(CHICAGO and ATLANTA – November 30, 2021) – CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine today announced the development of three undergraduate and four graduate medical education sites that will address two of the most pressing challenges in health care – a shortage of diverse clinicians and the need for more equitable health care. The announcement launches the first phase of the More in Common Alliance, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to increase cultural competency and expand representation to improve both access and quality of care patients receive.
First phase sites include undergraduate training opportunities at CommonSpirit hospitals in Chattanooga, Tenn., Lexington, Ky., and Seattle, Wash., and post-graduate residencies and fellowships in California in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Ventura County.
The first phase also introduces an identity for the partnership, which launched in December 2020, as the More in Common Alliance, because research demonstrates that patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences. The More in Common Alliance will expand representation by increasing medical education opportunities for more Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) – helping Morehouse School of Medicine double undergraduate enrollment and increasing the number of post-graduate residency and fellowship slots. The aim is to support a pipeline of students recruited from communities experiencing a shortage of providers. Today, a mere 5% of practicing physicians are Black.
“We know that, statistically and anecdotally, patients have better outcomes when treated by a clinician who comes from a similar background,” said Morehouse School of Medicine President and CEO Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD. “Yet, in the medical field, there are far too few providers from underrepresented groups, and the impact that has on patient care is astounding. Through the More in Common Alliance, our aim is to change the math and the face of health care in the U.S.”
The first location in Chattanooga at CHI Memorial Hospital accepted undergraduate medical and physician assistant students in September 2021. Undergraduate training sites at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle are slated to open in Spring 2022. The More in Common Alliance is also initiating the accreditation process to establish new graduate medical programs in three locations in California, and transferring academic sponsorship for an existing program in Los Angeles. With Morehouse School of Medicine as the academic sponsor of these programs, post-graduate residents and fellows will benefit from training focused on health inequities and the needs of underserved patients.
“We’ve chosen our first phase sites based upon community need and the ability to launch programs rapidly in response to this vital need,” said CommonSpirit Health CEO Lloyd H. Dean. “In the midst of a global pandemic, we’ve been able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. Not just because we wanted to, but because our communities couldn’t wait.”
Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health are uniquely positioned to impact health equity through education and training opportunities, and improved access and care delivery. While there are 155 accredited medical schools in the U.S., Morehouse School of Medicine and the other three historically Black medical schools produce the majority of the nation’s Black physicians. CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest health systems in America, serves some of the most diverse communities in the country and is a leading provider of Medicaid services.
“Building a more diverse health care system means identifying challenges and creating solutions to support clinicians throughout their journey from student to licensed professional,” said Dean. “We hope more health systems and graduate medical programs can use this model to ensure more qualified students have opportunities to graduate and serve communities where they are desperately needed.”
The collaboration will extend to developing research programs to impact illnesses that disproportionately affect minority and underserved communities. Morehouse School of Medicine, a recipient of a $40 million COVID-19 Resiliency Network grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been at the forefront of biomedical and clinical research initiatives to address diseases that disproportionately affect minority communities.
“The More in Common Alliance is the perfect example of what can happen when two health care organizations, devoted to the creation and advancement of health equity in underserved communities, come together,” Dr. Montgomery Rice said.
Learn more about the More in Common Alliance: www.moreincommonalliance.org
About More in Common Alliance
The More in Common Alliance is a partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health. Morehouse School of Medicine is a historically Black medical school and one of America’s leading educators of primary care physicians, and CommonSpirit Health is one of America’s largest health systems with locations in 21 states from coast to coast. Knowing patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences, the More in Common Alliance seeks to address critical gaps in care by increasing cultural competency and expanding representation. Together, we are leading a 10-year, $100-million initiative to expand undergraduate and graduate medical education to build a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.
About CommonSpirit Health
CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 by Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. With its national office in Chicago and a team of over 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit operates 140 hospitals and more than 1,500 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2021, CommonSpirit had revenues of $33.3 billion and provided $5.1 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at www.commonspirit.org.
About Morehouse School of Medicine
Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit www.msm.edu or call (404) 752-1500.