In written remarks submitted to the House of Representatives prior to his testimony yesterday, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, announced the following:
Protecting the Vulnerable
We recognize that vulnerable populations in many underserved communities are among the highest risk of suffering devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The Office of Minority Health issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity on May 1. On June 23rd, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced the selection of the Morehouse School of Medicine as the awardee for a new $40 million initiative to fight COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural and socially vulnerable communities. The Morehouse School of Medicine will enter into cooperative agreement with OMH to lead the initiative to coordinate a strategic network of national, state, territorial, tribal and local organizations to deliver COVID-19-related information to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The three-year initiative will include the development and coordination of a strategic and structured network of national, state, territorial, and local public and community based organizations that will help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities as well as rural and socially vulnerable communities across the nation. The initiative also includes a national multi-media outreach and education effort that is comprised of culturally and linguistically diverse information. One of the primary goals of these information dissemination efforts is to provide additional education and community-level information on resources to help fight the pandemic to those who need it most.
This announcement presumably makes Morehouse School of Medicine President and Dean Dr. Valerie Rice a key part of our federal government's COVID response team.
At least two prominent African American doctors already hold prominent Trump Administration positions. One of them, Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, reports directly to Admiral Giroir. The other is HUD secretary Dr. Ben Carson.
As has been widely reported, members of racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately suffer effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Black doctors in particular are also under-represented in the upper echelons of the medical profession. The book “The Beauty in Breaking” by Dr. Michele Harper, detailing the difficulties faced by a young African American doctor, recently became a New York Times bestseller.