CVRI/SNMA Levi Watkins, Jr. Travel Grant Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Groups

Sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention and the Student National Medical Association

Scientific Sessions 2021 Travel Grant notifications will be sent in early September. Awardees must attend the conference in person to receive the monetary award.

Award applications for Scientific Sessions are now closed and will reopen in April 2022. Please visit Council Awards for opportunities to apply for active awards. Awards applicants must be AHA Professional Members and must be affiliated with the AHA sponsoring scientific council at the time of application.

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The Council on Cardiovascular Radiology & Intervention (CVRI) and Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is offering $1,000 travel grants to honor promising underrepresented racial and ethnic medical students, other trainees, or investigators while introducing them to the AHA and Scientific Sessions.

Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. was a cardiac surgeon who, in 1980, performed the first implantation of an automatic defibrillator into a human heart. He was also a professor of cardiac surgery and associate dean for postdoctoral affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. In his deanship capacity, Dr. Watkins was legendary as a beacon of mentorship, especially for underrepresented individuals. Dr. Watkins, now deceased, was a longtime member of the AHA.

Dr. Watkins performed the first implantation of an automatic defibrillator in February 1980. Joining a team working on the device that included Michel Mirowksi, Morton Mower, and William Staewen, and assisted by Dr. Vincent Gott, the chief of cardiac surgery, Watkins performed the operation on a 57-year-old woman from California at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The defibrillator is a small, battery-powered device that detects arrhythmia in the heart and emits an electric shock to correct it. Since that operation, it has saved more than one million lives.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The individual must be from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: This includes Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. Other candidates considered a minority are those from medically underserved populations with low socio-economic status and those living in rural areas to include whites.
  • The candidate must be a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national (born in American Samoa or Swains Island), or a U.S. permanent resident.
  • The candidate must hold an academic (or equivalent) rank below associate professor (e.g., assistant professors, instructors, postdocs, fellows and students). If the candidate is a faculty member, he or she must be within the first four years of the faculty appointment.
  • The applicant must be a member of the CVRI Council at student trainee/early career level and a member of the SNMA at the time of the application. If you need to become an AHA Professional Member, you should do so no later than one week prior to the award submission deadline due to the time needed to process the membership number. Learn more about AHA membership.
  • Each applicant for AHA council-sponsored awards, regardless of award category, is eligible to receive only one council-sponsored award per AHA conference per year. (For example, an Early Career Investigator Award finalist will not be eligible to receive a travel grant for the same meeting.)
  • Winners are not eligible to re-enter the competition in subsequent years.

How to Apply/Required Documents

Electronic submission through the Council Awards Application System is required. Hard copies of any part of the application cannot be accepted.

Your application file should contain the following documents in PDF format:

  • Curriculum vitae, including bibliography.
  • Applicant’s personal statement (no longer than one page, double-spaced), outlining the following:
    • Research interests and long-term career goals
    • How Radiology and/or Intervention within the cardiovascular field fit into the long-term goals
    • How receipt of the AHA/SNMA Levi Watkins Jr. Travel Grant will enhance future long-term goals
  • Reference letter, preferably on electronic letterhead, signed by the candidate’s supervisor or an appropriate institutional officer which includes the following:
    • Confirmation of the applicant as a student, postdoctoral fellow, or faculty within four years of appointment
    • Candidate's grounds for eligibility, including verification that he or she is part of a underrepresented racial and ethnic group as defined by the NIH and identification of the candidate's specific underrepresented racial and ethnic group.
    • Candidate’s key accomplishments to date (or other forms of demonstrated excellence/promise and recognition in the case of very junior trainees)
    • Assessment of relevant scientific attributes (intellectual curiosity, drive, critical thinking, problem-solving)
    • Potential for future success as a competitive investigator/scholar

Visit the Council Awards & Fellowships Application System to complete an application.

A username and password previously set up through online profile registration at Professional Heart Daily will be necessary to access the Application System. If you have not created an online profile yet, please visit Professional Heart Daily to create an online member profile before accessing the Council Awards Application System. AHA Professional Members who are creating an online profile for the first time should make sure to register using their AHA membership identification numbers.


Each winner will receive:

  • Up to 5 winners will receive a $1,000 grant to help offset costs of attending Scientific Sessions. Eligible reimbursable expenses include hotel accommodations at the conference rate, Student/Trainee early conference registration fee*, ground transportation, and 21-day advance, economy airfare to attend Scientific Sessions. Meals and are other incidentals are not covered expenses.
  • One complimentary ticket to the CVRI Reception.

*Awardees will be required to pay their registration for the meeting at the discounted early registration rate.



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