Meharry and Fayetteville State University sign memorandum of understanding to address medical and dental needs

Meharry president, deans watch FSU MOU signing via Zoom

Meharry President James E.K. Hildreth Sr., Ph.D., M.D., participates in signing of the agreement with Fayetteville State University as deans watch via Zoom. Left to right: School of Dentistry Dean Cherae M. Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S., MSPH, FACD, FICD; Theodora Pinnock, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric medicine; Dr. Hildreth and School of Medicine Dean Digna S. Forbes, M.D.

October 23, 2020—Meharry Medical College, the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health sciences center, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today with Fayetteville State University (FSU), the oldest public historically Black college and university (HBCU) in North Carolina, that will address the need for providing quality medical care and skilled health care professionals for southeastern North Carolina. The virtual signing event was held this morning on both campuses.

The MOU signing ceremony included President and CEO of Meharry Dr. James E.K. Hildreth Sr., FSU Interim Chancellor Peggy Valentine, Interim Dean of the Meharry School of Medicine Dr. Digna S. Forbes, Dean of the Meharry School of Dentistry Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at FSU Dr. Lee Brown and Interim Dean of Health, Science and Technology at FSU Dr. Afua Arhin.

Guests included members of both institutions’ Board of Trustees, members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, local and state government officials, faculty and administrators from Meharry and students.

“We applaud Fayetteville State University for taking this important step in educating and training a new generation of physicians and dentists for the communities they serve,” said Meharry President and CEO James E.K. Hildreth Sr., Ph.D., M.D. “Working with FSU to prepare health care providers who will return to serve those in rural southeastern North Carolina is enormously important to the state, the region and the nation.” The Memorandum of Understanding between Meharry and FSU is only the start of improving the quality of life for individuals and families living in this part of North Carolina, Hildreth said.

The partnership between Meharry and FSU will address the medical needs for community members by:

• Establishing and implementing a 3-plus-3-plus-3 program (three years for pre-med from FSU, three years of medical school at Meharry and three years residency in Cumberland County)
• Establishing and implementing a pre-dental track for students interested in dentistry
• Establishing and implementing a rural training track residency program in southeast North Carolina
• Implementing an Innovation and Partnership Core Unit within the Office of the Provost

“We are so pleased to be entering into this partnership with Meharry Medical College,” said FSU Interim Chancellor Dr. Peggy Valentine. “Working with an institution of Meharry’s caliber to produce highly qualified medical professionals will be mutually beneficial not only to FSU, but also to the people of Cumberland County. We know that this part of the state needs more physicians and dentists of color to serve residents who are disproportionately affected by health disparities. FSU is glad to be doing its part in addressing this critical need.”

About Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health sciences center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church related institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Meharry is a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit to learn more.

About Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina System and the second-oldest institution of higher education in the state, having been founded in 1867. FSU is a historically Black university offering degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,700 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. To learn more about Fayetteville State University, visit