MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many disparities in our community, especially when it comes to health.
Though there is work to be done, two organizations have joined in the efforts of closing those gaps.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Novartis are working together to attack health disparities at its core. They are targeting the medical education system.
The two organizations have partnered in a 10-year commitment to give $20 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Funds will come in the form of grants, scholarships, and mentorship programs.
More than 1,200 students are expected to be impacted by this initiative as well as faculty at these universities and colleges.
Students must attend the selected HBCU’s and pursuing a career in healthcare.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s President and CEO, Harry Williams, said the goal is to help eliminate health disparities by getting more minorities in the healthcare field.
“In the last two and a half years, some of the inequities have been put under a spotlight and you look at the COVID-19 situation,” said Williams. “On top of that, some of the social unrest that that occurred with George Florida and Briana Taylor, and again, looking at some of those disparities and recognizing that HBCUs have always been in a place where they have lift up, those that have been disenfranchised.”
The initiative also hopes to get rid of some of the financial stressors when it comes to higher education.
Williams said alleviating some of those stressors could help minority interest in medicine.
“We want to make a difference. We want to have an impact. We want to change the way things are in our community. And this is one way of doing that. So this is very, very significant. And it will change lives, it will have a direct impact on the students that will benefit from this particular scholarship program,” said Williams.