A Definitive Step Forward | ABC and Partners Applaud $100 Million Gift to Historically Black Medical Schools

Joint Statement

September 4, 2020


On September 3, 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies took a definitive step forward in the support of Black communities, education of Black professionals and elimination of health disparities. Four Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCU) schools of medicine collectively received a $100 million investment. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine in Los Angeles, Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, will use this investment to educate hundreds of medical students free of the burden of debt, AND transform the health of the next generation. According to the New York Times, the data-driven Mr. Bloomberg and his team were convinced by statistics showing that Black doctors help provide better health outcomes for Black patients and are more likely to work in underserved communities. The Bloomberg endowment follows other recent major investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the United Negro College Fund, including gifts from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin, and novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ magnanimous investment is applauded by leading voices in medicine:

Association of Black Cardiologists:
Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, Chair of the Board of the Association of Black Cardiologists and Professor of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine states, “Helping medical students graduate with less debt, opens up new opportunities for them to serve the community as practicing physicians, biomedical scientists and educators. HBCU medical schools are driven to nurture these students, many from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Association of Black Cardiologists looks forward to welcoming these graduates who will become cardiologists and join the ABC in ‘Saving the Hearts and Minds of a Diverse America.’”

The W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute
Randall Morgan, MD, Executive Director, The W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute states, “We applaud the timely and historic gift from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to the four HBCU medical schools in the United States. The successful graduation of Black and Brown medical students without excessive debt is the most effective way to end the health inequities that have been present in America for over 400 years”.

American College of Cardiology (ACC)
ACC President Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, states: “A diverse medical profession is critical to meeting the needs of all patients and a key strategic priority for the American College of Cardiology. The unprecedented $100 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies to HBCU medical schools will have a profound impact on diversity within medicine and reducing health disparities.”

American Heart Association (AHA)
“The American Heart Association is on a relentless mission to improve the health of all Americans and has adopted an unwavering position to eliminate health disparities,” said Mitchell S. V. Elkind, M.D., MS, FAHA, FAAN, president of the American Heart Association and attending neurologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “This transcendent investment in HBCU medical schools by Bloomberg Philanthropies accelerates our quest to achieve health equity.”

The Association for Academic Minority Physicians (AAMP)
Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP, Executive Director of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians and Dean Emeritus of the University of Maryland School of Medicine said “AAMP applauds this path breaking action by the Bloomberg Philanthropies. The lack of funding for medical education and training is one of the prime reasons that black and brown diversity is so lacking in clinical medicine and biomedical research. Eliminating Healthcare Disparities and providing appropriate healthcare for all is dependent upon having a diverse clinical workforce, engaging in broad community research and making well sourced policy decisions for our nation.”

National Medical Association
“Cross-sector investment in African American serving institutions is a key to ending the Slave Health Deficit,” says Leon McDougle, President of the National Medical Association.

National Minority Quality Forum
Gary Puckrein, PhD, President & CEO states, “The National Minority Quality Forum believes that reduction of patient risk by assuring optimal care for all must be the operating principle of the American health services research, delivery and financing system. We applaud the investment in HBCU medical schools by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which exemplifies both the thought and deed required to assure a delivery system that is responsive to the full diversity of the American general population.”

This investment matters. COVID19 has revealed the great health disparities in our nation. Never before has an investment such as this been so timely and so needed. The thousands of physicians, health professionals and administrative executives, millions of volunteers and millions more patients represented by these organizations collectively lift their voices to offer a humble statement of thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies.