurs and innovative scholars working with community-based businesses to address the social determinants of health. The Association awarded $65,000 to the top finalists in the National EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™ and $30,000 to the 2021 EmPOWERED Scholars.

During the live virtual broadcast of the National EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator held on October 21, eight women entrepreneurs from across the United States presented their business models and concepts designed to drive health equity, sustainability, and community transformation.

Through the EmPOWERED Scholars program, the Association also awarded six female undergraduate students $5,000 each towards their education expenses.

The American Heart Association is also committed to investing in new research programs and science-based solutions to health inequities and structural racism. Through initiatives like EmPOWERED Scholars and National EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™, the Association seeks to expand diversity-research opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science and medicine and to identify and elevate community-based initiatives that aim to improve health and well-being.

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This year’s EmPOWERED Scholars were selected from a pool of 137 applicants who are currently enrolled freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in a U.S. college or university with a 2.0 GPA or higher who are working to improve community wellbeing. More about the work the EmPOWERED Scholars have done in their communities can be found here.

This is the fifth year of the National EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator. Since 2017, more than 100 social entrepreneurs have completed the business training and the Association has awarded more than $700,000 to help accelerate start-ups, social entrepreneurs, and organizations improving social determinants of health in their community.

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association announced plans to invest more than $230 million over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs addressing health equity, while leading additional efforts to drive systemic public health change focused on improving the social determinants of health and tackling issues of health justice and structural racism head-on. The virtual EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™Finale can be viewed at EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Finale - YouTube.

For more information on the EmPOWERED Scholar recipients, go to,