Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, this year in particular has highlighted the importance of not only honoring our health care workers, but supporting the career pipeline for them. Recently, support for creating more health care workers came from an unlikely source: the popular video social network TikTok. According to CNN, the company chose to donate to $10 million to 10 schools specifically to support both undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students pursuing careers in medicine, public health or other health-related fields. Each school on the list received $1 million, and 8 HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) made the list!

The 8 HBCUs are as follows:

  • Delaware State University
  • Florida A&M University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Tougaloo College
  • Virginia Union University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana
Delaware State University

The other 2 schools are the University of South Dakota and Laredo College, which is in Texas. In a statement titled “Powering the Next Generation of #HealthHeroes, TikTok shared why this $10 million donation was so important, especially to HBCUs:

2020 has been a difficult year for many, but through it all there’s been an unwavering symbol of hope and humanity shining through: healthcare workers. From epidemiologists to doctors to surge staff, front line healthcare workers are deserving heroes across the country – and these #healthheroes are equally lauded figures within the TikTok community, which is part of why we donated $150 million earlier this year through our Health Heroes Relief Fund.

Today, as a continuation of our commitment to supporting the efforts of healthcare workers, we’re donating $10 million to 10 academic institutions that serve underrepresented students with programs focused on public health and professions in the medical and healthcare fields. Each school will receive $1 million in funding to support undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students pursuing medical careers or other health related fields, helping to ensure the success of future Black, Latinx, and Indigenous health heroes. 

According to a 2018 article in Harvard Business Review, Black people make up 13 percent of the US population; but only four percent of US doctors and less than seven percent of US medical students self-identify as Black. In a qualitative study of Black students’ perspectives on careers in medicine in the Journal of the National Medical Association, students reported financial constraints as one of the major barriers in pursuing a career in medicine. We believe investing in the next generation of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous doctors, nurses, pediatricians, surgeons, and other essential health care workers is one of the best ways to invest in the future of America. 

“We are grateful to TikTok for recognizing the power of everyday health heroes like the ones we are developing on our campus in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. The University’s Public and Allied Health Department, chaired by Dr. Robert C. Mason, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michelle Fisher RN managed a small army of employee and student volunteer who came out every test day – rain or shine – to administer the 35,000 tests necessary to keep us all safe. There were dozens of them on duty every day, and these are our heroes.” – Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University

“Many Xavierites have excelled to become the health heroes that are in high demand during the global pandemic. This gift from TikTok allows talented young women and men with dreams to sharpen their gifts and succeed at becoming change agents in our community and across the nation through education.” – Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University of Louisiana

The gift benefits Xavier University of Louisiana, Tougaloo College, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T University, South Carolina State University, Laredo College, University of South Dakota, Florida A&M, Delaware State, and Virginia Union University. The $1 million scholarships to each school will help ensure that students have access to the exceptional education in the medical and health fields offered at each of these institutions. These 10 gifts are an investment in the future of the next generation of #healthheroes, who will reflect the diverse patchwork of American healthcare workers.