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HBCU scholarships will help fight against health care disparities

HBCU scholarships will help fight against health care disparities
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare continue to be a serious problem plaguing rural and poor communities.

Many times, people living there are left with little to no help because of their zip code.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Novartis, a leading global medicines company, is offering millions to Historically Black Colleges to help the next generation of leaders in health, business and social equity related fields improve those conditions.

“Healthcare disparities are real,” said Jackson State President Thomas Hudson. “They are impactful and they are a big issue within Mississippi.”

Hudson says it concerns him how poor and rural communities suffer due to the lack of insurance and access to quality health care.

“I understand the difficulty in trying to serve communities where you don’t have the hospitals, you don’t have the clinics, and you do have to start up on your own in a lot of instances. And you really don’t have the opportunity.”

Hudson says education and funding are key to helping erase racial and ethnic disparities in those affected areas and communities of color.

That’s why he is excited about the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Novartis US Foundation’s new 10-year, $20 million collaboration to provide scholarships, mentorships and grants to students and faculty at Historically Black Colleges, Universities and Medical Schools.

“Part of the issue is having people go back,” he said. “Those medical professionals who are your doctors, your nurse practitioners, your therapists going back to those underserved areas to really serve those in the community. Jackson State wants to be a part of that, we want to be a part of the solution to really address those healthcare disparities.”

Thurgood Marshall College Fund president & CEO Harry L. Williams says JSU is one of more than two dozen schools eligible to take advantage of this free money.

“Close to 400 students will receive scholarships here in this initiative over a 10-year period,” Williams said. “Also, 1,200 students will be able to participate in mentoring and internships opportunities with Novartis, a major cooperation. In addition to that, 90 faculty members will have an opportunity to apply for $25,000 grants to support their research that is going to impact policy in a way that is very significant and very intentional.”

Through this partnership, Williams hopes this 10-year commitment will provide access to high quality education and professional development for future leaders in health science, technology, and business-related fields.

“It is important to have African-American doctors in our community to help address some of the challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis. The goal is to get these young people to go back home, go back in the community and lift their community up.”

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