WALTHAM, Mass., Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO), the world leader in serving science, has committed to supporting the efforts of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. to make COVID-19 testing available to all returning students, faculty and staff at the beginning of the fall semester. Through an initiative called "The Just Project," named after pioneering biologist Ernest Everett Just, Thermo Fisher plans to donate $15 million in diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies. The company will also provide technical assistance to HBCUs seeking to establish or expand their laboratories to provide regular on-campus COVID-19 testing throughout the 2020-21 school year.
Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton University will be among the first HBCUs to receive donations. Their laboratories, along with those at other HBCUs that are expected to join the initiative over the next several weeks, will provide COVID-19 testing for their campuses and will also test samples from other HBCUs across the country. HBCUs receiving these donations have committed to use the donated equipment solely to offer COVID-19 testing to HBCU faculty, staff and students at no cost.
"Our first priority is to ensure a safe and healthy environment on our campuses," said Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine. "The support we receive from Thermo Fisher Scientific through The Just Project allows us to offer easy access to COVID-19 testing that is so important to getting our students back to school safely."
Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University, said, "Historically black colleges and universities have produced talented doctors, public health experts and engineers, many of whom are contributing to the fight against COVID-19. We are grateful to Thermo Fisher for supporting a testing center on our campus, which will allow us to continue to monitor the health of our academic community."
"Collectively, HBCUs exist to further the goals and aspirations of minorities through higher education, and the mission of the country's HBCU medical schools is to prepare future health professionals to work toward health equity across the land," said James E. K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College. "Thermo Fisher has demonstrated its support for minority higher education and recognition that those communities in the U.S. who have been hardest hit by the pandemic are deserving of every opportunity to continue their academic perseverance."
Fred Lowery, senior vice president and president, Life Sciences Solutions and Laboratory Products at Thermo Fisher Scientific said, "The pandemic has disproportionately affected the Black community, and historically black colleges and universities have taken a leadership role in making testing available in order to safely reopen this fall. These schools play an important role in closing the achievement gap in America and consistently train talented STEM professionals who are invaluable to companies like ours seeking to attract top talent and build a more inclusive workplace."
Lowery added, "Given the value we place on recruiting diverse talent, we have also committed to hiring at least 500 students from these institutions over the next three years."
Since the pandemic hit, Thermo Fisher has sought to increase access to COVID-19 tests. The company has increased its production of COVID-19 tests, instruments and supplies and has been working closely with public and private laboratories to scale up national testing capacity, including mobilizing testing facilities across more than 30 states. The company currently has the capacity to produce more than 10 million tests a week.
For more information on The Just Project, please visit our website.
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue exceeding $25 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 75,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.
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