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Novartis partners with 26 HBCUs to invest over $37 million into healthcare equity

Novartis is donating to a number of historically Black academic institutions to help solve inequalities in healthcare and education.

The pharmaceutical company, along with Morehouse School of Medicine, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Coursera, and the National Medical Association, are investing a total of $33.7 million to the effort. The organizations, along with 26 HBCUs, colleges, and medical schools, aim to alleviate some of the distrust surrounding healthcare in communities of color. Their pledge, released today, details a series of programs that the coterie of donors and educators will launch in an effort to make progress toward ending racially unequal healthcare, which they described as “endemic.”

The pledge cites research that points to how Black Americans have a shorter life expectancy, higher mortality rates by cancer, and infant mortality rates, compared to white Americans, according to the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Minority Health.

The funds will be distributed over 10 years to start. The Novartis US Foundation plans to allocate $13.7 million of the money to three research centers at Morehouse School of Medicine, which will aim to set a standard for racially diverse clinical participants and clinical investigators. Novartis states that a lack of diversity in trials is a result of a participation “reluctance in among minority patients,” which also extends to vaccine hesitancy.

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