2023 CDC HBCU Alumni photoshoot

Recognized as the hallmark of extended matriculation for Black Americans, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are a source of achievement, pride, and pivotal impact for all Americans. CDC is committed to sustaining outreach and improving partnership to HBCUs, so that we may remain a pinnacle in public health and STEM.

Our agency will continue to develop, calibrate, and evolve strategies that increase HBCU roles and engagements in addressing our public health agenda. The commitments below describe CDC’s efforts to increase opportunities for HBCUs to participate in CDC programs and to achieve the purposes of Executive Order 14041 – White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic and Economic Opportunity through HBCUs.

Our Commitments

Capacity Building: Establish a sustainable platform to support HBCUs in efforts to compete for available grant/funding opportunities by raising awareness and providing guidance on the application process.

Communications: Develop culturally tailored content to highlight current and planned HBCU engagement and amplify the stories of HBCU students and alumni. Routine outreach will provide opportunities to disseminate information about CDC priorities and opportunities for HBCUs and HBCU networks to collaborate.

Infrastructure: Create an agency plan to govern, monitor, evaluate CDC HBCU efforts and initiatives and maintain accountability to the CDC 2022 – 2027 Strategic Plan. The agency also created an intra-agency HBCU working group to implement ideas that will strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to compete for CDC funding opportunities and play meaningful roles in CDC’s implementation of public health actions.

Policy & Partnership: Explore policy levers and promote opportunities for formal long-term partnership between CDC and HBCUs to advance shared public health priorities.

Workforce Development: Establish and maintain effective working relationships with HBCU career services and faculty to create change agents who fulfill the CDC’s mission of forging a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.  Our agency will continue to prioritize HBCU graduate recruitment, retention and advancement through a portfolio of initiatives including CDC’s pathways for students and graduates to public health careers.

Our Commitments in Action

The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Outreach/Initiatives

In alignment with the current Administration’s Executive Order (EO 14035), CDC and NCIRD leadership are committed to developing a diverse public health workforce equipped with the skills to advance health equity and meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.  NCIRD is implementing the actions needed to, source highly qualified diverse talent, and increase external opportunities to engage underrepresented populations through enhanced recruiting, partnerships, and sustained relationships with minority-serving entities.

To increase its footprint among MSIs, NCIRD staff engaged in regional outreach with Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Jackson State University (JSU), with the goal of expanding the program to attract MSI students and partners nationwide. From 2022-2023, some specific accomplishments include:

  • Establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NCIRD and MSM, to provide a framework for coordination and collaborative efforts between these two parties. This MOU also establishes a method by which the two organizations may share information; and outlines a general mode of operation that will govern interactions between the two organizations in furtherance of the collaborative goals of CDC/NCIRD and MSM. To realize the benefits of cooperation pursuant to this MOU, CDC/NCIRD and Morehouse School of Medicine agree to exchange relevant information and services and develop other cooperative activities as specified in the agreement.
  • Establishing the NCIRD/MSM Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Internship Program. Launched in July 2023, this internship offers an opportunity for current MSM students and recent graduates pursuing a master’s, doctoral, or medical degree to gain valuable cross-cutting experiences for a career in public health.  Interns will be challenged to develop communication and leadership skills, as well as understand more about the real-world application of public health concepts and how to grow as public health professionals. There are 14 students in this first cohort of interns.
  • Piloting the CDC/NCIRD Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) mentorship program. The pilot program uses the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) as a platform to guide participants through weekly assigned goals. A total of eight mentees and eight CDC mentors participated in the program which will conclude September 2023.
  • Visiting Jackson State University to discuss creating a pipeline program for its students, and speak to students, staff, and community partners about employment, career development, and continuing education opportunities with CDC/NCIRD. In total, NCIRD staff met with and presented to 47 faculty, 50 students, six school leaders, 12 community partners.
  • Launching the Adjunct Faculty Exchange (AFE) program, an innovative and cross-collaborative initiative. Spearheaded by NCIRD/CDC, the AFE program fosters collaborations with minority-serving institutions, identifying suitable adjunct faculty appointments for NCIRD/CDC staff. NCIRD has issued two calls for Adjunct faculty appointments, collaborating with Morehouse School of Medicine, which garnered 19 applications, and Jackson State University, which received 20 applications. The team is also actively preparing for future expansion to include additional Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). This exchange of knowledge and experiences enriches academia, advances public health practices, and creates a strong pipeline of diverse public health leaders.
  • Launching the Partner Research Education Science Series (PRESS). This is a bi-monthly forum for NCIRD’s university and collegiate partners to share their research and public health interventions (on NCIRD-related topics) with both NCIRD and the broader CDC community. The goal is to host the first speakers in October 2023.