Tennessee State and Meharry Medical College Debut an Accelerated Degree Program

Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College, two historically Black academic institutions in Nashville, have announced a new partnership focused on establishing a pipeline of African-American doctors and dentists who will provide essential care to underserved communities. The initiative is named after one of Tennessee State University’s most distinguished graduates, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., an internationally renowned cardiac surgeon.

The late Dr. Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He was also a pioneer in civil rights at Johns Hopkins University. He fought to diversify the medical staff and student ranks at the hospital. Dr. Watkins was the first African American graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He died in 2015.

The new Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Medical, Dental Accelerated Pathway Program seeks to reduce the amount of time it takes students to enter medical school. The traditional four-year bachelor’s degree will become a three-year program. Students will spend three years in the pre-med program at Tennessee State University before going on to study medicine or dentistry at Meharry. The result is total completion in seven years, instead of the customary eight years.

“African Americans continue to be underrepresented in medical schools,” said Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University. “This partnership will help level the playing field, and give them better opportunities that they so deserve. We look forward to working with Meharry Medical College to produce African American physicians, and dentists, who will serve the communities that need them most. Even more, we’re so proud to have the initiative named after the esteemed Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., one of our own. He was a game changer, and so is this partnership.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs