Morehouse School of Medicine has received a $2 million gift to establish a health research institute focused on eradicating health disparities and inequities.
The donation comes from the Kroel Family Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Morehouse College alumnus John Kroel and his wife, Donna, to support global equity and social impact. In addition, the Croells have pledged to help raise an additional $18 million toward the $20 million goal needed to launch the David Thatcher Institute for Global Health Equity.
The announcement was made during Dr. David Thatcher’s Global Health Equity Summit held at the National Center for Human and Civil Rights on Wednesday. The summit brought together global health equity leaders and experts to discuss ongoing efforts to eliminate health disparities.
The Croells made the gift in honor of Morehouse School of Medicine professor Dr. Barney Graham, the institute’s founder and first director.
Dr. Barney Graham, a clinical investigator, immunologist, and virologist, worked at the National Institutes of Health until 2021 to develop vaccines against viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus and RSV. His research on RSV also led to the development of an RSV vaccine and a vaccine against COVID-19. Graham joined Morehouse School of Medicine as a professor in May of last year.
Also on Thursday, Mr. Graham received the inaugural Dr. David Thatcher Award for his decades-long efforts to promote equity in research, particularly in vaccine development.
“We chose the Institute for Global Health Equity because, like Dr. Graham, we need to involve all brains in solving problems,” said John Croell. “If there are populations that we’re not tapping into, I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice and slowing down our own progress.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and chief executive officer of Morehouse School of Medicine. We want to move closer to a time when people can say they are achieving optimal health, both individually and collectively. ”
Montgomery Rice stated a further goal of establishing a $150 million endowment to operate the David Thatcher Institute for Global Health Equity.
Professor Montgomery Rice said the school’s current endowment is about $140 million, but about 70% of this funding is restricted to research. The $2 million gift provides an opportunity to invest without restriction in creative opportunities that align with the institute’s mission and vision, she said.
Both the summit and the institute are named in honor of Dr. David Thatcher, the only person to ever serve as both director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Surgeon General. Mr. Thatcher also served as dean of Morehouse School of Medicine from 2004 to 2006 and is the founding director of the school’s Thatcher Institute for Health Leadership.
At the summit, local and national health leaders will discuss research targeting global health disparities, the future of global health equity, the ethical implications of artificial intelligence in health, and issues related to health equity and justice. He gave a lecture on promotion. Morehouse, a global professional services firm, hosted the summit in partnership with KPMG.
“What I look forward to most about this institute is being able to meet young students and help them find their place, do their best work, and have the biggest impact possible. to see if that’s the case,” Graham said. “I want to guide and help as many students as possible.”
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