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.

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee, has been awarded a two-year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for s project entitled “Reducing Disparity in Receipt of Mother’s Own Milk in Very Low Birth Weight Infants: An Economic Intervention to Improve Adherence to Sustained Maternal Breast Pump Use.” Black mothers are disproportionately more likely to give birth to very-low-weight infants than non-Black mothers, but significantly less likely to feed their infants with their own milk from birth until their infants are discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which increases their infants’ risks of lifelong health problems. Prior research has shown that maternal matriarchs of Black mothers may negatively influence milk provision by Black mothers. Stephanie Devane-Johnson, an associate professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University. will conduct interviews to determine the social and cultural factors that influence the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs regarding the provision of milk in the NICU setting.

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has received a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will boost efforts to address the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering faculty positions at the university. The funds will be used to Increase the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and tenure of women STEM faculty, particularly women of color and to improve the departmental climate to enhance inclusivity.

Historically Black Fisk University in Nashville and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture have received a two-year, $120,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to digitize and combine two historical archives of the papers of Arturo Schomburg, one that is housed at the university and the other at the New York Public Library.

Johnson C. Smith University, the historically Black educational institution in Charlotte, received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for programs to educate the next generation of STEM professionals who have a comprehensive knowledge of dealing with natural disasters. The grant will fund several programs including undergraduate research mentorships, a summer undergraduate research experience, student scholarships, reconstructing the cybersecurity minor curriculum, a one-week boot camp to strengthen programming languages, and a STEM day to offer networking opportunities to students in the program. The grant will also fund faculty training, a CISCO Networking Academy, and a state-of-the-art research lab that will house 25 new computers with high-power processors and ample storage for student training.

Historically Black Dillard  University in New Orleans received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to restore the historic academic building Howard House on campus. Originally named the Practice House, the building was built in 1936. The Homemaking Educational Program used the historic two-story building during World War II when mostly young female students attended Dillard University. In 1945, a fire damaged much of the 2,400-square-foot building. Howard House was then restored and expanded to double its size, and it housed primarily young female faculty members at the time it reopened later that year.


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