The Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta has announced a $1 million gift from Southern Company Gas and the Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation in support of its efforts to advance greater healthcare equity in the region.
Part of a $50 million commitment from Southern Company and its subsidiaries to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the gift will support efforts by the medical school to increase diversity in the medical profession, conduct research on health challenges faced by minority communities, and provide healthcare services in underserved communities — all of which play a role in reducing healthcare inequities. The gift also will be used by the school to strengthen its academic offerings and research enterprise, including construction of a Natural Products Research Center and development of an Emerging Pathogens Research Team that will focus, among other things, on coronaviruses.
According to a study led by amfAR and the Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, while African Americans comprise 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, counties with a higher black population account for more than half of all COVID-19 cases and nearly 60 percent of COVID deaths.
"Our existing virology research's success may help to establish an even larger U.S. and global structure examining emerging pathogens of all types and how we can identify and address them," said Vincent C. Bond, chair of the Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology. "Our integrative approach to health care allows us to translate the discoveries made in labs, to the bedside of patients, and then to the communities we serve."