Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Historically Black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, received a pledge from Terri L. Anderson, president of Anderson Development and Construction, to match alumni contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $150,000. The donation marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the college. “My parents, grandparents, and numerous extended family members were educated at Wiley College dating back as early as the late 1920s,” Anderson said. “That education provided the Christian foundation for my family’s success for generations at a time when there were few options for us to receive college degrees from primarily White institutions.”

The University of Pennsylvania has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore how people view others who change their racial identity based on results from at-home DNA kits. Sociologist Wendy Roth plans to conduct an experiment where 9,000 participants will view profiles of fictional individuals describing their experience taking a DNA test and their newly formed racial identities stemming from those test results. The individuals’ race and profile photo will also vary. “When I started interviewing people who’d taken genetic ancestry tests and found that many of them changed their racial identity based on their test results, I wondered if this might change how we understand race in our society,” Dr. Roth said.

Historically Black Delaware State University has received a five-year, $18.36 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health that will support the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Health Equity Research Center on campus. This is the largest research grant ever awarded to Delaware State University in its 131-year history. The center will bring together a group of interdisciplinary faculty researchers, some focused on investigating the social and behavioral determinants of health and others using biomedical approaches to study the health conditions that have a disparate impact on underserved populations.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the historically Black educational institution in Greensboro, received a two-year, $1,075,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the university’s Preparing Future Minority Ph.D. Researcher Bridge to the Doctorate program. The goal is to increase the quantity and quality of STEM graduate students from underrepresented populations, with emphasis on Ph.D. matriculation and completion.

The University of Denver received a $700,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study racial disparities in pain care. Researcher will ask pain-care providers from across the U.S. to evaluate hypothetical scenarios with patients of different races. They will then use the simulation center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to immerse medical students in a faux emergency room scenario, during which they’ll interact with hypothetical patients of different races who are experiencing pain. The goal of the research is to understand exactly where certain biases exist in order to recommend better intervention strategies to medical schools. These strategies can vary from creating less White-centric textbooks to exposing medical students to more racially diverse environments during their training.


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