TSU, Meharry Medical College announce program to recruit future Black doctors


Nurses and doctors perform CPR on a patient with COVID-19 who went into cardiac arrest Monday, April 20, 2020, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. The emergency room team successfully revived the patient. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College announced a partnership to establish a pipeline for Black doctors and dentists. 

The two historically Black institutions will produce doctors to serve in underserved communities. 

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Named after one of Tennessee State University’s most distinguished graduates, the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute/TSU/Meharry Accelerated Pathway Program seeks to address the need to eliminate disparities in African American communities while advancing health equity. 

Instead of the customary eight years, it takes to get into medical school, the accelerated program strives to reduce the amount of time to seven years. 

Participants will spend three years pre-med at Tennesee State University before going to study at Meharry. 

Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennessee State University and International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, joined Start Your Day with Sharon Reed and Mike Hill to discuss the program. 

Glover said mistrust of doctors dates back to slavery and years of discrimination the Black community faced.

“African Americans continue to be underrepresented in medical schools,” Glover said. “This partnership will help level the playing field and give them better opportunities that they so deserve. We look forward to working with Meharry Medical College to produce African American physicians and dentists, who will serve the communities that need them most.”

Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College, said the partnership is significant. 

“We remain committed to training more Black doctors who will go on to serve in minority communities, and this partnership will provide more opportunities for Black students,” Hildreth said. 

The program expects to welcome its first cohort in the fall of 2021.