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CVRI/SNMA Levi Watkins Jr. Travel Grant

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

Award Application Window: April 17–Aug. 20, 2019 at 11 p.m. (Central Time)

The Council on Cardiovascular Radiology & Intervention (CVRI) and Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is offering up to 5 winners $1000 travel grants to honor promising minority 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 minority or 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 candidate must be an underrepresented minority by the standard NIH definition: He or she belongs to a minority group underrepresented in in cardiovascular radiology and/or intervention research, based on their minority group's representation in the total population. 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 August 1st due to the time needed to process the membership number required on your award application form. Learn more about AHA membership

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 and statement of the applicant's specific minority status
    • 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 $1000 grant to help offset costs of attending Scientific Sessions. Eligible reimbursable expenses include hotel at the conference rate, ground transportation, and 21-day advance, economy airfare to attend Scientific Sessions. Conference registration. Meals are other incidentals are not covered;
  • One complimentary ticket to the CVRI Reception.

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