Morehouse School of Medicine enters $100M partnership to train more Black doctors

MEDICAL STUDENT TRADITION--First year medical student Dorian Wood dons his white coat during the Morehouse School of Medicine Annual White Coat Ceremony in this AJC file photo. MSM is one of four Black medical schools in the U.S.
MEDICAL STUDENT TRADITION--First year medical student Dorian Wood dons his white coat during the Morehouse School of Medicine Annual White Coat Ceremony in this AJC file photo. MSM is one of four Black medical schools in the U.S.

Credit: BRANT SANDERLIN / AJC

Credit: BRANT SANDERLIN / AJC

Morehouse School of Medicine is teaming up with CommonSpirit Health in a 10-year, $100 million partnership to train more Black physicians and work toward health equity for underserved communities.

Through the partnership, the organizations will create five new regional campuses and graduate educational medical programs in at least 10 markets to be announced in the spring, according to an announcement this week.

For Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, the partnership will enable the school to continue its pipeline model of recruiting students, but on a national scale.

“Of the 21,863 students entering medical school in 2019, only 1,626 were Black — and only 619 were Black males,” Montgomery Rice said in a statement. “This statistic is alarming for many reasons, not the least of which is the impact of patient care. Studies show that Black patients have better outcomes when treated by Black doctors.”

Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care on the campus of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. (Thomson200 / WikiMidea Commons)
Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care on the campus of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. (Thomson200 / WikiMidea Commons)

Credit: Thomson200

Credit: Thomson200

Morehouse School of Medicine’s mission is founded on diversifying the health care workforce and increasing patient access to high quality care, and these methods lead to the elimination of health disparities, she said.

“We believe that educating and training more physicians who are underrepresented in medicine will not just have a positive impact on Black Americans and Black communities, but all communities,” Montgomery Rice told the AJC. “We are starting with a focus on Black physicians because the disparity of the number of Black physicians ... has not moved significantly over the last 20 years and so we believe that this is an opportunity to do something and be able to measure the impact immediately.”

ExploreMorehouse School of Medicine gets $40 million grant to fight COVID-19

Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health will contribute $21 million in seed money in the first two years, and and aim to have individuals, foundations and organizations that are committed to health equity sign on as financial partners.

“We’re immediately leveraging our partnership to address health inequities magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, as Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Lloyd H. Dean, CommonSpirit’s president and CEO, said about the partnership.

In June, the medical school received a $40 million federal grant to fight COVID-19 in racially diverse, rural and socially vulnerable communities.

Morehouse School of Medicine is one of four historically Black medical schools in the United States. CommonSpirit Health operates 137 hospitals nationwide and 1,000 care sites across 21 states. The partnership will ensure at least 300 more Black physicians complete their residency training each year, officials said.

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