Xavier University of Louisiana (Xavier) and Ochsner Health (Ochsner) announced an agreement to establish a joint College of Medicine. The two institutions aim to create a strong physician pipeline that addresses longstanding inequities within the nation’s healthcare system and builds the healthcare workforce of the future.
To launch the College of Medicine, Ochsner and Xavier will form a nonprofit corporation, create a new curriculum, and use facilities, personnel, and administrative processes of both institutions. The new College of Medicine will be governed by a board of directors nominated by Ochsner and Xavier, with each institution appointing an equal number of directors.
This initiative builds on a long-standing partnership between Ochsner and Xavier that dates 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.
“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, PhD, president of Xavier University of Louisiana. “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.”
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world and disproportionately affected people of color, highlighting health disparities faced by historically marginalized communities. Ochsner Health and Xavier again forged partnerships to improve health equity through new graduate programs in health sciences and the establishment of the Ochsner Health and Xavier University Institute for Health Equity and Research (OXIHER). A few years before, Xavier and Ochsner also worked to improve diversity within the health sciences through a memorandum of understanding to establish a new Physician Assistant (PA) Program. In May 2022, Ochsner and Xavier celebrated the first graduating class of 37 students in the full-time graduate PA Program, which leads to a master’s degree in health sciences.
“Ochsner has a long and rich history of excellence in medical education, and we are honored to continue our work with Xavier to improve the health of our state and region,” said Pete November, CEO of Ochsner Health. “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.”