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Howard University College of Medicine

The Howard University College of Medicine was established in response to the influx of newly freed Black individuals moving to Washington, D.C. during the post-Civil War era. Its founders recognized the pressing healthcare needs of this population and aimed to train compassionate, highly competent physicians to serve communities lacking adequate healthcare resources.

Howard’s Enduring Role in Medical Education

For a century, Howard University, along with Meharry Medical College, played a vital role in training the majority of African American physicians in the United States, as many predominantly white institutions refused Black students. Even today, the College of Medicine’s alumni, numbering over 4,000, significantly contribute to the ranks of practicing Black physicians, advancing the mission of addressing healthcare disparities.

Debate Over Inclusion of Systemic Racism in Medical Curricula

Recent debates among conservative legislators, educators, and medical professionals have challenged the incorporation of systemic racism and health disparities into medical school curricula. Critics argue that these concepts are divisive or no longer relevant in modern medicine.

Present-Day Realities Highlight Medical Racism

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed ongoing disparities in healthcare access and trust. A 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report revealed that a substantial portion of the Black population expressed skepticism about COVID-19 vaccinations due to distrust in the American healthcare system. Howard and its College of Medicine played a pivotal role in testing and vaccination efforts, gaining recognition from the federal government.

Innovative Initiatives to Transform Healthcare

In 2020, the College of Medicine launched the 1867 Health Innovations Project, aiming to improve healthcare in underserved communities. This program collaborates with medical researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners to address health challenges in the Washington, D.C. area.

Strategic Partnerships for Innovation

The 1867 Health Innovations Project established a strategic partnership with AARP Innovation Labs, focusing on technology projects for various health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, genetic disorders, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

A Catalyst for Diversity and Representation

Studies show that Black patients often feel more comfortable with Black physicians and that Black physicians tend to work on research benefiting underserved communities. Moreover, they serve as crucial role models for aspiring Black students pursuing careers in medicine.

Howard’s Enduring Commitment to Justice

While predominantly white medical schools began admitting Black students in the 1960s, the Howard University College of Medicine has steadfastly upheld its commitment to service and justice throughout its 155-year history. It consistently graduates the highest number of Black physicians annually and collaborates with organizations like AARP to advocate for justice in healthcare for underserved patients.

The Attraction of Howard University College of Medicine

Howard University College of Medicine’s unwavering commitment to addressing health disparities and systemic racism continues to draw students who aspire to make a difference in the world of medicine.

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