Universal Music Group (UMG) has unveiled a new program to further open the pipeline of Black medical practitioners by way of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

According to a press release shared with AFROTECH, the renowned music-based entertainment group has announced that its Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) will spearhead a program dedicated to supporting HBCU medical schools.

Every year UMG’s TFMC initiative has identified a “Super Priority” thanks to guidance from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, keeping in mind how that issue impacts Black and marginalized communities in the present day.

The latest scholarship for aspiring medical professionals was created out of the group’s 2022 Super Priority, which was public health.

Uplifting The Next Generation of Black Medical Professionals

The schools that will be the recipients of this year’s program funds include the Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse College School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Donations will go to more than 50 students with scholarships at the listed schools.

In partnership with TFMC’s Public Health Advisory Board, public health experts such as Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., chief medical examiner of Washington D.C., and Dr. Camara Jones, whose work focuses on the effects of racism on health, have helped to highlight the institutions that have both invested in Black medical practitioners and empowered Black communities in medicine for an extended period of time.

Now, they have helped TFMC pinpoint the need for an uptick in community-oriented and culturally competent health care for marginalized areas across the nation.

“Our efforts to direct our philanthropic efforts in a way that combats racial disparities in public health is directly informed by the insights of experts like Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jones,” Dr. Menna Demessie, SVP and executive director of UMG’s TFMC, said in a statement. “Their invaluable knowledge helps ensure our measurable impact and mission are realized. Our Task Force members really understand our mission, and they understand the power of music — as well as our collective ability — to leverage our position as industry leaders to make positive social change.”

Positively Impacting Students

As the institutions prepare to receive support from UMG’s TFMC, school leaders have expressed gratitude and noted the significance of the impact that programs like this have on the future of Black medical professionals.

“We are very thankful for this gift! Howard University College of Medicine is among medical schools in the country with the lowest tuition, and our students mostly come from humble backgrounds and would not be able to attend the University without financial assistance,” Dr. Andrea Hayes Dixon, dean of Howard University College of Medicine, said. “Thirty percent of our students reported having more student loan debt than the national average for medical students. The Universal Music Group Medical Scholarship will help ease the financial burden for deserving students.”

Working Within The Community

Along with supporting current HBCUs, TFMC has also widened its efforts by pouring into other organizations preparing the next generation of Black medical practitioners on their journeys. 

Those platforms include the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Council on Black Health, Mentoring in Medicine, and a host of others.