Grant Allows Morehouse School of Medicine to Focus on Improving Diversity in Biomedical Fields

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With funding from a $3 million grant from nonprofit healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) created the Undergraduate Health Sciences Academy (UHSA) to help students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta enter graduate programs in the health and biomedical fields.

The school developed UHSA in response to a growing need for underrepresented healthcare professionals in underserved urban and rural communities in Georgia.

“The program allows participants who are underrepresented in biomedical sciences to not only collaborate with our faculty and students, but to [also] join a community effort to provide culturally relevant, compassionate care,” MSM President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, said in a press release.

With a focus on advancing and ensuring the success of future diverse healthcare providers, UHSA accepts underrepresented students attending Atlanta University Center Consortium member institutions, which include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. To be eligible, students must have a declared major in science, technology, engineering, math, or art, and an expressed interest in healthcare or biomedical sciences.

The academy provides scholarships, tutoring, mentorship, and externships, as well as shadowing and research opportunities. Participants also receive assistance with graduate and professional test preparation to help ensure their success.

“Partnerships like this are not only key to helping us transform the future of healthcare and medical education,” Ronald Copeland, MD, senior vice president at Kaiser Permanente, said in a press release, “but [they also] help ensure that those who are on the front lines of community health reflect the diversity of our nation’s communities.”