2022 Health Influencer 30: Dr. James Hildreth

President and CEO Meharry, Medical College

Two of the most striking pieces of PR work over the past 18 months came courtesy of Meharry Medical College, the nation's largest historically Black medical school.

The Fight for More Black Doctors and From Marathon to Sprint: Surge on Behalf of Black America, won a PRWeek Award and Purpose Award in 2022.

Founded in 1876, the Nashville-based organization was the first medical school for African Americans in the South. The work elevated school president Dr. James Hildreth into an authority on infectious diseases and healthcare disparities during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in $88 million in funding for an institution long overlooked by donors.

Meharry then broadened its efforts to the entire HBCU medical community and founded the Consortium of Black Medical Schools to lobby Congress for pandemic-related funding.

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Meharry also underscored the importance of having doctors of color care for communities of color, which promotes trust and can lead to better health outcomes, which it achieved through thought leadership from Hildreth.

Because of his standing as a world-class infectious disease expert, excellent ability to explain complex science to laypersons and engaging communication style, Hildreth emerged as a respected national figure in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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