The Adventist HealthCare Lucy Byard Scholarship

The Lucy Byard Scholarship was created to honor the legacy of Lucy Byard and to reaffirm Adventist HealthCare’s commitment to treat all people with respect and dignity. The scholarship will provide needed funding to gifted nursing students of limited financial means. In this way, Adventist HealthCare will contribute to the greater effort to close the health-disparities and economic-inequity gaps among people of color. Adventist HealthCare advances efforts to ensure equity in educational opportunity that prepares students for success in school, work and life.

About the Scholarship

The Lucy Byard Scholarship is a needs-based and merit scholarship for outstanding and qualified students. All qualified candidates are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to people of color pursuing undergraduate nursing education.

Application Deadline

In this inaugural year, The Lucy Byard Scholarship will be accepting applications from January 1 – April 29. In subsequent years, applications will be accepted November 1 – March 31. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

Application Requirements

Prior to initiating an application, please review the application requirements, eligibility criteria and deadlines. All applicants must have:

  • Successfully completed, or are completing, your sophomore year at an accredited bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program in the United States
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Family income threshold of $70,000 or less -- proof of financial eligibility is required. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves that purpose. That form can be found by visiting

Submit a Personal Profile, which includes:

  • Cover letter
  • Copy of official school transcript
  • Essay, 800-1000 words, to include: Tell us your story. Why do you want to be a nurse? What drives you? What are your values? Include personal experiences that led you to nursing, challenges you’ve overcome along the way, and how nursing will help you be the person you want to be.
  • Two recommendations required:
    • Nursing professor/instructor
    • Personal recommendation. Can be clergy, community leader, teacher, or former employer. No family members.

Choose references who have firsthand experience with the quality of your work and professionalism. Get permission to share their contact information and let them know we will contact them by email or phone.

Please provide the following contact information for those providing recommendations: name, title/position, address, email address and phone numbers.

Scholarship Award Notification

Scholarship recipients will be notified by email and personal phone call in early May.

Scholarship Application

All applications must be submitted online to be considered for the award of The Lucy Byard Scholarship.

Apply Online

How You Can Help

Support this important initiative by making a donation to help provide needed funding to gifted nursing students of limited financial means.


Nursing School Partners

All qualified nursing students are welcome to apply. In this inaugural year, Adventist Health Care is working with three universities to identify scholarship candidates.

Howard University logo

Oakwood University logo

Washington Adventist University logo


Contact Us

For additional information regarding the Lucy Byard Scholarship, or how to use the online portal, please contact us at

Lucy Byard portrait unveiling

The Lucy Byard Story

Lucy Byard portraitLucy Byard was a devout Seventh-day Adventist woman who, by 1943, had developed liver cancer together with cachexia, known also as “wasting disease.” Wishing to be treated in a Seventh-day Adventist hospital, Byard traveled with her husband, James, from her home in Jamaica, Long Island, to Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park.

Upon Lucy’s arrival, it was determined that because of the color of Lucy’s skin, she could not receive the care she needed at Washington Sanitarium, and arrangements were made to have her transferred to Freedmen's Hospital, approximately six miles away.

Story Continued

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Lucy Byard Scholarship?

The Adventist HealthCare Lucy Byard Scholarship will provide funding to students of limited financial means who have demonstrated that they have the skills, scholarship, character and commitment necessary to complete a rigorous nursing program. The scholarship was established by Adventist HealthCare to acknowledge and honor the life of Lucy Byard and to recognize the mistreatment she experienced at an Adventist healthcare facility because she was a person of color. The launch of a scholarship in her name reaffirms Adventist HealthCare’s commitment to treat all people with respect and dignity.

Who was Lucy Byard?

Lucy Byard was an African-American women who converted to Adventism in her mid-twenties. She was a beloved, active member of her New York City congregation, and devoted to the teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Mrs. Byard died of liver cancer in 1943 at Freedman Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, after being turned away from the Adventist-owned Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park due to prevailing Maryland segregation laws. That incident and the protests from Black and other members of the Adventist church is said to have led to a reevaluation within the church of its treatment of Blacks in the church and within Adventist institutions.

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How many scholarships and how much money will be awarded through this program?

In its inaugural year, 2022, Adventist HealthCare will award scholarships to three qualified applicants currently in their second year in a nursing track, about to start the clinical portion of their program. Three students will receive $20,000 for each of their last two years of nursing school. In 2022, a total of $60,000 will be awarded.

Will the scholarship be available in future years?

Yes, Adventist HealthCare is funding the program for its first five years at $500,000, with the intent to establish an endowment to fund the program into the future.

How will students learn about the scholarship?

In its inaugural year, 2022, Adventist HealthCare is working with three Universities with established nursing programs: Washington Adventist, MD, Oakwood University, AL, and Howard University, Washington, D.C. The Deans of Nursing at these universities are aware of the scholarship and will have available to them information about the scholarship and the application process to provide to interested students.

Is the scholarship closed?

No. Any interested second-year student who meets the academic and financial criteria from any qualified nursing program is welcome to apply. Adventist HealthCare is choosing to work with the colleges named above in this first year of the program to identify any barriers to success before rolling out on a wider scale.

What is the application process?

The application for the Lucy Byard Scholarship is completed online.

Students are asked to complete the application and to upload a cover letter, grade transcripts, a personal essay, letters of recommendation and proof of financial need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be used for this purpose.

When can a student apply?

In the inaugural year, 2022, the application process will be activated on or around January 1, 2022. In subsequent years, the application process will begin on November 1 and be open until March 31 of the following year.

When will the scholarship be awarded and how will recipients be notified?

Scholarships will be awarded on or about May 1st of each award year. Recipients will be notified by telephone and will receive written confirmation.

How will scholarship recipients be selected?

Adventist HealthCare has established a selection committee that includes professionals holding the following positions:

  • Nursing Director
  • Nursing Residency Recruiter
  • AHC Executive
  • AHC Foundation member
  • HR Director
  • Lucy Byard Advisory Committee Member
  • Mission Vice President

Will scholarship recipients be required to work at Adventist HealthCare?

No. The scholarship comes with no strings attached other than the requirement that students maintain academic standing and fully participate in the nursing program clinicals and other activities. Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to participate in a nursing internship program at one of Adventist HealthCare’s facilities. Recipients who successfully complete their nursing program, will be invited to apply for open positions with the Nurse Residency Program at any Adventist HealthCare facility.