The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery

Funded by The Ray Charles Foundation

The Cedars-Sinai Department of Neurosurgery is committed to comprehensive, technologically advanced and clinically effective diagnosis and treatment of adult and pediatric neurological disorders. Along with a strong commitment to providing a wide array of educational programs, the department is proud to announce the inaugural year of The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery funded by the Ray Charles Foundation.

The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery provides a unique opportunity for one individual to spend a full year at the world-class Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, gaining valuable hands-on experience in neurosciences and learning directly from a team of neuroscience innovators at one of our research laboratories.

This program aims to promote and enhance diversity in neurosciences by emphasizing student participation from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Available areas of research include nanomedicine, Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and treatment, tumor immunology, blood-brain barrier and drug delivery, and gene therapy and discovery.

Open to undergraduate, graduate, MD and PhD students with an interest in neuroscience, The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery will:

  • Allow medical students to actively participate in clinical research and get a rare insider's view of cutting-edge neurological research in our laboratories.
  • Provide students with mentorship opportunities from an impressive roster of neuroscience researchers, including Keith L. Black, MD, neurosurgeon and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai.
  • Help students develop key relationships with fellow medical students, scientists and healthcare providers, which will contribute to their career development and professional success.
  • Give students the chance to submit their own research findings to national meetings and present if accepted.

Scholarship and Research Opportunities for Students Attending an HBCU

As a nonprofit academic health organization, Cedars-Sinai is dedicated to ensuring that the future of healthcare is in good hands. The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery was established in an effort to minimize racial and economic disparities in neuroscience research. The program recognizes Cedars-Sinai's ongoing commitment to building and sustaining excellence in its diverse academic and medical community by inviting students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to apply for a medical academic scholarship.

The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery provides a salary dependent upon the student's level of education, skills and research experience. In addition to those attending an HBCU, students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be:

  • At least 18 years of age.
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. 
  • An undergraduate (sophomore or above), graduate or medical student with an interest in furthering their education in the field of neuroscience.
  • Able to conduct research in a laboratory directed by Keith L. Black, MD, during the agreed upon time. Students must be able to provide their own travel to and from Los Angeles and their own living accommodations during the research program period.  
  • Previous awardees are eligible to apply for a subsequent year.

How to Apply

A complete application consists of the following materials: 

  1. Official Application Form
  2. Curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé 
  3. A personal statement (12 pt. font., single-spaced, no longer than one page) written by the applicant stating:
    • The applicant's long-range educational and research training goals, as well as career objectives in the field of neuroscience
    • Description of the applicant's previous accomplishments in science
    • What the applicant expects to derive from their experience working with researchers in the field of neuroscience 
  4. Two letters of reference that comment on the applicant's academic and personal qualifications for this award. The letters should be addressed to The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery Selection Committee. 
  5. Official transcripts or dean's letter of good standing for medical and graduate students

Application Format

Applications must be clearly printed in blue or black ink or typed (type size should be no smaller than 12 points in a standard font with at least one-inch margins on all sides). Additional pages may be used.  

Selection Process and Important Dates

  • Deadline for submission is January 15, 2020.
  • Applications will be reviewed, and those selected for a video interview will be notified by March 2020.
  • Notification and final selection will be made by April 2020.
  • Onboarding will start in July 2020.

Have questions or need help? For more information about The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery, contact us at