Apply for the Freedom Riders Institute


Freedom Riders were students who risked their lives for simply and deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in the south in order to challenge segregation. These heroic leaders made change happen.


Although the days of Jim Crow laws are in the past, the legacy of racism is not.  At The Center for Black Health & Equity, we believe in the importance of preparing the next generation to become advocates in the effort to increase health, economic and social equity in their communities. If you are dedicated to bringing quality health care and health care services to the underserved and often under-represented, we invite you to attend The Freedom Riders Institute.  


The Freedom Riders Institute is a day-long pre-conference workshop held in September the day before the 2021 State of Black Health National Conference.  Along with access to the full conference, Freedom Riders will learn the correlation between health, social justice and economic development. They will also hear from young adults and professionals who have demonstrated leadership and taken initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.

For the March 2021 virtual event, Freedom Riders are invited to attend special sessions designed just for students. Registration is waived and premium swag is included. 


Freedom Riders will have the opportunity to play visible support roles during the conference, allowing for the chance to network and make valuable career connections with professionals attending or presenting at the conference.


Objectives for the Freedom Riders Institute are to:

  • Increase knowledge of the impact of health disparities on physical, social and economic environments

  • Demonstrate the relationship between health equity, social justice, and economic security

  • Illustrate linkages between various fields of study at institutes of higher learning and health equity

  • Demonstrate ways to utilize relationships, networks and strategic partners to advocate for and initiate change

  • Provide examples of leadership initiative taken by young adults

If you are a current undergrad or graduate college student with an interest in health equity or helping your community achieve optimal health, we invite you to apply as a Freedom Rider. Your conference registration, hotel and transportation expenses will be entirely covered.  

Applicants must:

  • Submit a 1-page letter of request to the State of Black Health Freedom Riders committee.Letter should:

    • Describe your desire to improve the health outcomes in your community

    • Propose innovative solutions for achieving health equity and/or gaps in thought leadership with regard to health equity

    • Connect your course of study to health equity issues

  • Be able to attend both the Freedom Riders Institute and the State of Black Health virtual event March 2-3, 2021.

  • Provide a letter of recommendation from 1 professor or mentor (not required for virtual event).


(for virtual March 2021)


APPLICATION DEADLINE (for September 2021)



Scholarship Guidelines:

  • Be currently enrolled graduate or undergraduate student in a college or university

  • Be 18–24 years old

  • Covered expenses include:  Air transportation, hotel accommodations (for in-person) registration for the State of Black Health National Conference

  • Attendees are responsible for the following expenses: ground transportation (to/from hotel, airport, etc.), meals other than meals on conference agenda, tips, parking, rental cars, hotel incidental charges, etc.

  • Attendees will share accommodations and be booked in a double room with another same sex attendee


Deadline to apply is TBD. This is a limited opportunity, so apply early.  For questions and to submit letters of recommendation, please contact Michael Scott at


If you would like to recommend a student, please forward their information to Michael Scott at the address listed below.​