Howard University College of Medicine has received a $1.59 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative to expand their mobile unit vaccine operations.
The school’s mobile units reach the most vulnerable and work with trusted partners, such as the District of Columbia Department of Health, to set up temporary vaccination sites.
According to the CDC, the Black community has the lowest vaccination rates among any ethnic group and is being vaccinated at a rate three times lower than white Americans. CDC figures show that just 5.4% of people who have received the first dose of the vaccine are Black people, compared to 60% who are white people. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 35% of Black Americans said they don’t plan to get the vaccine.
The support from Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide mobile medical unit upgrades, paid staffing for the units, medical supplies, and increase outreach to the community.
Howard University has vaccinated more than 25,000 people since December 2020.
The first investment of the initiative, made last September during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a $100 million gift to the nation’s four historically Black medical schools, of which Howard University received $32.8 million, the largest donation to the College of Medicine in its history. The $100 million gift helps alleviate the debt burden of approximately 800 Black medical students.
Studies have shown that Black patients have better health outcomes when cared for by Black doctors.
“I am immensely grateful for the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative.” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “Howard University plays an outsized role in caring for the Black community in Washington, D.C. While this is always the case, it has been especially true during the pandemic. We have already vaccinated more than 25,000 people locally, but there are still many more who have struggled to access the vaccine and continue to be at greater risk. By helping fund our mobile unit, Bloomberg will enable us to vaccinate more of the Black community, a critical step in mitigating the effects of a devastating virus that has disproportionately affected African-American individuals.”