What is the PAECER Program?

Promoting Academic Excellence with Community Engagement and Reach Multicultural Scholars Program (PAECER Program)

This is a summer, 10 week training program in cardiovascular science for under-represented, undergraduate scholars. The program provides an intellectually, socially and culturally rewarding experience to engage scholars at multiple levels. We leverage the expertise of Vanderbilt University to cultivate academic knowledge and research skills and American Heart Association’s (AHA) public health leadership position to provide an integrated training program against a social determinants of health backdrop. The leadership team is composed of senior individuals with overlapping expertise in cardiovascular disease, mentoring, and community engagement. In addition to an intense, mentored research experience in the area of cardiovascular science, we will offer unique perspectives and resources, provide a productive framework to fully understand health inequities, and foster invaluable connections among scholars and their mentors and communities. We posit that students on the path to professions in science, medicine, healthcare or public policy must also be trained on real-life community engagement and cultural competency. They must be aware and knowledgeable of the forces shaping the health disparities so prevalent in the nation, in addition to the social determinants of health that determine the nature and severity of those disparities. Our overall goal is ambitious and innovative; we seek to create a cadre of students that will ultimately become the integrators needed to connect science and systems of health care with underrepresented communities through their academic and professional credentials, ability to build and retain trust, and cultural competence skills. We will fulfill this vision through: an intensive academic research and training immersion experience, with mentoring as a central component; regular opportunities to interact with their peers and acquire the core values of collaboration, teamwork and personal enrichment; and exposure to AHA initiatives targeted to address health inequities through public awareness, education, policy and social change. Together, we will thus provide an exciting and comprehensive experience to minority scholars poised to make career-defining, life-changing decisions with future implications for the biological, behavioral, and social determinants of health across the nation.

What is the AHA SURE Program?

Through a partnership with the American Heart Association, mentored summer research experiences are available for three students from ethnic and racial groups under-represented in science.

  • Learn the Biological, Behavioral, and Social Determinants of Health: Discover what factors affect health in vulnerable populations through the AHA’s extensive, unique resources.
  • Gain Invaluable Experience and Mentoring: Work with an AHA-associated researcher, sampling career paths and learning how the AHA supports research.

The AHA is committed to increasing diversity in science and in the delivery of health care. The program advances and promotes a rich academic experience for Scholars from historically underrepresented groups. We encourage careers in health services, research, community engagement and public service.

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