The Kennedy Krieger Institute’s outpatient center. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training recently received an $11 million award to support workforce development for individuals from backgrounds that are underrepresented in public health careers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded the money to provide ongoing support to Kennedy Krieger’s Ferguson RISE Fellowship Program. 

The fellowship provides research, education, and professional development opportunities for scholars interested in infectious diseases, public health, mental health, maternal and child health.

The program’s goal is to eliminate health disparities and improve health nationwide by opening up opportunities for students to participate in public health experiences. 

The program, which can be completed in 12 months, 6 months, or during the summer months, will enroll up to 200 graduate and post-graduate students and 150 undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students.

Participating fellows will focus on public health research alongside other scholars from groups underrepresented in public health careers; including those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, first-generation college students, LGBTQI+ people, and other marginalized groups.

Additionally, fellows will gain mentorship from faculty members of Kennedy Krieger, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Howard University, Maryland Health Department, Morgan State University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health and the CDC. 

Alumni fellows from past programs have studied categories such as autism and early intervention, Black infant mortality rates, sexual health, nutrition intervention programs for people with disabilities, and many other public health issues.

“New and exciting during this budget period is a doubling of CDC current investment in graduate student public health research experiences and significantly strengthen research opportunities for students, especially those from underrepresented populations,” said Harolyn M.E. Belcher, Kennedy Krieger’s vice president and chief diversity officer, in a statement. “We’re excited to support the fellows’ career trajectories while increasing the number of talented and diverse public health professionals.”

According to Kennedy Krieger officials, the program’s funding is part of partnership efforts by John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars and Dr. James A. Ferguson Fellowship, which is led by the CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity.

Applications are open for next year’s program. For eligibility requirements or more information on how to apply visit

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that the CDC’s $11 million award was used to launch Kennedy Krieger’s Ferguson RISE Fellowship Program. The fellowship is not new, and the money will be used to provide ongoing support to the program.

Latrice Hill is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate who loves all the great things this city has to offer. She worked with WMAR 2-News as an Assignment Desk Editor before she joined...