Philip Akinyelure, a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology, has recently received notice that his pre-doctoral fellowship submission “Social Determinants of Health and Blood Pressure Control in Black and White US Adults” was funded by the American Heart Association.

philip akinyelurePhilip AkinyelureThe American Heart Association (AHA) Predoctoral Fellowship Program seeks “to enhance the integrated research and clinical training of promising students who are matriculated in predoctoral or clinical health professional degree training programs and who intend careers as scientists, physician-scientists or other clinician-scientists, or related careers aimed at improving global cardiovascular health.” AHA predoctoral fellowships provide support to individual doctoral students for stipends and travel to scientific conferences, among other resources.

Individual fellowships, such as the AHA predoctoral fellowship, are extremely competitive, as programs receive applications from doctoral students across the country and only fund a select few. In recent years, a number of the School of Public Health’s doctoral students have successfully competed for AHA and NIH F31/F30 fellowships. Philip’s achievement in obtaining this award is the latest reflection of the first-class students, faculty, staff, and research environment at UAB and the School of Public Health. In particular, Philip participated in the School’s doctoral grant writing class, led by the School of Public Health’s Dr. Paul Muntner, where he first drafted an aims page, research strategy and Biosketch. He then polished those sections and prepared the ‘non-science’ grant sections over the summer during the Dean’s Office Grant Writing Workshop.

Philip’s project will help to identify the role of social determinants of health, as well as behavioral and psychosocial factors, on the higher prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure in Black compared with White US adults. This project will use the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study data, a national cohort of Black and White US adults from the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

Philip’s mentorship team consists of Paul Muntner, Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Dean for Research, George Howard, Professor of Biostatistics, and Byron Jaeger, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics. The fellowship support is for two years, and Philip says he is “very pleased to receive this award from the American Heart Association.”

All SOPH doctoral students interested in submitting fellowship applications are encouraged to discuss the course and workshop with their mentors, advisors, and the SOPH Office of Research (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The summer 2021 workshop will begin in May and is soliciting interested students now. The grant writing course is offered each spring semester. For more information, visit

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