Morehouse School of Medicine – State of the School Address 2019

Morehouse School of Medicine – State of the School Address 2019


More than a medical school, Morehouse School
of Medicine is an innovative Health Sciences Center, making strides in education, research
and patient care. I’m interviewing Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice
today on the successes of Morehouse School of Medicine in 2018. Dr. Montgomery Rice, what is the focus of
the Morehouse School of Medicine now? So our focus now, Monica, is about innovation– innovation
in the sense that, you know, the challenges and the barriers to achieve in health equity,
are not new: lack of access, underinsured populations, lack of quality, competent providers,
culturally competent providers, the disparities that we see in diseases, the expansion of
health care to those populations that are in the greatest need, those are not new things. And so what we’ve been trying to do at Morehouse
School of Medicine, is to be more than just about access, but innovation against those
odds. And the way that we know to do that is to
think differently, to really begin to look at healthcare, and healthcare delivery with
the a different lens. We’ve always thought about it from the patient
point of view. But when you start to really bring in the
community, and to really understand what makes a community, then you can come up with different
solutions. Well give me an example of that kind of program. So our community health workers program. So one of the things that we recognize is
that care coordination is one of the biggest challenges to achieving health outcomes, for
an individual and for community. Most people think about care coordinators
as people who have to have a degree, like a nursing degree or medical assistance license. Well, what we figured out was that high school
students could be community care workers, community health workers. And so we started a program a couple of years
ago, with high school students, letting the high school student become what we call the
chief medical officer of the family. So we bring them here for a summer program,
and we teach them about health care, we teach them about diabetes, and hypertension, and
all other diseases that are common. Weight control, okay, all of those different
things, partner them with the primary care doctor, usually someone that’s in their fittest,
taking care of one of their family members, and then say to them, okay, what are the outcomes
that you would want your grandmother to have, or your sister, your brother to have who has
diabetes, etc. And they monitor that throughout the year. So we’ve given them some real life skills,
where they could really be seen as a chief medical officer of their family. And one day maybe a student here at Morehouse. Because you know, we’re always planting the
seed, we believe that you have to go back into the community to really make a difference. So when you look at our pipeline programs,
we are so excited about the partnership that we have with Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy,
we adopted that school about now four/five years, K-5, challenging in the sense that,
you know, there are some socio economically disadvantaged students. But what we know is that if you can show a
student what’s possible, then they can achieve. And so we have about 100 of our employees
who function as mentors were in that school every day, talking to those students about
what’s possible, helping them with math skills, reading skills; showing them what it looks
like to have a white coat on, and that they too can get that white coat. Well, you know, when you hear you talk about
innovation, most people think innovation has to do with technology, STEM, robotics. Yes. So we are into all of those things, okay? Because technology, to me, if you can democratize,
okay, meaning make technology available to everyone, we can change the life and the outcomes
for communities. And so what we’ve decided is that we’re going
to embrace technology. And we’ve done that with our robotics program. We have a leading robotics program now at
Grady Hospital, our primary teaching hospital, and we are now educated in training providers
who were not previously trained in robotics, but all of our residents and training and
surgery, every one of those surgery residents, will graduate certified in robotic surgery. So we’re excited about that. We’re also excited about our telehealth program. We launched that about a year ago. Now that at all of our clinical sites, we
also offer telehealth and so you can establish your first appointment with the doctor to
a telehealth visit, or you can continue your appointments with the provider to a telehealth
visit. That is amazing when you hear that. You know, you think about how you have changed
how people can interact with medicine, it makes it less scary. Makes it less scary, and you know what we
recognize that we have to meet patients where they are. And a lot of times, sometimes that’s through
a cell phone, right, because most people have a cell phone. Most people have some access to technology. And we know people have other things that
are going on in their lives. And so we need to make life and care delivery
more convenient for our patients. But you’re also expanding in other ways for
your students here at the Morehouse School of Medicine. You’ve produced some unbelievable physicians,
public health professionals, biomedical scientists, who are servant leaders. Yes And you are committed to always partnering
with communities as you talked about. But what’s new, also at Morehouse School of
Medicine, where you continue to prepare future health leaders for this changing world of
medicine. Well, one of the things that we’re really
proud of is that when I became the dean and Executive Vice President, our class size was
56 MD students, and we had about another 50 or so students in Master’s and PhD programs. And we were doing pretty well. I mean, we were 65% of our kids were choosing
primary care 60 to 70% were coming back and practicing in an underserved community. However when you look look at the needs of
