Service-Learning Programs

Health Equity Leaders Program

Established in 2022 through the generous support of the Brave of Heart Fund, the NMF Health Equity Leaders Program provides underrepresented in health care, medical, and allied health students with opportunities to explore health equity service, scholarship, leadership, and advocacy.

Program Goal

The program seeks to develop future health care leaders, who have an interest in primary care, with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to promote health equity for medically underserved communities. Through self-led research projects, scholars work to examine and disrupt the systems and structures of historical racism that lead to health disparities that disproportionately impact BIPOC communities.

Scholar Eligibility

The program is open to second-, third-, and fourth-year medical (MD, MD/PhD, DO, DO/PhD), and graduate level physician assistant and nursing students who come from underrepresented backgrounds and have a demonstrated interest in primary care. Scholar candidates must meet the following additional eligibility:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) approved letter
  • Must be currently enrolled in an accredited medical or graduate-level nursing or PA school located in the U.S.
  • Identification as an underrepresented student in health care from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Demonstrated leadership early in career
  • Interest in health care delivery to medically underserved communities with a particular interest in primary care
  • Committment to health equity

Program Structure

The 2022-23 Health Equity Leaders Program provides $10,000 to 30 scholars. As part of the program, scholars are required to conduct a self-directed health equity research project over a 10-month period. Scholars identify a community-based organization where they can gain exposure and training in primary care, health equity research, service, leadership, and advocacy. Selected organizations must be community based and have a primary focus of education, advocacy, or providing services and support to vulnerable populations as part of their daily operations.

Approved organizations may include but are not limited to:

  • Community health clinics
  • K -12 public education institutions
  • Universities
  • 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Libraries
  • Food banks

If applicants are unsure their desired partner organization meets the criteria please contact Vanika Spencer at

Program Elements

The program runs from November 2022 through September 2023.

Each scholar will be required to complete 200 service learning hours. Hours include participation in the following:

  • Virtual program orientation
  • Five learning days (in-person and virtual)
  • National conference related to advancing health equity (Summer/Fall 2023)
  • Program culminating event

The program also features opportunities for scholars to connect with each other during Connection Conversations. The conversations are group check-ins and advice-centered sessions focused on scholars’ progress and challenges. Additional program events may be added.

Scholars will also be required to select a mentor. Mentors should be affiliated with the chosen site and are expected to help scholars focus on health equity leadership, research, and advocacy. Guidelines and expectations will be provided to each mentor in addition to a stipend for their support throughout the program.

2023 applications are open from June 16 to August 11, 2023, at 11:59 pm ET.


Who Is Eligible?

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