Meharry lands $7.7 million grant from TDH and CDC toward COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Meharry has landed a three-year $7.7 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in support of the College’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts for minority communities in Middle Tennessee.


The proposal will cover expenditures from April 2, 2021 through June 30, 2024 according to Dr. Duane T. Smoot, interim senior vice president for health affairs at Meharry, who formulated the budget and sought the grant. Dr. Smoot said he received notice of the grant May 20th.


The total amount of the three-year grant, including indirect costs, is $7.7 million, Dr. Smoot said, which includes $5.3 million in direct costs.


According to the grant request, “The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on America’s underserved populations has further highlighted the longstanding gaps in health outcomes that have manifested for generations. Addressing these disparities lies at the heart of Meharry School of Medicine’s mission.”


During the pandemic, Meharry Medical College focused its “strengths and resources” on the pandemic, developing a “comprehensive response aimed at mitigating immediate consequences, containing the pandemic’s scale and building for a more prepared future,” the grant request said. “In Nashville, Meharry has worked hand-in-hand with the city’s leadership to spearhead our community’s response and ensure testing, treatment and access to the COVID-19 vaccine are available to anyone who seeks it.”


Objectives of the grant include:

  • Providing educational materials to minority and underserved communities in Middle Tennessee to reduce hesitancy to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Providing COVID-19 vaccinations to minority and underserved communities in Nashville and adjacent communities in Middle Tennessee
  • Conducting a survey of people who received vaccinations to identify the frequency and types of side effects present in minority and underserved populations.