Washington, Jan. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Novartis, a leading global medicines company, announced the opening of applications for the Novartis US Foundation HBCU Scholarship, designed to reduce financial barriers for students and equip the next generation of leaders in health, business and social equity related fields. Novartis has committed $20 million over 10 years to TMCF, which represents America’s publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs).

The Novartis US Foundation HBCU Scholarship, which builds off of the Novartis Beacon of Hope pledge, is part of a larger mission to address health inequity and support the economic and educational positions of Black Americans and communities of color. Twenty-six (26) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Medical Schools will participate in this one-of-its-kind partnership, which was introduced in 2021.

In addition to the scholarship awards, of up to $10,000 a year for up to 360 students, Novartis Fellows will receive access to training and professional development experiences, and real-world skill application. Additionally, 10 competitive faculty research grants of $25,000 a year will be offered to HBCU faculty, totaling up to 90 grants over nine years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the inequities faced by Black Americans into sharp focus. Recent data shows that higher COVID-19 rates and deaths in predominantly Black counties are linked to social conditions and structural racism, not underlying health conditions.

“While the world has focused on the numbers of COVID-19 positive infections and deaths, many have ignored the long-term educational and economic impacts of the pandemic – especially for Black Americans,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO, TMCF. “Although there has been attention to the great disparities of Black Americans contracting COVID-19, and the higher death rates for Black Americans than for other racial groups, this community will be living with COVID-19 impacts for the next two decades in economic, educational, and health outcomes.”

Health inequity extends to Black and African American underrepresentation across medical systems as well – not just among clinical trial participants but also among medical school students, physicians, and clinical trial investigators. In 2019, Black and African Americans comprised 13.4% of the US population but only 6.2% of medical school graduates, 5% of practicing physicians, and an even smaller proportion of clinical trial investigators.

“Too often, students with incredible academic promise and achievement are locked out of opportunities due to cost and lack of access,” said Marion Brooks, Vice President and US Country Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Novartis. “We are committed to helping students access life-changing opportunities. The Novartis US Foundation HBCU Scholarship is one of those avenues that serves as a tremendous resource to ensure exceptionally talented students with financial need have the opportunities to succeed.”

For more details on the Novartis US Foundation HBCU Scholarship and the application process, which closes on Feb. 28, please visit bit.ly/NovartisScholarships.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit: www.tmcf.org.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund tmcfpress@tmcf.org