A Major New Initiative Will Boost Genetics Research at Black Medical Schools

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) recently announced a partnership with the nation’s four historically Black medical colleges  to further support the cutting-edge scientific research they are leading to address significant gaps in genomics research, create new tools and methods to prevent and treat disease, and accelerate precision health for everyone, particularly Black people and other people of color.

Precision health accounts for differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles, and formulates treatment and prevention strategies based on their unique backgrounds and conditions. In contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, precision health is used to more accurately predict what type of care for a particular disease will work in which populations of people, and is crucial to improve health outcomes for all.

Under the Accelerate Precision Health initiative, each of the four historically Black medical colleges – the Charles Drew University College of Medicine in Los Angeles, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta – will receive $11.5 million in funding over the next five years. Through the partnership, the medical colleges will be able to expand research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students; support the creation of a new master’s degree program in genetic counseling; support recruitment of anchor faculty in genomics; and fund state-of-the-art tools for data handling, storage, and analysis, among other elements.

“The Howard University College of Medicine and other HBCU medical schools play a critical role as leaders in advanced medical research, resulting in significant improvements in health outcomes for African Americans and other people of color,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “The new Accelerate Precision Health program supports our efforts to greatly accelerate scientific knowledge in genomics and fill gaps in health disparities research in the field.

A video about the initiative may be viewed below.

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