August 26, 2022

Cheyney University Awarded $200,000 to Support Program that Enhances Black Talent Pipeline for Healthcare Professionals

Cheyney University Awarded $200,000 to Support Program that Enhances Black Talent Pipeline for Healthcare Professionals

The Propel Center selected Cheyney to help fund its Bridge for Black Americans Pursuing Medicine program

(CHEYNEY, PA – Aug. 25, 2022) – Cheyney University of Pennsylvania today announced it was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Propel Center, the global HBCU technology and learning hub, to support the university’s Bridge for Black Americans Pursuing Medicine (BBAPM) program.

The BBAPM program will provide undergraduate Cheyney students with exposure to non-traditional, high-demand careers in medicine. Through a partnership with AtlantiCare, a health system serving southern New Jersey, 25 students majoring in Biology with pre-health concentrations will participate in the immersion program during winter or summer break. The grant will help fund portions of the program that will give students the opportunity to complete rotations with healthcare professionals such as respiratory therapists, medical lab technicians, and radiology technicians while working to enhance their readiness for additional training programs.

“We designed this program to provide a pathway for our students to enter medical careers with hands-on training and internship opportunities,” said Cheyney President Aaron A. Walton. “This program’s ultimate goal is to increase the number of Black healthcare professionals.”

President Walton continued, “The program will help reduce the disparity in health outcomes for Black Americans, as there is evidence that health disparities among Black Americans can be reduced when they are treated by Black healthcare professionals.”

The BBAPM program will also expose students to technology resources to support their academic achievement. Students will employ the use of the virtual Apple Classroom app and Apple mobile devices. The technology resources will aid students in improving their readiness for the next training level and prepare them for the standardized tests required for certification and licensure in healthcare fields. Students will use the virtual classroom throughout their undergraduate years so their skills and level of independence as learners progresses every year.

According to Vanessa Atkins, Director of Cheyney’s Life Sciences & Technology Hub, the innovative approach to building health career awareness and improving readiness for the rigors of advanced training for these careers will provide a bridge for undergraduate students to careers that meet the needs of society.

“We want to increase representation of Blacks in healthcare and promote continued engagement in the field of medicine beyond degree completion,” said Atkins. “We are creating a clear pathway to fulfilling careers otherwise unknown to recent graduates.”

Cheyney is one of five awardees that recently received grants from the Propel Center. The awards, the second round of Industry Impact Grants, continue Propel’s mission to offer world-class research and innovation opportunities for HBCUs and their students. The selected universities will also have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Propel Impact Industry Mentors, who are available to help curricula and provide ongoing mentorship, learning support, and internship opportunities.

“One of our goals at Propel is to shine a long overdue spotlight on the young scholars at our HBCUs who are prepared, trained and poised to step up and transform the global, diverse healthcare workforce of the future,” said Dr. Charles J. Gibbs, president of the Propel Center | HBCU Consortium. “These Impact Grant awardees are our best hope and opportunity to add and enhance the Black talent pipeline, and we’re proud to support our future healthcare leaders and innovators.”

Cheyney’s BBAPM program supports the university’s growing demand for bioscience and technology majors. With 35 percent of the student body now enrolled within these majors, the university is increasing awareness of career options for these students through its on-campus partnerships with biotech companies and expanding opportunities with external like-minded partners, providing internships and careers.

“We have more than doubled the percentage of students majoring in STEM in four years,” said President Walton. “With the assets we have put into place, there is every reason to believe we will continue to grow our educational offerings and real-world experience for our students.”


About Cheyney – Founded in 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. Building on this legacy, the vision for Cheyney is to become the premier model for academic excellence, character development, and social responsibility among not only Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but in all of American higher education. The campus is located on 275 acres straddling Delaware and Chester Counties. Read more at