MISSION & VISION

Mission Statement
Meharry Medical College is an academic health sciences center that exists to improve the health and health care of minority and underserved communities by offering excellent education and training programs in the health sciences. True to its heritage, Meharry places special emphasis on providing opportunities for people of color, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and others regardless of race or ethnicity; delivering high quality health services; and conducting research that fosters the elimination of health disparities.

 

Vision Statement
To enhance our national reputation and expand our global reach as a quality-driven academic health center noted for its:

  • Leadership in diversifying the nation’s health professions work force;
  • Highly effective and innovative educational and training programs;
  • Enlightened health policy development and culturally-sensitive, evidence-based health services; and
  • Preeminence in focused research that leads to the elimination of health disparities.

 

Core Values

  • Excellence: consistently achieving outstanding levels of performance while upholding the highest standards of ethical behavior, intellectual honesty, and professional conduct.
  • Service: maintaining a nurturing and service-oriented environment that exceeds expectations and treats all people with compassion, dignity, and respect.
  • Accountability: accepting individual and collective responsibility for preserving and effectively managing the resources of the College.
  • Teamwork: encouraging, supporting and valuing the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff, and students to advance the quality of education, research, and patient care.
  • Innovation: promoting creativity and the development of ideas that stimulate improvements in our intellectual and operational endeavors.
  • Diversity: fostering ethnic, intellectual, social, and cultural diversity.
  • Community-focused: demonstrating our concern for the health care needs of underserved communities and advocating for local, state, and national health and public policies directed at improving the status of health of all individuals.

Our History

Meharry Medical College was founded in 1876 by Samuel Meharry and his four brothers in response to an Act of Kindness he had received on a Kentucky road one rainy night—a chance meeting now known as The Salt Wagon Story. In 1886, Dr. George Whipple Hubbard founded a department that would “provide the Colored people of the South with an opportunity for thoroughly preparing themselves for the practice of dentistry,” and Meharry’s dental program opened its doors to nine students, three of whom were physicians. The School of Graduate Studies and Research at Meharry Medical College began in 1938 as a series of short courses in the basic and clinical sciences; in 1947, a Master of Science Degree program was implemented as the first graduate degree, a Ph.D. program was established in 1972, and an M.D./Ph.D. program in 1982.

Meharry Today

Today, Meharry receives over 5,000 applications for admission to the M.D., D.D.S., M.S.P.H., and Ph.D. programs, providing opportunities for people of color, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and others, regardless of race or ethnicity, to receive excellent education and training in the health sciences and conduct research that fosters the elimination of health disparities.

Salt Wagon illustration

The Salt Wagon Story

In the 1820s, 16-year-old Samuel Meharry was hauling a load of salt through Kentucky when his wagon slid off the road into a muddy ditch. With rain and nightfall limiting his options, Samuel searched for help. He saw a modest cabin that was home to a black family recently freed from slavery. The family, still vulnerable to slave hunters paid to return freedmen to bondage, risked their freedom to give Meharry food and shelter for the night.

 

At morning’s light, they helped lift the wagon from the mud and Meharry continued his journey. The black family’s act of kindness touched young Meharry so deeply that he vowed to repay it. I have no money now, he said as he departed, but, when I am able, I shall do something for your race. Tragically, history never recorded the name of the courageous black family, and perhaps their identity even receded in the mind of Samuel Meharry as he grew prosperous in the years that followed.

 

Even so, 40 years later, as the Civil War ended and black citizens began their long struggle for rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Meharry seized an opportunity to redeem his vow. When leading Methodist clergymen and laymen organized the Freedmen’s Aid Society in August 1866, to elevate former slaves, intellectually and morally, Meharry acted. He and his four brothers Alexander, David, Hugh and Jesse, pledged their support to Central Tennessee College’s emerging medical education program. With $30,000 in cash and real property, the Meharry brothers repaid the black family’s Act of Kindness with one of their own. In 1876, they funded the College’s Medical Department, which evolved over time into what we now know as Meharry Medical College.

 

Today, the contemporary Salt Wagon image symbolizes those several acts of kindness and philanthropy and countless others performed by the College’s loyal supporters. Use the links at the left to learn more about our mission, vision, and how to be a part of it.