by Dana Givens – The spread of COVID-19 has severely impacted marginalized and underserved communities. In numerous cities like New Orleans and Milwaukee, Black neighborhoods saw increasingly high rates of cases due to pre-existing conditions and a lingering history of racial discrimination in the medical field. Due to this public health crisis, many organizations have pledged resources and dollars to help the Black community fight the pandemic and now Morehouse College can step up their efforts with the help of a new grant.
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) selected the Morehouse School of Medicine as the recipients of a $40 million initiative to combat the coronavirus outbreak in vulnerable communities. The prestigious HBCU will enter into an agreement with OMH to coordinate a network of national, state, and local organizations to deliver COVID-19-related information to marginalized communities across the country.
“The Trump administration has made it a priority to support and empower Americans who have been most impacted by COVID-19, including minority, rural, and socially vulnerable communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a press statement. “This new partnership between the Morehouse School of Medicine and our Office of Minority Health will work with trusted community organizations to bring information on COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and other services to the Americans who need it.”
The award is a part of the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NIMIC), a three-year project designed to work alongside community organizations around the country to spread information and valuable resources related to COVID-19 ranging from testing to social services to help those hardest hit.
Through the initiative, titled the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NIMIC), the Atlanta-based HBCU will work with community organizations across the nation to deliver education and information on resources to help fight the pandemic over the next three years. The goal is to help communities of color gain access to COVID-19 testing, healthcare, and social services. The project will also work to share and implement effective response, recovery, and resilience strategies.
“Underlying social determinants of health and disparate burdens of chronic medical conditions are contributing to worse COVID-19-related outcomes in minority and socially vulnerable communities, and this partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine is essential to improving our overall response,” said Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D in a press statement.
“We’ve made important strides over the past few months in fighting the pandemic, and with Morehouse School of Medicine as our partner, we are ready to advance our efforts to support our most affected communities.”