Meharry Medical College Announces $1.1 Million Truist Foundation Grant to Limit Spread of COVID-19 Through Innovative Technologies

Funding enables expanded contact tracing to address the pandemic on a national level

SOURCE: Truist


NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 16, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Meharry Medical College has announced the receipt of a $1.1 million grant from the Truist Foundation to develop a national model for COVID-19 contact tracing through advanced technology solutions to limit the spread of the virus, especially among minority populations most impacted by the pandemic.

The funding will help expand COVID-19 contact tracing through social network analytics and geographic information system mapping to identify hot spots across the country. This work will be done alongside local health departments and their efforts to combat COVID-19.

“The Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health is committed to developing real, actionable solutions to address COVID-19 and its ongoing impact on the underserved,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College. “The pandemic has put a spotlight on health disparities across our country, and Meharry stands more than ready to lead the fight in limiting the spread of the virus and creating equitable change.”

The Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health (CSSDOH) at Meharry will facilitate these initiatives as an extension of its work to promote health equity and address health disparities expedited by the pandemic through advanced data and tailored interventions for vulnerable populations.

The grant will enable CSSDOH to integrate patient-centered prevention and treatment tools, predictive analytics and research registries for further insight on how the pandemic is impacting vulnerable populations’ health outcomes. CSSDOH will leverage this data to support health organizations nationwide in their efforts to combat the virus and promote health equity within their communities.

“Truist Foundation is delighted to partner with Meharry Medical College, particularly given the institution's commitment to working with underserved communities in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Johnny Moore, Mid-West Tennessee regional president at Truist on behalf of Truist Foundation. “Through Meharry’s unique outreach and technology resources, the college has the ability to lead the nation’s contact tracing efforts and address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.”

Since its founding, CSSDOH has focused its research on understanding how social determinants of health produce health care disparities among minority populations. Key areas of concentration for CSSDOH include leading causes of preventable deaths such as tobacco and nicotine, substance use (opioids/alcohol), COVID-19 and the impact of physical inactivity and lack of nutrition. The Center also studies treatment adherence for chronic medical conditions: HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disorders, cardiovascular disease and mental health. A precision medicine approach informs the development of digital tools to provide evidence-based, individualized and low-burden interventions to enhance care for underserved communities.

To learn more about the Center’s research, initiatives, and response to COVID-19, please visit:

About Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health sciences center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church related institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Meharry is a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit to learn more.

About the Truist Foundation

The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity. Learn more at


Hope Buckner



Audria Belton, Truist Foundation


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KEYWORDS: NYSE:TFC, Truist Foundation, csr, esg, Meharry Medical College, COVID 19


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