Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a leading global company serving science, announced this week that it will continue support for the Just Project, a national initiative to provide COVID-19 testing to students, faculty and staff across more than 60 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) at no cost.
The $7.5 million commitment for the 2021-2022 school year will once again provide diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies.
“A year after we launched the Just Project, COVID-19 cases are increasing again, and testing is critical to ensuring campus safety,” said Fred Lowery, senior vice president and president for customer channels at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Last year HBCUs nationwide administered more than 50,000 tests under the project, and infection rates at participating schools were below 1 percent with minimal academic disruption. We hope other schools will join the program as we extend it through the 2021-2022 school year.”
The Just Project, named after pioneering biologist Ernest Everett Just, has created a nationwide testing infrastructure with the capacity to provide free testing for all 107 HBCUs in the U.S. Currently, eight on-campus labs serve as hubs to process samples for more than 60 participating HBCUs. Testing hubs include Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Texas Southern University, Tuskegee University and Xavier University of Louisiana.
“The Just Project has made a significant difference on our campus,” said Dr. Rashid Mosavin, the dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Texas Southern University. “With testing available on our campus as frequently as needed, we were able to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to campus for in-person learning with confidence.”
“We’re grateful for Thermo Fisher’s continued support of COVID-19 testing across HBCUs to serve a broad reach of their students. Testing is the core component of a robust model in preventing the spread of infectious disease. With these resources and testing components in place, we’re able to make data-driven decisions and policies to support the health and safety of our students and community,” said Dr. James Hildreth, the president and CEO of Meharry Medical College.
Given the focus on recruiting diverse talent, Thermo Fisher has also committed to hiring more than 500 HBCU alumni over three years, reinforcing a commitment to create a more inclusive workplace. Since August of 2020, more than 180 HBCU alumni have joined the company.