Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) has been awarded $26.3 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The donation is part of a $100 million fund for students attending the nation’s four historically Black medical schools: Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (Los Angeles), Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, D.C.), and Meharry Medical College (Nashville) over the next four years.
“This historic investment in the Morehouse School of Medicine will lift the crushing burden of student debt and empower our graduates to take on the systemic racial inequities and injustice that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine. “These dollars will help free up future doctors to immediately head to the front lines and save Black lives while also improving healthcare access, equity, and quality for everyone. We appreciate Mayor Bloomberg’s investment in health equity.”
At MSM, the funds will be used to reduce medical school loan debt for Black students currently enrolled and receiving student aid. Each student will receive approximately $100,000.
This is the largest scholarship investment ever received by MSM, as well as the largest aggregate gift to date given to historically Black medical schools from a single source.
This is also the first investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, which is named for the Tulsa, Ok., community and historical site of “Black Wall Street” and the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. The Greenwood Initiative seeks to increase generational wealth among Black families and address systemic underinvestment in Black communities and institutions.
African Americans currently represent just five percent of the physician workforce. This is due, in large part, to the high cost of completing a medical degree.
Also, studies show that Black patients tend to have better outcomes when treated by Black physicians.
“More Black doctors will mean more Black lives saved, and fewer health problems that limit economic opportunity,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, and three-term Mayor of New York City. “During my campaign for President, I proposed a bold set of policies — which we called the Greenwood Initiative — to shrink the racial wealth gap. Today’s commitment by Bloomberg Philanthropies is just the first step we will take to bring that work to life.”
Students currently in years two, three, and four of medical school will receive retroactive scholarships of roughly $25,000 per year through their graduations, with the current class of first-year students graduating in 2024.
Each institution will communicate this news to their communities in the coming days via a series of virtual forums and on-campus town halls with appropriate social distancing, mask-wearing, and other public health and sanitation protocols and testing in place.