Meharry Medical College holds 140th Annual Convocation

Mayor Barry and Dr. James Hildreth at Metro Council Meeting.

Mayor Barry and Dr. James Hildreth at Metro Council Meeting.

Mayor Megan Barry will serve as the keynote speaker at Meharry Medical College’s 140th Annual Convocation. Barry was elected Nashville’s mayor in September, and will be joined by Meharry alumni, students, faculty, staff, and supporters to launch the new academic year in the Cal Turner Center on Monday, October 12 at 10:00 am.

Established in 1876, Meharry Medical College, a United Method Church-affiliated institution, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. Of its more than 6,000 medical and dental alumni across the country, 81 percent practice in underserved rural and urban communities.

This year’s Convocation is the first to be presided over by James E.K. Hildreth, M.D.,Ph.D., who joined Meharry as its 12th President and Chief Executive Officer in July. An accomplished researcher and academic administrator, Hildreth came to Meharry after serving as dean of the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, and founding associate dean for Graduate Studies and professor in pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to these positions, he was an integral part of Meharry’s faculty and founded its Center for HIV/AIDS Health Disparities Research.

At Convocation, Hildreth and Barry will officially initiate the academic year for future physicians, dentists, researchers, and health policy experts to continue

their educational pursuits. Meharry’s researchers generate new knowledge, perform innovative investigations, and mentor students pursuing degrees in Meharry’s School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, and School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Research at Meharry is focused on eliminating health disparities that disproportionately affect people of color and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Researchers at Meharry are pioneering innovations to address the biological, behavioral, molecular, environmental, social, and other factors that contribute to the disproportionate burden of poor health care outcomes in minority and underserved populations.

The four signature areas of research at Meharry are: cancer, HIV/AIDS, molecular and behavioral neuroscience, and women’s health. Researchers at Meharry conduct bench to bedside to community research, which leads to improved patient care and the development of new treatments. Their research facilities include research cores which provide state of the art technology, advanced expertise, and teaching of technologies to faculty, research staff, and trainees.

In order to know where you’re headed, you need to know where you’ve been. For Meharrians, their journey began nearly 200 years ago. Samuel Meharry and his four brothers officially founded Meharry Medical College in 1876, but the College’s story actually began in response to an Act of Kindness received on a Kentucky road one rainy night during the 1820s—a chance meeting now known as The Salt Wagon Story. This act of reaching out, reaching back, and propelling others forward illustrates the model for the entire Meharry Experience, including their approach to a professional medical education.

In addition to providing quality professional health care education, exemplary patient care, and compassionate community outreach, Meharry Medical College produces the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, a public health journal.