Morehouse School of Medicine Eyes Potential Chattanooga Campus

91福利导航 hopes to build on the More in Common Alliance to create a regional medical campus at CHI Memorial in Chattanooga.

By Elizabeth Fite, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Leaders from Morehouse School of Medicine said Tuesday they're hoping to build on their partnership with CHI Memorial with plans to establish a regional medical campus in Chattanooga in the coming years.

The effort is part of a 10-year, $100 million initiative called the More in Common Alliance 鈥 a partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and CHI Memorial's parent company, CommonSpirit Health. Alliance members aim to address underlying causes of health disparities, including increasing the number of clinicians from underrepresented communities in the health care workforce.

Despite accounting for nearly 14% of the US population, 5.7% of the nation's active physicians identify as Black or African American, according to data from Association of American Medical Colleges. Just 3.6% of certified physician assistants are Black or African American, according to a study in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

Roughly 50-100 medical and physician assistant students from the Atlanta-based Morehouse School of Medicine 鈥 where the majority of students are Black or African American 鈥 have completed elective rotations at CHI Memorial since August 2021, according to Dr. Veronica Mallett, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the More in Common Alliance.

"We are exploring the possibility of doing not just undergraduate medical education, or medical school and PA school, but residency training," Dr. Mallett said during an event at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. "And that residency training really does help to cement this impact, because we know that a very high percentage 鈥 over 80% 鈥 of residents stay where they train."

Students must complete at least four of their core rotations on-site for the program to qualify as a regional medical campus.

"CHI, as our hospital partner, may not have all the rotations, so we're also looking to partner with other hospital systems in the area so that they don't have to leave Chattanooga in order to do those rotations," Dr. Mallett said in an interview following the event.

While CHI Memorial was the first hospital to join the alliance, the Morehouse School of Medicine has partnered with several other CommonSpirit hospitals across the US in hopes of boosting the size of each incoming Doctor of Medicine class from 110 to 225 students.

"In order to get to 225, we have to set up these regional medical campuses, of which Chattanooga will be one, because we don't have enough clinical training opportunities in Atlanta in order to have that many students train," Dr. Mallett said, noting that Morehouse School of Medicine has other programs aimed at creating pathways for more Black and underrepresented students to attend medical school.

One of those includes a partnership with Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, she said.