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Sunday, June 20, 2010

HBCUs best at training doctors serving the poor

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveled that medical schools at historically black Morehouse, Meharry, and Howard Medical schools ranked first, second, and third in a study of 141 training institutions that produce the highest percentage of physicians practicing in under served communities.

The study was conducted from 1999 to 2001 by a group of George Washington University researchers led by Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D. and rated the schools in "social mission" categories - the percentages of graduates entering primary care practice, working in areas with shortages in health care providers and serving underrepresented minorities.

Harvard, widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious medical school, was 67th; John Hopkins was 122nd, and the University of Pennsylvania was 29th. Vanderbilt, a top-tier southern school, ranked next to last. No highly ranked school was included in the top 10.

Morehouse, only 35 years old, presented its first class of graduates in 1985.

Reached in his Washington, D.C. office, Mullan said the data was "a bit of a surprise for some people, but we thought we should be upfront and not set the black schools aside with any asterisks that would say, 'Yes, they did well in these categories, but ... '"

Mullan's team didn't use its findings to recommend what other colleges should do to improve their scores, he said, "because they all have different missions; some may choose to say 'This is our mission, and we're fine with it,' but we asked all of them to take a look at the findings and spend some effort to consider or reconsider their mission."

Medical schools, Mullan reminded the study's readers, "are the only institutions in our society that can produce physicians; yet assessments of medical schools, such as the well-known U.S. News & World Report ranking system, often value research funding, school reputation and student selectivity factors over the actual educational output of each school, particularly regarding the number of graduates who enter primary care, practice in underserved areas and are under-represented minorities."

Meharry's president, Wayne C. Riley, said the study's results demonstrate "that there are 20 institutions that excel in training physicians who are African-American, Latino and Native American, and that at the top of that list, graduating students at a much higher rate, are historically black medical schools."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

City Council gives thumbs up to new Hampton U dinning hall

The Hampton City Council voted 6-0 to grant Hampton University a use permit for a new $25 million, 115,000-square foot dining hall to serve the campus.

The use permit was granted with five conditions. These include that the sole use of the building will be as a student dining hall and there can be no third-party rental of the building.

Outdoor lighting should face downward to avoid glare to neighboring properties.

According to Joy Jefferson, HU's associate vice president for development, Hampton University will break ground on the waterfront property as soon as it raises the money to build the facility.

The new dining hall will replace the "big caf" and "small caf" eateries in Virginia-Cleveland Hall, a which was built in 1874 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Architectural renderings of the project show a futuristic building with brick and curved glass on the front and an all-glass back facing the Hampton River on Queen Street.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuskegee president likely to extend stay for a month

Tuskegee University president Benjamin F. Payton has decided to extend his stay by at least a month while the University searches for his successor.

Payton said the June 30 deadline marking his retirement from the presidency isn’t as set in stone as once believed. “I put a date on the wall,” Payton said. “I told them June 30, but then I considered staying until July 31.”

Though his bags are mostly packed – moving trucks have been seen at Grey Columns – Payton is likely to remain at TU in either an interim or advisory role after the June 30 deadline. Rumors suggest the candidate chosen to replace Payton in the presidency is not yet available to assume the role, though these are unconfirmed at this time.

In fact, the announcement Payton could remain is the only information about the search straight from the horse’s mouth. The TU Presidential Search Committee, headed by board chair Andrew Brimmer, announced at the onset of the search nothing would be released until the end. They weren’t kidding.

Payton did say he and his wife, Thelma Payton, will leave Tuskegee for houses in New Jersey and Florida.

“We’re going to run away from the hurricanes to New Jersey and away from the snow to Florida,” Payton said.

In its 128 years of existence, TU has had only five presidents – Payton, being the fifth, is serving in his 28th year. He announced his intention to retire in March 2009.

“I’m sure whatever decision is made, it will make for a smooth transition,” Payton said. “Things are going to be fine, it’s just going to take a little bit of getting used to.”