The mission of the MV3 Foundation is to build and empower a community of Black undergraduate scholars across the US who will positively impact the future of health and biomedical sciences through our 3 Pillars: Education, Service, and Advocacy.
At the MV3 Foundation, we believe that the path towards a more equitable health and biomedical science workforce relies on a concerted effort to invest in the next generation of Black leaders in health and biomedical science fields. We are building a future where access to the following resources does not determine one’s chances of successfully entering into careers in health science.
MV3 Foundation Wins Harvard Business School 2023 New Venture Competition!
“The MV3 Foundation was founded in 2020 to advance health equity by investing in the academic, personal, and professional development of Black College students in the U.S. pursuing careers in healthcare and/or biomedical science.”
- Ashley Kyalwazi, MV3 Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Ashley Kyalwazi, MV3’s Founder/CEO, is the daughter of Michael and Winnie Kyalwazi, Ugandan immigrants who came to the US seeking refuge and more opportunity than they were afforded in their home country. After working for years at a cafe chain washing dishes, Ashley’s father turned his attention towards building a small cafe that would be able to support her and her siblings’ education. Her parents worked tirelessly to establish the cafe- eventually called Cafe Le Monde. Ashley and her three siblings would grow up in this cafe, working as waiters, dishwashers, and caterers up until leaving for college and on breaks.
Having never visited the US prior to immigrating, Ashley’s parents had little prior exposure to the American health or education system. When it came time to enroll in college, much of what Ashley learned about careers in medicine stemmed from individual mentorship experiences and organizations who provided insight, resources, and most importantly- communities within which she was able to soon visualize a path through the various challenges she encountered in college (i.e. affording resources, navigating challenging academic environments as one of a handful of Black students on the pre-med track, finding professional mentors to receive career advice). Ashley’s experiences navigating challenges associated with the path to enter medicine informed her drive to design a completely free, national program that ameliorates many of these barriers.
Left: Ashley Kyalwazi, MV3 Founder/CEO and MD/MPP Candidate at Harvard Medical School. Right: Leonard Nettey, MV3 Co-Founder/COO and MD/PhD Candidate at Harvard/MIT.
Leonard Nettey, a current MD/PhD Candidate at Harvard Medical School and the MV3 Foundation's Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, also hails from a family of immigrants. His parents emigrated from Ghana for additional employment and educational opportunities. They traveled to multiple countries - spending time in the UK, in Canada, and eventually in the US - all in search of a more promising future for themselves and their children. With each move, they were supported by extended family and friends, a network that provided critical resources to aid adjustment to each country. And as his family became more established in each location, they provided the same courtesy to newer immigrants in their network.
When Leonard began his undergraduate education in biochemistry, he sought to continue this approach by spearheading efforts to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing and exceeding in STEM. At the same time, he struggled in deciding how to reconcile his own passions for medicine and research. Leonard relied on mentors during and after his undergrad years to help him explore, and eventually decide on, the journey to become a physician-scientist. And yet despite the tremendous support received from his mentors, none of them could speak personally to the challenges he would encounter while navigating his path in health sciences as a Black individual. Leonard's personal experiences reinvigorated his desire to develop programs that not only assist students in reaching their next step, but also support them throughout the rest of their journey.
Both Ashley and Leonards' stories contain many themes that are not unlike the vast majority of students working diligently across the Foundation to catalyze the early careers of the next generation of Black leaders in health and biomedical science.
MV3 is a national, grassroots community composed of hundreds of graduate students and health science professionals who believe in the necessity of investing in the next generation of Black leaders in health sciences. We provide our scholars with pivotal experiences and resources that will inform their career trajectories. But perhaps most importantly, we are a family that stands behind and beside our scholars, encouraging them to work hard, to dream big, and to always give back.