Xavier advances med school plans

NEW ORLEANS -- A small, historically Black university known for successfully moving its graduates into medical school says it's a step closer to creating its own medical school in New Orleans with help from a major Louisiana health care system.

Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health this week announced an agreement to create a joint College of Medicine. The school announced plans for such a project in April but didn't say what it was likely to cost or when students could enroll.

The partnership aims to create a pipeline of future physicians to address inequities in the nation's health care system, officials said.

"Our work with Ochsner and other partners who hold close to their hearts a vision of healing a broken world is a testament to Xavier's mission to promote a more just and humane society," said Reynold Verret, Xavier's president.

"Xavier was bestowed that mission by our founders, St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, almost a century ago. Our dedication to preparing more Black health care professionals in our fight against health inequity is our answer to the call of our nation's critical need and makes their legacy proud."

Ochsner and Xavier have worked together since the 1980s, when they partnered to offer more clinical training sites for pharmacy students.

"The Xavier medical students will get outstanding clinical training in our integrated health care system, and this significant expansion of our partnership with Xavier demonstrates our commitment to training the next generation of health care providers to solve the critical shortage of physicians in the United States and meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve," said Pete November, Ochsner Health's chief executive officer.

The new Ochsner and Xavier College of Medicine will be formed from a nonprofit corporation. The school also will create a new curriculum and use facilities, personnel and administrations from both institutions. It will be governed by a board with an equal number of directors from each.