Louisiana university plans medical school

Xavier University of Louisiana, a Catholic and historically Black university in New Orleans, is planning a graduate school of health sciences and medical school. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more diversity among medical professionals, the university said in an April 21 news release. 

"Xavier was founded with the mission of promoting the creation of a just and humane society through education," Xavier President Reynold Verret, PhD,said in the release. "The establishment of graduate education programs dedicated to the preparation of more black healthcare professionals is a natural extension of our foundress' legacy as we approach our second century of service."

For many years, Xavier has been a national leader in producing African American students and students of color who earn medical degrees and PhDs in the health sciences, according to the release. 

Xavier's website said the university enrolled 3,384 students for fall 2020, which included 623 in the college of pharmacy, the oldest in Louisiana. Currently, the university's graduate degree programs include a physicians assistants program, a master's in public health program, speech pathology, pharmaceutical studies and health analytics.

"Now a school of medicine and health sciences at Xavier will advance that mission as the university guides and nurtures students from their undergraduate studies to their selected graduate programs," the release said. 

Xavier did not provide a timeline or cost for the medical school. 

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