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 Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. It is the first NSF grant awarded to the college. The three-year grant will fund a deep-dive study into bacteria found in the West Fowl River watershed of Mobile County. The “indicator bacteria” researchers will be measuring typically do not cause diseases. But when their numbers exceed standard limits, it may indicate the presence of microbial contaminants that can affect water quality. The grant is under the direction of Nikaela Yarbrough Flournoy, an assistant professor of biology at the college.

The University of Rochester received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the cluster hiring of three new tenure-track faculty members in the department of Black studies. The grant, from the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Learning program, will be used to recruit leading faculty who work in the subfields of Black geographies, Black sexuality and/or trans studies, and an additional open-field search.

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn received a $1,720,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for research on effective mentorship networks for underrepresented researchers.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received a $10 million, five-year grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study the ideal “dose” of behavioral interventions to treat childhood obesity in rural and minority communities across Tennessee and Louisiana. Despite ongoing efforts, childhood obesity rates have continued to increase over the last 10 years, with about 1 in 5 children across the U.S. affected by obesity. The prevalence of childhood obesity is higher among children who are underrepresented minorities and those who live in rural areas due to health disparities and limited access to interventions. Across the U.S., about 20 percent of African American children have obesity compared to about 14 percent of White children.

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