Howard University announced last week it’s opening a center dedicated to researching health disparities across the US. The HBCU is set to break ground on The National Research Center for Health Disparities in 2023.
“Howard has a long history of training problem solvers who are prepared to meet and combat the world’s most significant obstacles,” the university’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick said in a news release, The Washington Post reported.
The center will also aid Howard’s strategic plan “by expanding our reach and creating a community where the world’s best minds, thought leaders and scientists can collaborate in one place to solve historic and contemporary health challenges.”
News of the center comes as new cases of coronavirus surge across the country and vaccination rates lag among Black Americans. In D.C., where Howard is located, for example, Black people make up 46% of the city’s population but 51% of positive COVID-19 tests. According to The Post, data collected also shows racial disparities in vaccination rates among young people.
Having a research center that devotes its brain power to studying these disparities and more would support “setting the direction we need to go in terms of addressing these health disparities,” Ambrose Lane Jr., founder and chair of the Health Alliance Network in D.C. told the news outlet.
The center will feature private development partnerships with Howard, and 430 rental apartments for researchers, faculty, students, and the general public. The developer with a stake in ownership of the center will be a Black owned firm, the school noted and there are plans to work with a “diverse” group of contractors.
“We continually push the envelope with innovative product development and by creating deal structuring to optimize value to Howard University,” Anthony Freeman, the school’s real estate chief said in the news release. “Howard is proud to work with a team of highly qualified developers to realize this transformative vision.”