Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Icahn Mount Sinai) and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, today announced they have entered into an agreement that will address racism and bias in the basic sciences and introduce greater diversity and inclusion.
The partnership is part of a broader initiative by Icahn Mount Sinai to collaborate with historically Black medical schools, colleges, and universities in a comprehensive, institutional approach.
"We are thrilled to be working with Meharry Medical College, one of our country's premier historically Black medical colleges. With a strong foundation in health disparities research in critically important areas for the Black population, including sickle cell disease, diabetes, and cancer, Meharry Medical College will be an excellent partner with whom we can share clinical knowledge and enrich each institution's educational, training, and research enterprise," said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Icahn Mount Sinai, and President for Academic Affairs at the Mount Sinai Health System.
The affiliation between the institutions will instill a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and training that could include a joint graduate or educational medical education program; research activities by students and faculties; and administrative guidelines allowing students to study at each institution.
Meharry Medical College is the oldest of the only four historically Black medical schools in the United States, where there are approximately 150 medical schools. One important goal of the affiliation is to address the critical shortage of Black physicians and scientists across the country. The Association of American Medical Colleges has consistently pointed to this shortage, and extensive reports have described the barriers that minority doctors and researchers face, including a failure among academic medical centers to mentor underrepresented minority faculty.
"Mount Sinai is a renowned clinical enterprise noted for its innovation and expertise, making it the perfect complement to Meharry's research and health care efforts. We are honored to collaborate with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and are eager to begin developing dynamic research and educational programs that will directly benefit minority communities affected by countless health disparities," said James E.K. Hildreth, PhD., MD, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College.
"The MOU provides a framework to work together to attract and support a robust pipeline of Black scientists, bringing structure, scale, and intentionality to build upon earlier independent efforts by Mount Sinai faculty to address the underrepresentation of Blacks in medicine," says Reginald W. Miller, DVM, Dean for Research Operations and Infrastructure, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was charged by Dean Charney to lead the Engagement Initiative, resulting in the MOU.
"The engagement we envision is a faculty-to-faculty partnership between the two institutions in the form of collaborative grants, shared mentoring of graduate students, post docs, and faculty, and joint research projects in areas where there are strong opportunities for synergy. Through these joint activities, we hope to increase capacity and diversity of the biomedical workforce by lowering barriers to access, and strengthening our mentorship and training models," Dr. Miller said. "Training and mentoring faculty in areas such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancer, human genetics, and neuroscience will be paramount as we seek to improve our understanding of diseases and how they affect people of African ancestry."