The Howard University College of Medicine has received $1.59 million from the Greenwood Initiative to establish mobile vaccination units. The funds will also go to staff a new call center that will book appointments over the phone for residents who can’t schedule online and increase vaccinations in Black and other underserved communities.
The Greenwood Initiative is a philanthropic plan by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The overarching goal of the initiative is to increase wealth accumulation for Black individuals and families in the US.
Bloomberg explained that COVID-19 has “devastated the health and economic wellbeing of many Black families,” and that one way to help fulfil their needs is to “increase equitable access to vaccines.”
“Bloomberg Philanthropies is glad to expand our partnership with America’s four historically Black medical schools as they ramp up their mobile operations and ensure that more people get their shots quickly,” he stated.
Three other historically Black medical schools have also received funding. They are Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine in Los Angeles.
Making the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible is one important way to mitigate the negative impact on health and finance that the pandemic has wrought on the Black community.
An analysis published by The New York Times shows a clear disparity between white vaccination rates and Black vaccination rates across the country. This can be attributed to many challenges, such as unreliable transportation, limited access to the internet for booking appointments, and long, inflexible working hours.
Helping Underserved Communities Grow
Last September 2020, the Howard University College of Medicine received a $32.8 million investment from Bloomberg’s initiative to support the education of Black doctors.
This was the university’s first investment from the Greenwood Initiative, part of a $100 million grant for four historically Black medical schools. It’s share was also the largest donation to the College of Medicine in its history.