The Health and Social Justice Scholars Program provides a unique opportunity of educating professional and doctoral students in an interprofessional manner to produce high quality scholarly activities related to health equity, health and healthcare disparities, social justice, and healthcare innovation with the goal of benefitting underserved and disadvantaged populations. The program is comprehensive, providing scholars conceptual learning modules, research experience, mentoring, service learning, and professional development. The program is managed by the Health Sciences Center (HSC) Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) with high collaboration with Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health & Information Sciences, as well as community partners.  

Students who have a demonstrated interest in health disparities from a community engagement perspective, attend a school at the HSC campus and will be entering their second year of a doctoral program (Au.D., D.M.D., D.N.P., M.D., Ph.D.) in Fall 2024 are eligible to apply. Students must be in academic good standing to apply. Four scholars will be selected (1 scholar from each HSC school). Each scholar will receive a scholarship/stipend for each academic year of participation in addition to mentoring support, research opportunities, and professional development travel support. Scholars may participate in the program for a maximum of three years.

Scholars will participate in clinical work (when appropriate), didactics, community-based experiences and scholarly activities. Scholars will be trained in the techniques of community-based participatory research and evaluation, and will be actively involved in the interactive process of translating research findings into policy development and implementation. Each scholar will have two mentors; one to help them negotiate the rigors of the program and the other from their chosen field to provide guidance in their careers.



The purpose of the Health and Social Justice Scholars (HSJS) Program is to provide training using an interprofessional model to perform community-based participatory research addressing disparities in health risk and health outcomes among minority and disadvantaged populations. Specifically, selected scholars will:

  • Examine the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, geography, sexual orientation and other social factors that contribute to health and healthcare disparities
  • Work with diverse community partners in service learning projects
  • Develop and complete a community-based participatory research project designed to promote social justice and health equity
  • Engage in mentoring and professional development activities to support future career goals


Scholar Responsibilities and Commitment

All applicants must be in academic good standing and obtain a recommendation from a designated academic official attesting to the applicant’s ability to undertake additional work and responsibilities. Selected scholars will receive a detailed orientation concerning the expectations and requirements of their scholarship. On average, scholars should anticipate a 2-3 hour commitment per week to this program. In summary, scholarship recipients will be required to meet the following criteria:


  1. Remain in good academic standing.
  2. Work collaboratively with other scholarship recipients and/or with HSC partner organizations to complete a major research project focusing on health equity and social determinants of health issues. 
  3. Scholars will be required to attend monthly lectures (either in person or online) as part of the curriculum.
  4. Scholars must meet with their project mentor at least monthly.
  5. Scholars must meet with ODI appointed staff at least monthly for guidance and report progress.
  6. Scholars must meet with their career mentor at least every three months.
  7. Scholars are expected to present their findings to their community partners and their peers in their respective HSC School.
  8. Scholars are expected to present their findings at a national conference and/or publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Although this program is designed to be a three-year commitment and renewable scholarship, scholars may be dismissed at any time if the scholar fails to meet the required responsibilities of the program.

About the Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion is led by Associate Vice President for Health Affairs/Diversity Initiatives, V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H. Dr. Jones is supported by a team of professionals who have a long history of supporting aspiring health professionals from rural areas, persons who are underrepresented in the health sciences, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our mission is to conceptualize, cultivate and coordinate partnerships across the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health & Information Sciences by building organizational capacity and expanding leadership competency for HSC diversity and inclusion efforts. We have a vision of being a model for innovation for health equity driven by excellence in education, community outreach and research. The Health and Social Justice program builds upon ongoing efforts currently in place through our health equity programming in Louisville and the surrounding region to identify and provide potential interventions to mitigate health disparities in our changing demographics.