DAYTON, OH – In an effort to address disparities in healthcare, the American Heart Association, with the support of CareSource announces the 2022 HBCU Scholars and Mentors as part of its Scholars Program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This program provides professional mentoring, a financial stipend, and career development opportunities for Black and African American students in STEM fields.

Each scholar will be provided academic and career mentorship that encourages the pursuit of a career in healthcare or scientific research and increases their awareness of their potential impact on the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

This program is sponsored in the greater Dayton area by CareSource.

“CareSource knows representation is an important component of improving health equity for people in excluded or marginalized groups,” said Jenny Michael, senior vice president of advocacy, marketing and communication at CareSource. “We are proud to support the American Heart Association’s efforts to not only improve diversity in the medical field, but also build a knowledge base and legacy of care critical to ending racial disparities in health care.”

This year’s scholars are:

Evon Arnold
sophomore biology major; Central State University, native of Columbus, OH. Honors society and CESTA honors student. Evon is currently learning sign language and one day aspires to be an audiologist.

Mentor: Khalid Elased, Pharm.D., PhD, Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine


Jada Burns
Senior Health Services-Administration major; Wilberforce University, native of Cincinnati, OH. President’s list Scholar and Student athlete, Golf Team. Jada hopes to use these experiences to get herself acquainted with healthcare research and drive her future career forward.

Mentor: Eric S. Bennett, PhD, Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology and Associate Dean, Medical Education Pre-Clerkship Curriculum, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine


Tanzania Covington
Senior Chemistry major; Central State University, native of Berkley, IL. Honors College, Dean’s Lists scholar, and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. Central State University Marching Band, Campus Chapter member of NAACP, and Minority Association of Pre-Medical studies. Tanzania aspires to have her own private practice to meet cultural and linguistic needs of those in underprivileged communities.

Mentor: Hongmei Ren, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Wright State University


Lavano Sands
Senior; Chemistry Major; Central State University, native of Nassau, Bahamas. President’s and Dean’s List scholar. Central State University track and field student athlete, Pirate ambassador, member of International Student Organization, Minority Association of Premedical students, and Family Community & Leadership in Action

Mentor: Clintoria Williams, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology and Director, Small Animal Physiology (SAP) Core, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine


Aaron Whiteside
Sophomore exercise science major; Central State University, native of Columbus, OH. Honors college, Dean’s List Scholar and recipient of the Residential advisor and TRiO scholarship. Aaron hopes to use this opportunity to expand his skillset to prepare him for his next steps.

Mentor: Clintoria Williams, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology and Director, Small Animal Physiology (SAP) Core, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.


According to the Association of American Medical Colleges and the United States Office of Minority Health, fewer than 6% of all physicians are African American. Because of the lack of diversity in healthcare practitioners today, evidence suggests that patients of color may experience uncomfortable interactions and communication barriers with their healthcare providers as a consequence of implicit and unconscious bias among physicians and other healthcare professionals. These barriers, in turn, can lower patients’ trust in the overall health care system, and as a result, they may not complete prescribed treatments or follow-up on recommended care.



About the American Heart Association 
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

About CareSource
CareSource is a nonprofit, nationally recognized managed care organization with over 2 million members. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio since its founding in 1989, CareSource administers one of the largest Medicaid managed care plans in the U.S. The organization offers health insurance, including Medicaid, Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicare Advantage and dual-eligible programs. Through its network of health plans, CareSource serves members in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The company is leading the way in serving populations with complex needs and extended its presence into 12 additional states with the acquisition of The Columbus Organization, a trusted partner to health care agencies and provider organizations in improving coordination and support for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges through its staffing, quality improvement and care coordination services. As a mission-driven organization, CareSource is transforming health care with innovative programs that address the social determinants of health, health equity, prevention and access to care. For more, visit, follow @caresource on Twitter, or like CareSource on Facebook.  


For Media Inquiries:
Katie Kwapich:
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and