By Anika Chaturvedi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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 newregional 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.”
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.”
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 financialpartners.
“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.