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Three months after the coronavirus disease outbreak in the United States was declared a national emergency,  there have been 1.6 million confirmed cases with more than 95,087 deaths. Although the CDC says the effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups are still emerging, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.  This week, Tennessee State University launched an institutional response to the current pandemic.

The COVID-19 Academy at Tennessee State University (TSU) is the first of its kind established by a historically black university. According to  TSU News Service,  the academy will conduct webinars on outreach, community preparedness, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and small business development, as well as continuing education for healthcare professionals.

“The academy will work to bridge the health care disparity for people of color that experts say will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” said TSU President Glenda Glover in a statement.

Glover said the academy will connect residents with health services, such as telehealth and telemedicine providers, food banks and pantries, as well as employment and educational resources.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences and a member of the university’s task force on COVID-19, says the academy provides links not only to the metropolitan and Tennessee state governments but also to pandemic-related information from recognized authorities and national agencies.

Workforce development, a key part of the COVID-19 Academy’s certificate learning component, will use available resources at the university, such as the Career Development Center, and in the community to help meet the skills and employment needs of the people.

“The Career Development Center recognizes the unique employment needs of all individuals,” says Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the center. “We will serve as a gateway to offer career service resources to help assist in exploring different career options during these challenging and uncertain times.”

Click here for more information on the COVID-19 Academy at Tennessee State University.

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