Xavier University of Louisiana has partnered with healthcare giant, Ochsner Health to create the first HBCU medical school in Louisiana.

Ochsner Health is southeast Louisiana’s largest nonprofit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system. The two institutions have agreed to establish a joint College of Medicine.

According to the university, the new medical school will create a strong physician pipeline that addresses longstanding inequities within the healthcare system and aims to diversify the medical field.

To launch the College of Medicine, Ochsner and Xavier will form a nonprofit corporation, create a new curriculum, and use the facilities, personnel, and administrative processes of both institutions. A board of directors nominated by Ochsner and Xavier will govern the new College of Medicine. Each institution will appoint an equal number of directors.

Xavier president, Reynold Verret says it is their mission to increase diverse representation in practicing physicians and research. 

“Our purpose is to remedy prejudicial and inequitable structures in health care in the United States and abroad and to embark on a journey that advance health equity for all the peoples of this nation. The need for physicians of color is great.”

– Xavier president, Reynold Verret during a news conference announcing the partnership

According to NOLA.com, Verret said the project would likely cost $100 to $200 million. Ochsner and Xavier officials have not yet decided where the school would be, however, several said it would likely be somewhere on or near Xavier’s campus. Officials have not yet released a timeline for the first class.

Ochsner and Xavier have a long-standing partnership dating back to the early 1980s when Ochsner and Xavier’s College of Pharmacy came together to offer more clinical training sites for pharmacy students. Xavier’s College of Pharmacy is the oldest in Louisiana and has for years been among the top in the nation in producing African American graduates with Doctor of Pharmacy degrees.  

Xavier’s College of Medicine would become the fifth Black medical school in the U.S.

The establishment of the College of Medicine furthers Xavier’s mission of advancing healthcare excellence and education for the next generation. It will bring new opportunities in improving the health of marginalized populations in Louisiana.

“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 Verret. “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.”