Three Meharry School of Medicine students selected for 2024 NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative

Nashville, Tenn. (June 25, 2024)—Meharry Medical College School of Medicine today announced that three of its students have been selected to participate in the 2024 NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. Fourth-year medical students Cara Ford, Sydney Woods and Richard Ingram, will join the program for the upcoming 2024 NFL season, pairing with the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers, respectively.


Launched in 2022, the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative is a collaborative effort between the NFL, NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS). The initiative’s primary objective is to enhance the pipeline of diverse students interested in sports medicine careers and, over time, diversify the medical staff within NFL clubs and the broader field of sports medicine.


“We are incredibly proud to once again have Meharry represented in this impactful program,” said Sonja Harris-Haywood, M.D., MS, MA, Dean of the School of Medicine. “Our participation not only highlights our students’ dedication and excellence in the field of sports medicine but also underscores Meharry’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within a vast range of medical professions.”


2024 Meharry participants in NFL sports medicine pipeline program


“It is an honor and a blessing to be a part of such an amazing program,” said Cara Ford, an orthopedics student. “Since it was announced two years ago, while finishing my first year of medical school, this has been a goal of mine. I am deeply grateful to the NFL, the Tennessee Titans and Meharry for this opportunity and their dedication to diversity. I’m eagerly looking forward to absorbing knowledge and experiences during this incredible program.”


“I am thrilled to learn from and collaborate with top sports medicine professionals,” said Sydney Woods, a sports medicine student. “The opportunity to combine my passion for sports with my commitment to medicine, gain invaluable insights into sports medicine and make a real impact on the health and performance of professional athletes is incredibly exciting.”


“I’m thankful for this opportunity to learn from the best in the business,” said Richard Ingram, orthopedics student. “To be able to apply the skills I have learned at Meharry in a real-world setting, and one as fast-paced as the Green Bay Packers, is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”
To date, nearly 50 students from diverse backgrounds have benefited from this initiative, gaining invaluable experience through one-month clinical rotations with medical staff from various NFL clubs. The 2024 program will expand on this success by matching students from the four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) medical schools and 18 other medical schools with NFL clubs, continuing to advance their career aspirations in sports medicine.


Meharry’s School of Medicine extends its heartfelt congratulations to these students and is confident that they will make significant contributions to the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. Their involvement is a testament to the college’s ongoing efforts to prepare future health care leaders who are committed to excellence, equity and service.