Community. Networking. Health Equity. CCPH Executive Director, Al Richmond, MSW, shares his connection to HBCUs and why he believes it’s important for CCPH to focus on Minority Serving Institutions. Drawing upon his personal connection to HBCUs, he recognizes the historical and ongoing contributions MSIs have made to education, social justice, and health care. Overall, Al’s message underscores the importance of community, the value of MSIs in the pursuit of health equity, and the need to scale and expand the impact of CCPH’s initiatives.

1. What is your connection to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)?

I graduated from Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC, with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Most of my family members, including my twin sister, attended an HBCU. So HBCUs are really near and special to me. They are primarily concentrated in the southeast region of the US. Many were started after the Civil War, so there’s a lot of deep history and legacy. There is a unique and distinct culture associated with HBCUs. It’s a culture that is grounded in the scholarship of African Americans and pride.

2. Why did you launch CCPH’s focus on Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)?

I do the work because our primary focus as an organization is health equity. And these institutions: HBCUs, Tribal colleges, and Hispanic Serving institutions, sit in close proximity to communities that have significant health disparities. Because of their proximity to the community, I believe that they are well-positioned to address health inequities and advance health justice.

Many of their graduates will go on to work in the community to do good work to advance equity and justice in education, social work, health, law, medicine, you name it, business, and different sectors. So we launched this project, and we’re doing this work for all those reasons. 

3. What can we do to scale this work?

Networking. We have this network, and we want to make sure that we are building this network together. A network where we are able to inform people about funding, training, and professional development opportunities. 

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