Methodist announces collaboration for minorities in healthcare education

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Methodist Healthcare has announced a “game-changing” collaboration in healthcare education.

Meharry Medical College, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, the University of Memphis and Church Health will work together to increase the pipeline of medical professionals at the time they’re needed most.

Methodist held a Zoom meeting today at 12:30 p.m. with Dr. James E.K. Hildreth (MMC), Dr. Michael Ugwueke (MLH), UofM President Dr. M. David Rudd and Dr. Scott Morris (Church Health).

The leaders gave brief remarks and took questions from the media.

According to a Methodist representative, the effort would help increase the number of minority pre-med students.

The collaboration will diversify student training in health care at the U of M, according to Dr. Hildreth.

“We are delighted for this historic opportunity to work alongside these legacy institutions in the Memphis region to provide meaningful experiences for our students and care for those who need it most,” Dr. Hildreth, Sr said. “There is a critical need throughout our country for a pipeline of Black talent within medicine. Now more than ever, the Black community needs greater access to preventive care and to providers they trust.”

“This partnership with Methodist and the University of Memphis will support our ongoing efforts to diversify students’ training and educational experiences so they are fully prepared to serve.”

The collaboration will also improve health care disparities in Memphis among people of color and open up new career opportunities for them.

Dr. Morris said Church Health has been on the front line of caring for the underserved in Memphis.

The collaboration will allow medical students to serve people like them in their own communities.

The collaboration’s purpose is to put doctors in communities where they’re most needed.

Dr. Ugwueke said MLH has been very involved in tackling health care disparities in Memphis.

“This partnership allows MLH to expand on our commitment of providing exceptional training opportunities for the next generation of physicians, nurses and medical professionals,” said Michael Ugwueke, DHA, Methodist Le Bonheur president and CEO.

“This is a transformative partnership that comes at a critical time for those in health care, particularly in the Mid-South where patients face a number of health challenges and we work to address health disparities. Leveraging the expertise of Methodist, Meharry and the University of Memphis will allow us to implement innovative care models in community outreach, health education and research to meet the needs of the patients we are privileged to serve.”

Specifically, the institutions will collaborate to:

  • Provide essential health care and services for area underserved and minority populations
  • Establish new clinical training opportunities and clerkships for Meharry and University of Memphis students and residents at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
  • Train a diverse health care workforce and strengthen the pipeline of well-trained medical professionals who will go on to serve rural and underserved urban areas
  • Provide University of Memphis students with direct and preferred access to postgraduate medical and biomedical sciences programs at Meharry
  • Develop opportunities for research collaboration between Meharry, Methodist and the University of Memphis to advance discovery in the treatment of disease and improve the effectiveness of community-based services
  • Establish a clinical affiliation with Church Health to provide educational and health care benefits to the Memphis community

“The UofM is very excited for the opportunity to partner with such tremendous education and industry leaders in healthcare,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “This will enhance our relationship with Methodist Le Bonheur, a highly respected organization in our community that has worked with and supported the UofM for years. It will begin a new and promising relationship with Meharry Medical College, an institution we view as one of the very best nationally in training students to effectively identify health disparities and treat patients, especially those in underserved communities.”

“The formation of this partnership comes at a critical time as we work to advance healthcare and health education,” said Dave North, University of Memphis Board of Trustees chairman. “I have no doubt the programs and initiatives developed as a result of the UofM joining with these leaders in healthcare will have a significantly positive impact on students and communities throughout our state, particularly in West Tennessee.”