Initiatives Announced to Identify and Remove Barriers to Health Care Access and Quality

DALLAS, May 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As a champion for health equity, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, is enlisting the power of social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and individual change agents to create innovative business models and concepts designed to drive health equity, sustainability, and community transformation. The Association made several recent announcements on initiatives from its EmPOWERED to Serve™ platform, which focuses on improving health outcomes and reducing the gap in health equity among under-resourced and multicultural communities.

EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator now accepting applications through July 16
On May 3, the Association began accepting applications to its fifth EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator. Community-based social entrepreneurs and nonprofits who are working to solve issues related to the social determinants of health across the country are encouraged to apply now through July 16, 2021. Previous participants have introduced innovative approaches to bridging gaps in access to healthcare, healthy food, stable housing and STEM education. Small business owners and organizations from historically under-represented communities are encouraged to apply for a chance to participate in the eight-week accelerator. Participants will attend the national virtual finale event on October 21, 2021 and have a chance to receive up to $65,000 in grant funding. More information and the application can be found at

EmPOWERED to Serve roundtables ask men to Live Fierce and Stand for All this summer
In addition, this summer EmPOWERED to Serve roundtables, which convene national leaders to bring focus to critical issues faced by historically disadvantaged communities, will focus on men. EmPOWERED Men’s Health-Live Fierce, Stand for All roundtables are designed to inspire robust dialogue about the effects of structural racism on the health of men of color – specifically mental and cardiovascular health. These events will also stand as a call to action to affect change for people of color by creating more accessible, equitable solutions across the country. In June in observance of Father’s Day, we invite men of color to Take a Stand for Your Mental & Physical Health and learn strategies for wellbeing in the face of the social injustices that can also adversely impact health. This event will take place on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 5 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. CDT/8 p.m. EDT. The roundtable will be moderated by Brahma Sharma, M.D., a cardiologist and Chair of American Heart Association AAPI liaison committee for Cardiovascular Disease and Sudden Death Prevention. Panelists will include:

  • Mathew Knowles, a record executive, talent manager and businessman
  • Ana Sierra, Ph.D., a licensed mental health professional
  • Ngoc Vuong, EmPOWERED to Serve scholar

July is National Black Family Month and EmPOWERED to Serve will highlight the role of the Black man in the health of Black families and communities during a livestreamed roundtable, Live Fierce. Stand for All. On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the discussion will focus on the importance of prioritizing health, knowing your numbers, fun family fitness routines and how to make everyday chores, like cooking, a family affair. 

The EmPOWERED to Serve™ roundtables are free and open to the public. Anyone interested in attending the virtual events can register on the EmPOWERED to Serve website.

Building a diverse pipeline of STEM professionals with EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars
On May 19, the Association held a ceremony to recognize the 2020 class of EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars. The initiative annually awards grants to students focused on health impact empowering them to become agents of change in their communities. This opportunity is open to first-year college students, sophomores and juniors who are actively addressing social determinants of health such as food insecurity, safe housing, job opportunities and access to health care.

The 2021 EmPOWERED to Serve application period will open in August 2021.Please visit the EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars site for more information.

Through the EmPOWERED to Serve platform, the American Heart Association has educated thousands about health disparities and recently announced plans to invest more than $230 million over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs. EmPOWERED to Serve will continue leading additional efforts to drive systemic public health change focused on removing barriers to equitable health for everyone, everywhere. 

Additional Resources

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, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

For Media Inquiries:
Tiffaney D. Hunter,

SOURCE American Heart Association

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