Meharrians comment on the Bloomberg gift

“This is a momentous day for Meharry Medical College, our students and the people we serve. We could not be more honored to receive this gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies or more excited about what it means for the future of minority health care for generations to come.

“Graduates of Meharry overwhelmingly choose to go into primary care so that they can make the largest impact on their communities. But primary care, particularly in rural areas, does not provide the same level of financial security as other medical specialties. This transformative gift will significantly ease the burden of debt for our students, allowing them to make decisions about where and how they practice based on their passion, not a paycheck.”

James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D, M.D.
President and CEO
Meharry Medical College

“I have an attitude of gratitude as it relates to this act of kindness from Bloomberg Philanthropies. I understand first hand what the educational debt burden is like and how it can alter the path of a student. To have significant relief from some of that is a gamechanger and will allow students to make choices that perhaps otherwise would not be possible. It helps them, but ultimately helps generations to come. This will allow folks to go from mediocrity to a place of substance and significance, not just for them but for their children and their children’s children. This represents what so often has been missing — the ability to attain and maintain wealth. We see this in a disparate way in the African-American community.”

Nelson L Adams III, M.D.
Board Chairman
Physician/President and CEO
Metro Miami OB-GYN Associates
Miami, Florida

“What’s so special at Meharry and other minority institutions is a concerted effort to focus on the community we serve and our students. In majority institutions, focus is often on building the brand — technology, innovation, research or some other highly specialized clinical intervention — which help build the brand, the visibility of the institution and raise philanthropy. That is significant and benefits us all, but it does often leave behind the community where these institutions are located and gives those people very little voice. This gift is different. It is a robust endowment of furthering the next generation of clinicians and physicians that is most likely to serve these underserved communities. This begins the strategic direction of the institution with these communities in mind.

“As African Americans, we are resilient. It’s how we have survived. But resilience requires sustenance, because it’s not without need or nourishment. This is nourishment. It will provide sustenance to even the most resilient of our young people so they can go on to serve their communities — our community. It removes some stressors and taps into their creativities in new ways.

“We need both of these kinds of institutions — majority and minority. But there are some things that are so unique about HBCU medical schools because of their commitment to the community and the next generation. We need them.”

Jeannette South-Paul, M.D.
Board Member
Physician/Professor and Chair
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“A gift like this is unprecedented for Meharry — it’s the largest we’ve ever received. As the chair of institutional advancement, I’m keenly aware of the need for a gift like this — especially in the early days of the silent phase of our current campaign. Our primary concern is the amount of debt our students leave Meharry with, especially as they are borrowing money for both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. This will be spectacular for our students as they move into their careers.”

Mr. James Williams
Board Member
Retired-Executive Vice President, Turner Corp.
Lithonia, Georgia

“This is by far the largest singular grant that Meharry has ever received as far as I know, and that it will be used to support our medical students makes it extra special for this group of students who have committed to serve the underserved of the country. I congratulate our president and the other three HBCU medical school presidents for their foresight and dedication. Thank you, Mr. Bloomberg!”

Henry A. Moses, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Executive Director
Meharry National Alumni Association, Inc.

“We are extremely grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their recognition of the need for more Black doctors across our country. A major gift like this shines a light on the significant gaps within our health care system and the need for widespread support and investment in the institutions and individuals who will help reduce these disparities. For years to come, Meharrians will mark this day as a historic moment for our college, when our work was broadly recognized for its impact on the greater world.”

Patrick H. Johnson
Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Meharry Medical College