VUSM Public Health and Medical Student
Community-Based Health Equity Projects
Call for Applications

2021 Applications Closed.


Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Office of Health Equity, in partnership with the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, is seeking applications to support medical or public health student involvement in projects aiming to improve community health and advance health equity. The Lefkowitz Fund supporting student engagement in community health is named in honor of Dr. Lewis Lefkowitz. The Lefkowitz Fund recognizes and continues Dr. Lefkowitz’s commitment to extending public health and medical education beyond the classroom and into the community. Click here to learn more about Dr. Lefkowitz.

Projects must be community-based and create opportunities for all populations to achieve their best health possible.

Student Applicant Criteria

Students must be enrolled in the MD or MPH program at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Funds may be used to support research immersion projects, QI projects, practicum activities or service-learning activities that are mutually beneficial to students and the partnering community organization and that also help advance health equity. Students applying for funds for research immersions, QI projects or seeking course credit must obtain faculty approval. Multi-student projects and projects that involve partnerships across public health and medical students are also welcome.

Community Partner Criteria

Student projects must be done jointly with a community organization. Eligible community organizations include advocacy groups, coalitions, neighborhood associations, community health centers, faith communities and service providers with 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Projects working with organizations local to TN are preferred. Academic institutions beyond Vanderbilt may be collaborators on proposals but are not eligible to apply. Community partners will complete a brief form indicating support for the project.

Submission Guidelines

Please upload a proposal narrative using this link. The narrative should not exceed 2 pages.

1. Project Title

2. Please provide the name and a brief description of the community organization that you plan to partner with.

3. Overview of the proposed project goal(s). What is the intended community health impact?

4. Provide detail about the project’s objectives and activities and tie them back to the project goals.

5. Describe how the project will be sustained. As relevant, also share any plans or opportunities to “pass along” the project to other students (e.g., student “A” completes Phase 1 of a project with an organization, passes it along to student “B” for Phase 2, etc). On-going projects that involve hand offs across students are encouraged.

6. Describe how the project leads to improved health outcomes and implications for policy, practice and advancing health equity.

7. A brief, high-level timeline for completion of the project.

Attachments (not included in page limit):

8. Partnership Agreement Form from the proposed community partner, indicating their approval of activities proposed. Students who have other documentation indicating community partner approval of project (e.g., Practicum Site Supervisor Agreement) may submit this in lieu of the Partnership Agreement Form.

9. If funds support activities for course credit, provide an email acknowledging approval of the project from a faculty advisor.

10. Provide a Give-Get grid outlining how the project will be mutually beneficial.


11. Budget.

Grant Budget

Students may apply for up to $2500. Funds must be used to directly support the proposed project costs.

Project Timeframe

The length of projects may vary. Funds must be disbursed before June 30, 2021 though projects can extend beyond this time frame.

Deliverables and Reporting Requirements

Students will be asked to submit a brief final report and any project deliverables to the Office of Health Equity. Students are encouraged to also include any photos, fliers, or other information that describe the success of the project.

Review Criteria

Selection of student award recipients will be determined by a review panel based on the following criteria:
- Responsiveness to award guidelines and requirements
- Promise of the proposed project for advancing health equity
- Promise of the proposed project for promoting student learning in communities impacted by inequities
- Benefit of the project to the community partner


updated timeline for lefkowtiz fund
*Additional rounds of awards may be available depending on the number of applications received and the availability of funds.


Contact the Office of Health Equity at with questions or for assistance connecting with a community partner and regarding questions about budget, timeline or other issues. Please also watch the OHE website for FAQs.

Recorded Q&A Webinar

Click here to view the recorded Q&A webinar!