Billionaire businessman and former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has pledged $100 million in donations to medical schools at four historically Black colleges and universities over the next four years.
The donations from the former New York City mayor will be used to provide up to $100,000 in scholarships for medical students currently enrolled and receiving financial aid at Meharry Medical College Nashville; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
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In an op-ed for CNN titled “To save Black lives, we need more Black doctors,” Bloomberg said one of the reasons African Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 is because of inequitable health care.
“Black patients overall have better outcomes when they are treated by Black doctors,” he wrote. “A wealth of data supports this, including a recent study that found Black newborns treated by Black physicians had higher rates of survival.”
The article goes on to state that while African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, only 5 percent of practicing medical doctors are Black.
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In a statement, Howard University said it will receive $32.8 million, the largest single donation specifically earmarked for its medical school. Meharry Medical College will receive $34 million, Morehouse School of Medicine is getting $26.3 million, and Charles R. Drew will receive $7.7 million.
“It will help to relieve the crushing burden of medical school student debt for low-income students, particularly those who embody the CDU Mission and wish to set up a practice in medically under-resourced communities of color,” Charles R. Drew’s President and CEO, Dr. David M. Carlisle, said in a press release.
Bloomberg’s announcement comes just four weeks after philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $1.7 billion of her fortune to a variety of organizations, including the HBCUs Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Tuskegee University, and Xavier University.