Health and access to medical care are critical to quality of life. But, similar to shortages of clinicians and nurses in rural and/or remote areas, representation and a lack of diversity are issues continuing to merit discussion.
Enter Charles R. Drew University, a historically Black medical school which has received a $50 million grant to increase medical diversity in California. The upcoming independent four-year medical education program at CDU will begin training 60 students annually starting in fall 2023.
“This will not only enhance our attractiveness and reputation as a health professions university, but it will also help us address our mission in a very direct way by providing us the additional resources and infrastructure necessary to train the health professionals who will address the medical needs of the communities where they live and work,” said Dr. David Carlisle, CDU’s president and CEO.
If anything, the grant is a strong representation about how CDU came to exist. The school was founded in 1966 in the Watts region of Los Angeles in response to inadequate medical access. CDU is one of just four HBCU medical schools in the country along with Howard, Morehouse and Meharry.
The goal with this grant award is to increase the number of Black doctors in the state of California by over 30 percent, and Latinx graduates by 20 percent.
This is another step forward to diversity in medicine. Last month, the California Wellness Foundation awarded a $450,000 four-year grant to UC Riverside to continue their already ongoing efforts toward increasing diversity among physicians in California.
CDU is named for Charles R. Drew, an American surgeon and medical researcher. Dr. Drew is famous for applying his research to the field of blood transfusions. His doctoral thesis, “Banked Blood: A Study on Blood Preservation,” was based on an exhaustive study of blood preservation techniques. He was able to use his newly-discovered techniques for the U.S. during World War II.
Diversity is crucial, especially in medicine where the data proves that it can even save lives. We do have a category of BIPOC-related grants that can help fund initiatives connected to social justice and diversity. These kinds of funds can help to ensure that more industries are representative of the population and that more opportunities are open to more people.
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