Morehouse Medical College found out about $40M coronavirus grant from TV briefing

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Morehouse Medical College found out that it received $40 million for COVID-19 research while watching the White House coronavirus task force hearings Tuesday on TV.

The college told NBC News they learned they won the grant to research the disproportionate effects of the coronavirus outbreak in African American and other vulnerable communities when Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Brett Giroir announced it at the hearings.

“We found out when everyone found out — by watching the announcement on TV,” Dominic Mack, an associate professor and director of the National Center for Primary Care at the college, said. “It’s gratifying.”

The historically black college in Atlanta, which will receive $15 million of the award this year, will work with community-based organizations for the three-year project to educate and inform them of resources, including on testing, to help them combat the pandemic. The project is called the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities.

Mack told NBC News that the project hopes to ease the distrust of medical institutions among the Black community by acting as a “trusted source.”

“We know the history and we know the lack of trust is real,” he said. “But we will partner at the community level to assure we are reaching and helping the people we need to help. We are thankful to be the lead on this, but our partners in communities will be a big part of this.”

Black communities have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, according to recent research. One study from APM Research Lab determined more than 25,000 Black people died in the pandemic as of June 9, with the community having a 2.3 times higher mortality rate than white and Asian Americans.

Tags Atlanta Black communities Coronavirus COVID-19 Department of Health and Human Services Georgia grant Morehouse College Pandemic White House coronavirus task force

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