Thermo Fisher supports HBCU COVID-19 testing for ‘safe return to campus’

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has committed to supporting the efforts of historically black colleges and universities in the U.S. to make COVID-19 testing available to all returning students, faculty and staff at the beginning of the fall semester.

Through an initiative called “The Just Project,” named after pioneering biologist Ernest Everett Just, Thermo Fisher plans to donate $15 million in diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies. The company will also provide technical assistance to HBCUs seeking to establish or expand their laboratories to provide regular on-campus COVID-19 testing throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Meharry Medical College will be among the first HBCUs to receive donations, along with Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton University. Their laboratories, along with those at other HBCUs expected to join the initiative, will provide COVID-19 testing for their campuses and other HBCUs across the country. HBCUs receiving these donations have committed to use the donated equipment solely to offer COVID-19 testing to HBCU faculty, staff and students at no cost.

“Collectively, HBCUs exist to further the goals and aspirations of minorities through higher education, and the mission of the country’s HBCU medical schools is to prepare future health professionals to work toward health equity across the land,” said James E. K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College. “Thermo Fisher has demonstrated its support for minority higher education and recognition that those communities in the U.S. who have been hardest hit by the pandemic are deserving of every opportunity to continue their academic perseverance.”

Fred Lowery, senior vice president and president, Life Sciences Solutions and Laboratory Products at Thermo Fisher Scientific said, “The pandemic has disproportionately affected the Black community, and historically Black colleges and universities have taken a leadership role in making testing available in order to safely reopen this fall. These schools play an important role in closing the achievement gap in America and consistently train talented STEM professionals who are invaluable to companies like ours seeking to attract top talent and build a more inclusive workplace.” Thermo Fisher has also committed to hiring at least 500 students from HBCUs over the next three years, Lowery said.

CLICK HERE for the Thermo Fisher Scientific press release.