just the state of Georgia, 119 out of 159 counties underserved, we knew that we could
have a greater impact if we expanded our class size. So that’s the first thing we did, we expanded
the MD program from 56 to 100, which we achieved in 2017. We increased our Master’s program, Master’s
of Public Health Program and our PhD programs by 20%. And this year, we are starting a Physician
Assistance Program. And we will enroll the first students in June
because we understand that care delivery is really a team sport. And so we know that if we started that program
that would give us a broader reach to make a difference. So do you have to be right here on campus
all the time? Not not not so, you do not have to be on campus. We have now really what several programs that
we are offering what we call the tele health tele delivery, you know people call them e
courses, people call them a lot of different things. But really they are the opportunity for people
to take courses online. Our Master’s program is our first one that
we’re kicking off, but we will eventually see multiple generations of our programs that
are going to be offered online. And some of them will be able to be acquired
through our certificate program. And some of them will be a full program. The one that we’re really looking forward
to jumping off is really our Master’s in Public Health, which will be a program for the executive
who is still trying to work full time and really wants to take this as an online program. That’s pretty exciting. Now, I mean, that’s expanding your students. But I’ve noticed when I drove over here today,
there’s some changes in the neighborhood right across the street, what’s going on over there
with expansion. So we’re excited about what we described as
our Westside Story. So you know, I sit on the board of the Westside
Future Fund. And I am so proud of the work that they have
continued to do to really be advocates for this Westside community. Great work. And so for Morehouse School of Medicine, to
be able to contribute to that has really made a difference. We were able to do a public private partnership
with Carter. And we have been able to now construct, it’s
in the process, a $52 million development that will have a 30,000 square foot ambulatory
care facility that will be available for our students and the students of the AU center,
but also be an outpatient Ambulatory Care Center. We will hope to have a why there on the first
floor open not just to our students, but the community. And then over 200 market rate apartments. Wow! We hope that most of our streets will live
in those apartments, but they will be open to the community to use also. So we think that this is how we contribute
to the economic development of the Westside. And we’re excited about it. That can change the whole economic base of
the Westside. Yes, yes, it will make a difference. And so as we said, we are contributing with
our Westside Story. Okay, I also know you’ve got a little scoop
you want to tell me about. Let me be the first to share this new information,
because we keep talking about expansion. But it’s no longer just expansion here in
Atlanta. It is not. So we have had the fortune to really have
connections with really sort of segments of the state of Georgia and Columbus, Georgia
has been one where Dr. Delmar Edwards was one of our founders, he actually was very
significant, in helping to start the school. Because of that, we were able to see a legacy
being developed of providers who were educated and trained at Morehouse School of Medicine
and going back to the Columbus area, but also of the connection of the providers who were
there understanding how important it was, for Morehouse School of Medicine to touch
people who were going to go back and practice in communities, we know that the highest chance
of somebody going and practicing in a community is that they were educated and trained and
had contact with that community or from that community. So we’re really excited about our regional
campus expansion to Columbus, Georgia. Yay! So we’re excited about that it will be a two
year campus where our third and fourth year students will spend part of their time, about
25% of our campus, where at one at any time will be there. And then we’re hoping to grow our GME programs
as well. You know, lot of times people don’t know about
the small communities, and the opportunities to really impact these communities. And what health care does, when you have a
provider there who can really extend the opportunities of achieving health. We know that when providers go into an area
though, not only do they improve the health care opportunities, they also improve the
economics of a community because they also have to bring in other people to support care
delivery. And it can change the economics of an area. And so we’re really excited that when we look
across the state of Georgia, you can see Morehouse School of Medicine graduates, whether they’re
from the MD program or the Master’s in Public Health, you can see them out in these communities,
these rural communities making a difference. Well that just you, I know, you’re not going
to tell me but I can foresee in the future there will be satellites of the Morehouse
School of Medicine Yeah. All over the state of Georgia. So Albany ought to get there. Get ready for us because we got our own them
next. Okay. We got our own Albany next. And really based upon again, we believe that
we can come there and contribute to that economic opportunities but also the healthcare delivery
opportunity. So we look forward to the partnerships that
we will form with Albany State University and, and the hospitals there to really make
a difference. That’s exciting. Yeah, we’re excited.

1 Comment

  1. Siddharth Kamath says:

    I Love Dr. Rice's commitment to making health care accessible to the entire community as well her innovative solutions to resolve health care needs!!! Keep up the great work, Dr. Rice!

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