Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), a historically Black university (HBCU) in New Orleans recently announced it will establish its own College of Medicine.
XULA, along with Howard University, sends the most Black students to medical school, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported. The fifth ranking HBCU according to U.S. News and World Reports, is partnering with Ochsner Medical Center, the number one hospital system in Louisiana, to establish a joint College of Medicine. In this regard, XULA joins Howard College of Medicine, Morehouse College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science as an HBCU with a graduate medical school.
Ochsner Health described Xavier University as a perfect opportunity to mentor African American students who have interests in becoming the next generation of doctors, physicians and healthcare professionals, which will ultimately bring more people of color into the healthcare profession and render community health mobility.
“For decades, Xavier University of Louisiana has produced more African American students and students of color who achieve medical degrees and doctorates in the health sciences than any other higher education institution in the nation,” a press statement from Ochsner Health read.
Under the College of Medicine at XULA, medical students are able to receive clinical training with the advantage of having access to both Ochsner and XULA’s resources and medical facilities. In turn, the organizations will have a hand in diversifying the nation’s healthcare workforce and possibly solving the shortage of physicians the U.S. will experience over the next 12 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Although XULA has not announced an official opening date of the College of Medicine, the university is eager for its development and plan to craft their joint Board of Directors from both the university and Ochsner Health to oversee the development of the future program.
When asking Sabrina Hussein-Echeverria, a Howard University freshman pre-med student, about XULA’s new graduate medical program, she said she believed it’s great for her and other Black students on the medical track to have the opportunity to be instructed by Black career professionals.
“I think learning under Black medical professionals is really important to me when I’m pursuing my degree; that’s why I chose to come to Howard for undergrad,” Hussein-Echeverria said. “I think that it’s really phenomenal that Black people continue to do really amazing things and give other Black people the representation that we really need, and now we have the opportunity to see ourselves in medicine… and go to school with other Black future doctors.”
She also believes the new medical program will offer additional opportunity for graduate medical training, as she hopes to become a future obstetrician.
Miracle Thomas, a third year Ph.D. student in physiology and biophysics at Howard’s College of Medicine, believes the new medical graduate program was a good move for Louisiana natives interested in medicine.
“It’s good that they are opening a medical school so that students that are from Louisiana can go to their medical school and won’t be far away from home,” Thomas explained.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee