ATLANTA - A fund for the Morehouse School of Medicine aims at enhancing health outcomes for Black communities in Georgia.
School representatives said the $500,000 donation comes from Peach State Health Plan. The school hopes the $100,000 it'll receive annually over the next five years will only increase the number of medical students from Georgia who remain in the state after graduation to help the communities from which they came.
Studies show Black patients benefit from having Black doctors.
"They can understand the things they're going through. We call it cultural competency," Christopher Taylor with the Morehouse School of Medicine said.
The National Bureau of Economic Research finds Black men are more likely to feel comfortable with and take health advice from doctors who look like them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Black women are up to four times more likely to die before, during, or after childbirth than their counterparts.
Right now, Black doctors, only make up 5% of doctors overall.
"Morehouse School of Medicine and 3 sister historically black med schools produce 20% of all Black physicians," Taylor said.
A new half-million-dollar donation from Peach State Health Plan could make a meaningful difference in the historically Black med school's efforts to increase the number of Black doctors in Black communities.
"We wanted to make sure we weren't deciding how to spend dollars but aligning with how to improve minority health outcomes," said Taylor.
The money will help the school in a variety of ways, a representative said, including research, and student tuition.
"The average med student comes from a household of $175,000. Our students on average come from homes of $70,000 and graduate with a significant amount of debt, upwards of $300,000. Counterparts at other colleges have about $215,000 worth of debt," Taylor said.
Peach State Health Plan's CEO Wade Rakes said the inequities during the COVID crisis highlighted the need.
"Seeing that disparity among the pandemic made the Morehouse School of Medicine the perfect partner," Rakes said.
US Census data shows 31% of Georgia is black, making this investment, representatives said, will not only help Black people but also the state overall.
Morehouse School of Medicine said more than 60% of their graduates land jobs within the Peach State.
The medical school actively recruits students from every county in Georgia and focuses their attention on areas they affect minority communities such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infectious diseases.
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