Morehouse School of Medicine will receive a financial shot in the arm that could reduce a major side effect of earning a medical degree: loan debt.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving the historically Black medical school $26 million. The funding goes to currently enrolled students who receive financial aid. Each eligible student will get about $100,000.
“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, dean and president 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,” she said.
The gift is part of a $100 million fund being spread among the nation’s four historically Black medical schools. In addition to Morehouse School of Medicine, funds will go to 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.
“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. The former New York City mayor and presidential candidate said the fund follows a plan he proposed during his bid for the White House.
“During my campaign for president, I proposed a bold set of policies — which we called the Greenwood Initiative — to shrink the racial wealth gap,” he said. “Today’s commitment by Bloomberg Philanthropies is just the first step we will take to bring that work to life.”
The Greenwood Initiative is a nod to the Tulsa, Okla. community. It was the site of what became known as Black Wall Street. In 1921, the community was destroyed by a white mob. Thousands of people died; homes and businesses were lost.
According to Bloomberg, the Greenwood Initiative aims to increase generational wealth among Black families.
This is the largest scholarship investment Morehouse School of Medicine has ever received. It is just the latest investment Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities have gotten this summer amid the global pandemic and protests against racism.