Spark Grants

Congratulations to our
Spark Grant Award recipients!

2022 Social JusticeProject Legacy

A vibrant Youth Leadership experience that offers a safe space for youth to explore and embrace transformative values: Respect, Accountability, Compassion, Community, and Resiliency while challenging the stigmas centered around mental health.

The goal is to provide intentional space for young leaders to feel safe, vulnerable, seen and heard while simultaneously providing health education around mental health topics. Led by leadership consultant, Taneyri De Jesus, the program encompasses educational workshops held twice weekly over six months. Furthermore, monthly physician-led sessions will provide education on mental illness.

The project will recruit participants from 3-4 high schools, focusing on students of color. After referral, interested participants will undergo interviews to gauge their commitment to attending all sessions. Once the participants complete the program, they will receive a $250 stipend.

Project Lead

Patricia Hernandez, MD

Project Lead

Jossie A. Carreras Tartak, MD, MBA

Project Lead

Taneyri De Jesus
(Leadership Development Consultant)


Thiago M. Oliveira, MD, MPH, DaMarcus Baymon, MD and Andrew Marshall, MD

2020 Social JusticePatient Education and Community Engagement around Cerebral Vascular Accident in Roxbury and Dorchester

A Stroke Education Campaign in Black Communities to Improve Survival and Recovery

Black Americans are at greater risk for stroke than any other race and are more likely to have a stroke at a younger age, die from stroke, and have more post-stroke disability. Compared to other races, Black Americans are even more likely to delay seeking care when having a stroke. This delay can be catastrophic, as early treatment can mean the difference between making a full recovery versus severe disability and even death.  Patient education is one of many keys to helping black communities reduce death and disability due to stroke, a condition that kills 1 out of every 5 Americans. The Spark Grant recipients for Social Justice propose a public health and patient education campaign in the majority black neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester to educate local citizens on the importance of seeking immediate care for stroke.  Through a video series, mail flyers, community outreach and a digital hub of information, project lead Mariama Runcie, MD, and collaborators hope to educate black communities to recognize the signs of stroke and seek immediate care at nearby medical facilities. This sincere effort also aims to restore Black Americans’ faith in a medical system that has traditionally underserved them, underscoring that they are welcome and deserving of state-of-the-art care.

Project Lead

Mariama Runcie MD


Alister Martin MD, MPP; Lauren Russell: PhD candidate; Benjamin Goldman: PhD candidate

2020 Social JusticeHard Candy & Fruit Snacks

A Podcast that Encourages Tough Conversations

Hard Candy & Fruit Snacks is a new podcast about race that shows audiences what can happen when two people get comfortable with getting uncomfortable. The hosts, one Black, one white, are having honest conversations most people are afraid to start. Gloria Harrison and Carrie Clifford met in elementary school through a busing program that brought Black kids from Boston’s inner city to schools in the suburbs. They have reunited to expose their shared experiences and to delve into difficult discussions about race. Through these conversations, Carrie and Gloria are realizing things they never did as children. They are sharing their opinions and feelings as they reflect on a segregated childhood, all while America grapples with its own history of racism and discrimination. These Spark Grant Recipients for Social Justice have created a brave space where a Black woman and a White woman can have open, honest conversations about privilege, disadvantage, and the lasting effects of systemic racism. They are paving a path for local and national communities to have the conversations necessary to heal our divisions.

Project Lead

Carrie Clifford, host

Project Lead

Gloria Harrison, host

Project Lead

Jayelani Hall

Faculty Support

IImoigele P. Aisiku, MD, MBA

Podcast Episodes

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