In 1876, the Meharry Medical Department of Central Tennessee College admitted its first 11 students. Meharry’s first graduate, Dr. James Monroe Jamison, was the first African-American physician to formally be trained in the South. In 1915, the Meharry Medical Department received a separate charter to operate independently as Meharry Medical College. Until the civil rights movement Meharry and the medical school at Howard University trained the vast majority of African American physicians in the United States.
Recently, Meharry announced that it was laying off 55 employees. The layoffs were in executive and administrative ranks and did not include faculty. The medical school also stated that the layoffs would not affect the operations of the college’s teaching facility, Nashville General Hospital.
James Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College since 2015, stated in a letter to the college community that “the decision to eliminate these positions was not made lightly, and came after careful and thorough consideration of the resources Meharry requires to provide the best education to our next generation of physicians, dentists and researchers.” Dr. Hildreth added that the medical college had to “adjust our workforce to optimize our resources and align them to our mission.”
Before becoming president of Meharry, Dr. Hildreth was dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Hildreth is a graduate of Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As the first Black Rhodes Scholar from the state of Arkansas, he earned a doctorate in immunology at Oxford University.