Story at a glance

  • The grants will provide funding for staff, lab equipment, supplies, test kits, training and lab capacity for rapid test processing.
  • The HBCU hubs will process tests of their students, faculty and staff as well as from surrounding HBCUs.
  • The Gates Foundation notes that HBCUs are facing a “double risk,” as Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and colleges are experiencing surges in cases.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving millions of dollars to 10 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to bolster on-campus COVID-19 testing. 

The Gates Foundation on Tuesday announced it will provide a series of three-year grants totaling $15 million to outfit HBCUs to be testing hubs capable of processing coronavirus tests that are also administered at other HBCUs in their regions. 


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As of Tuesday, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Xavier University of Louisiana have all joined as testing hubs with additional colleges and universities to be added over the coming weeks. 

The grants will provide funding for staff, lab equipment, supplies, test kits, training and lab capacity for rapid test processing. The HBCU hubs will process tests of their students, faculty and staff as well as from surrounding HBCUs. 

“Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Today, we’re announcing $15 million in grants to bolster diagnostic testing infrastructure put in place by HBCU leaders to keep students, faculty & communities safe,” Allan Golston, president of the United States Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said on Twitter Tuesday. 

Earlier this month, the lab equipment company Thermo Fisher Scientific donated $25 million in diagnostic instruments and test kits to eight HBCUs as part of The Just Project. 

The Gates Foundation notes that HBCUs are facing a “double risk,” as Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and colleges are experiencing surges in cases. 

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed stark racial disparities in the U.S. health care system, as Black people are about 4.7 times more likely to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 compared to white people and about twice as likely to die.


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Published on Oct 14, 2020