Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City serving from 2002-2013, has announced his plan to donate $100 million across four different Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) medical programs as part of his Greenwood Initiative.
The schools benefiting from this donation include Howard University College of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (the only HBCU on the west coast), Morehouse College of Medicine, and Meharry Medical College.
The 800 medical students at each university will receive at least $100 million each in grants. Howard University reportedly received a $32.8 million gift while Morehouse College received $26.3 million. This is the largest donation for each of these school’s medical programs.
Bloomberg, who briefly ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 Presidential election, had this to say about his $100 million donations,
“More Black doctors will mean more Black lives saved, and fewer health problems that limit economic opportunity. 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.”
According to the Association of Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Diversity in Medicine report in 2019, only 5% of active physicians in the United States are African American. Meanwhile, studies show that black people have the highest mortality rate of any race as a result of COVID-19, as well as the highest maternal and infant mortality rate.
Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Kendrick spoke to the need for more black doctors in his statement on Michael Bloomberg’s donations,
“Healthcare disparities exist for a myriad of reasons related to systemic infrastructural issues, not the least of which is the dearth of black doctors. Black doctors with cultural competency are a major part of the solution, but their path is often hampered by a compromised financial situation. This gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies is the first stone dropped into a calm lake of opportunity and promise. The ripple effects that it will have on the lives of our students and our programs will carry on for generations.”
If we had more Black doctors, we would save more Black lives. pic.twitter.com/nclFhwaLJH
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) September 3, 2020