Black History Month 2024

Artwork featuring portraits of innovators in the field of health and science on a brick wall with the words, Celebrating Black Excellence in Health and Science etched into the wall.

A Message from the Strategist

Each February, the nation honors Black History Month. I invite you to embark on a journey of discovery and appreciation as NIH celebrates “Black Excellence in Health and Science.” We will spotlight the remarkable contributions of Black Americans in health care and science and aim to inspire future generations of medical professionals to continue breaking barriers and making a difference in these fields.

American history is replete with Black doctors, nurses, researchers, and health care pioneers who have played pivotal roles in advancing medicine and science by dismantling barriers, fostering creative discoveries, and expanding the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences. Their dedication and innovation have saved lives, transformed the industry, and paved the way for a brighter, more equitable future.

Join us as we pay tribute to their legacies, recognize present-day champions across health care, and give hope to generations to come. Throughout the month, you will have the chance to participate in a series of events, share inspiring stories, and engage in discussions that celebrate the remarkable achievements of Black Americans in health care and science.

Kiana Atkins

Kiana Atkins
Principal Strategist
Black Employment Portfolio

A Message from Leadership

Dear Colleagues,

This month, we invite you to join the NIH community as we honor Black History Month by acknowledging the community’s contributions, achievements, and inspiring stories. NIH’s theme “Black Excellence in Health and Science” is derived from this year’s national theme, which celebrates the incredible accomplishments of Black American scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses, and medical professionals. Their work has been instrumental in advancing the medical field and enriching our perspectives on health and science.

On February 7, the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) will host an enlightening webinar that features Cheryl Walker-McGill, M.D., the Executive Producer of the acclaimed documentary “Someone Else’s Shoes.” Attendees can expect an engaging experience that aims to highlight the experiences and contributions of Black American medical professionals.

On February 13, discover invaluable tools for early career professionals during a fireside chat Resolute Paths: Strategies for Navigating Scientific Careers. This event will feature Lola Olufemi, Ph.D., Senior Portfolio Manager, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Office of Technology Transfer, and Beverly Watkins, Ph.D., Scientific Diversity Officer, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives. The Principal Strategist for the Black Employment Portfolio, Kiana Atkins, will moderate this informative fireside chat.

Let us recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans in science and medicine as their achievements have contributed to our collective advancement to improve health, revolutionize science, and serve society.

Please visit EDI’s website, subscribe to our blog, follow EDI on LinkedIn and X, and watch EDI’s YouTube channel to stay informed on the exciting things that are happening this month and throughout the year.


Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.

Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health

Kevin D. Williams, Esq.

Kevin D. Williams, Esq.
Director, EDI


"Someone Else’s Shoes," Featuring Dr. Cheryl Walker-McGill

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST

Resolute Paths: Strategies for Navigating Scientific Careers

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST

60 Years Later: Honoring Black Trailblazers in Health and Science at NIH

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 | 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.
— George Washington Carver

About the Artwork

Our 2024 Black History Month campaign artwork celebrates the legacy of Black trailblazers in health and science. We pay homage to leaders of the past, present, and future, such as Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan, Dr. Leonidas H. Berry, Dr. Patricia E. Bath, Dr. Alexa Canady, and Dr. Kristy Carter. This month’s artwork features portraits of these iconic history-makers in a textured mural style to symbolize their significance and lasting impact on the fields of health and science.

Commonly used to express historical and cultural identity, murals also seek to inspire onlookers who may hope to someday etch their names in history like the white writing found on our campaign wall. The colors used throughout our graphic are the traditional colors of Black History Month, which are black, red, green, and yellow.