Black Medical Schools To Receive $100 Million from Michael Bloomberg
Historically Black medical schools are getting a major boost from billionaire Michael Bloomberg. The former mayor and U.S. presidential candidate is donating $100 million to four of the institutions reported the New York Times (NYT).
Bloomberg made the announcement Thursday that it would be the first major gift from his Greenwood Initiative. Bloomberg started the philanthropic effort to help address the stark and systemic economic inequity between Black Americans and their white counterparts.
It is named after the once thriving all-Black district in Tulsa, Oklahoma which was burned to the ground by white supremacists in one of history’s worst known race riots in 1921.
According to a statement by the initiative’s program lead, Garnesha Ezediaro, the large sum is meant to serve two purposes: decrease Black medical students’ debt and enhance the Black community’s health and wellness.
“If the goal of the portfolio is to create intergenerational wealth, we have to think about the mortality and the life span of the Black community,” Ezediaro told the Times.
The schools that will receive monetary donations from Bloomberg include: Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
Bloomberg’s gift is one of the largest to be given by a single donor, according to leaders at the schools.
On its website, Bloomberg Philanthropies says of the initiative: “By reducing the debt burden of historically Black medical school students, and creating more Black doctors, this investment will help to save Black lives and reduce health problems that limit economic opportunity in Black communities.”
Bloomberg himself said he was motivated to take action after the coronavirus pandemic brought the disproportionate suffering of the Black community to his attention.
“The data is clear: Black patients over all have better outcomes when they get treatment from Black doctors,” Bloomberg wrote in an email to NYT. “By increasing the number of Black doctors, we hope the gift will help to save more Black lives and reduce the health problems that limit economic opportunity in Black communities.”
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Fellow billionaire Robert F. Smith – who famously paid off the debt for Morehouse’s entire Class of 2019’s student loan debt – thanked Bloomberg for his generosity.
“Thank you, @MikeBloomberg, for this historic & profoundly impactful investment in a new generation of Black doctors. Covid has laid bare the racial inequities that plague us. If we have more doctors who live in & understand Black communities we can fix it,” Smith tweeted.
Students graduating from any of the four institutions between 2021 and 2024 will be eligible for grants up to $100,000, the Times reported.