NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — It will be the first HBCU medical school in the state of Louisiana.

“We will be relying on the hospitals and the clinical services for our students to train in diverse Ochsner campuses around the city and in the region as well,” said the President of Xavier University Dr. C. Reynold Verret.

Xavier University and Ochsner Health are teaming up to open a roughly $120 million medical school in the coming years.

“Schools like this will be moving the needle significantly,” Dr. Verret explained. Moving the needle on inequities in health. Right now, Louisiana ranks among the worst for it.

“One of the driving aspects of healthcare disparities is an issue of trust,” said Dr. Verret. “And trust doesn’t mean I have a physician that looks like me, but that in the clinic where I am, in the centers there are practitioners that look like me.”

Reports show only 5% of physicians nationally are African American. Having this center will help boost that number and provide the Big Easy with more physicians.

“This new med school will produce doctors that will ultimately work in this area,” said Congressman Troy Carter.

Leaders say this school will shape the health of the state for generations to come.

“You’re going to have more doctors and more opportunities for people to become doctors who then are going to provide healthcare to those who might not otherwise have healthcare,” said Senator Bill Cassidy.

Right now, there is no set date on when the medical school will open or where the school will be located.

Upon the historic announcement, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell released a statement, saying:

“Our historically black colleges and universities make great contributions to our city year after year. Specifically, Xavier is an exceptional institution that educates some of the best and brightest, repeatedly being recognized as a national leader in sciences and liberal arts. The formation of this partnership will further expand both New Orleans and Xavier as an academic center for the nation, building upon our rich community of higher education institutions and attracting students globally. It will also give youth in our community an aspirational goal that is within their reach.”

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