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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Commits $46M to Support Historically Black Medical Schools

NEW YORK — The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) said on Monday that it has committed $46 million over the next five years to support genomics research at four historically Black medical colleges (HBMCs) in the US.

Recipients of the money include Charles Drew University College of Medicine in Los Angeles; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C.; Meharry Medical College in Nashville; and the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Each institute will receive a total of $11.5 million under the initiative — dubbed Accelerate Precision Health — which will be used to expand research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students. The funds will also help support the creation of a new master of science program in genetic counseling, support recruitment of anchor faculty in genomics, and fund state-of-the-art tools for data handling, storage, and analysis, among other things.

"It's important to underscore that for Black Americans, there is a large gap between representation and need in genomics research, and the time is now to support the intersection of genomics and health differences research that will advance science," Hannah Valantine, senior science adviser at CZI, said in a statement. "Actively engaging HBMCs and the communities they serve in genomics research is a necessary approach to harness new perspectives that will fuel creative interdisciplinary research, unleash innovations that have yet to be conceived, and accelerate precision health equity."

The Accelerate Precision Health funding is part of a broader $500 million program CZI launched in late 2020 to support organizations advancing racial equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.

In December 2021, CZI awarded $2 million to Agency for Science, Technology, and Research's Genome Institute of Singapore to help with its efforts to build a map of immune cells across Asian populations.