Meharry Proposes Consortium of HBCU Med Schools to Tackle COVID-19’s Uneven Toll – Higher Education

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Dr. James E.K. Hildredth, the president of Meharry Medical College, said a consortium of Black medical schools is the best way to tackle covid-19’s impact on Black Americans.

With covid-19 disproportionately ravaging America’s Black communities, Dr. James E.K. Hildredth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, said a consortium of the country’s four Black medical schools is the best way to tackle the virus’ impact, Diverse Education reported.

During testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, Hildredth said the four historically Black schools were “uniquely qualified to address the healthcare needs of people of color during the current pandemic” the report stated.

“Crucially, Meharry and Meharrians are trusted in the communities we serve, which have a history of abuse at the hands of America’s medical establishment,” Hildredth said. “We understand the subtle, yet critical cultural differences that have long been overlooked by mainstream providers, creating deep fear and distrust. The same is true for our sister HBCU medical schools.”

In addition to Meharry, Hildredth said the consortium would include: Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia; and Charles R. Drew Medical School in Los Angeles, California.

In order to effectively “join the fight” Hildredth said the HBCUs would need funding. He asked Congress to invest $5 billion over five years into the consortium to do the critical work of caring for Black lives.

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Having held prior posts at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the University of California, Hildredth said he knows firsthand those schools received federal funding because they were “believed to be well-suited” to address critical needs, the report said.

He maintained that Black medical professionals are best suited to tackle health crises in the Black community.

“We can deploy quickly, we know where to go, and we will be welcomed,” Hildreth said.