Background and History

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In the fall of 1998, Dr. John Maupin, President of Meharry Medical College, and Dr. Harry Jacobson, Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs and Director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, began informal talks to explore opportunities for a mutually beneficial collaboration. A series of meetings at both campuses was held with chairs from the Schools of Medicine departments.

Both Meharry and Vanderbilt had existed since the mid-1870s, but they were completely separate. There were brief interchanges from time to time, and a few faculty from both campuses would teach or conduct joint research programs. However, there was little or no interchange otherwise.

With the changing patterns of healthcare, managed care, increasing costs, more specialization of clinical care and the need for collaborative efforts, Maupin and Jacobson set about determining the areas of common interest between the institutions. After nearly a year of faculty meetings, it was determined that there were areas of common interest to be explored. Collaborative areas included:

  • undergraduate medical education, with a focus on the clinical years for senior electives and third-year clerkships
  • shared residency training programs
  • shared library services and informatics
  • joint research and research training programs
  • collaboration with community partners, focusing on care to the uninsured, poorly insured and underserved populations

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance opened on Jan. 2, 1999, under the leadership of Dr. Clifton K. Meador. Dr. Meador served as Executive Director until he retired in 2012. A search committee with members from both institutions was formed just before his retirement to recruit the Alliance’s next leader. Dr. Consuelo H. Wilkins was announced as the new Executive Director, and she began in June 2012, leading the new focus of the Alliance in Community Based Research.