Morehouse School of Medicine Partners With CommonSpirit Health to Train Black Physicians

The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) has partnered with CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit) to create a joint undergraduate and graduate medical education program that will educate and train the next generation of Black health clinicians and researchers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice, the two organizations have created a 10-year, $100 million partnership that will develop and train more Black physicians.

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

The collaboration between Morehouse and CommonSpirit will develop more Black and minority physicians by making sure that a minimum of 300 additional underrepresented providers finish their residency training. MSM and CommonSpirit will establish five new medical schools regionally and graduate medical education programs in at least 10 markets. Those will be announced in spring 2021.

“We are laying the foundation for patients to have more access to Black clinicians and for Black medical students and graduates to gain community-based experience that they need to be successful in their work,” said CommonSpirit president and CEO Lloyd H. Dean. “Our initiative also will create a pathway for healthcare organizations across the nation to follow and share our learnings, a vital part of our work.”

In the first two years, MSM and CommonSpirit plan to contribute $21 million in seed money. The goal is to lead an initiative that invites the support of individual donors, industry partners, and philanthropic organizations.

“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,” Dean said. “Together, we will foster a culturally competent system of care that includes testing, care delivery, and vaccine allocation, directed at the most vulnerable populations to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in racial and ethnic communities.”