About the School of Medicine

Our Mission

The School of Medicine is dedicated to the educational, intellectual, professional and personal development of a diverse group of exceptional students, faculty, residents and staff who are deeply committed to the study and practice of medicine.

Our Vision

To be a global leader in educating physicians to practice culturally sensitive, evidence-based patient centered care.

About the Meharry School of Medicine

Although a historically Black medical college, Meharry Medical College reflects the diversity of our nation with student-body representation from the Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and Native-American communities. The School of Medicine is proud to support the College’s mission statement by training new generations of health care professionals and serving as a national leader in community-based health care that focuses on patient care, AIDS research, public health, and medical education. We must persist in closing the gap in health disparities.


Meharry Medical College and The School of Medicine both began as a promise kept by Samuel Meharry in response to a kindness extended to him one rainy night in the 1820s. Meharrians know this account as The Salt Wagon Story. Today, more than 7,000 students apply for the 115 slots available for first-year medical students. While Meharry’s clinics provide $35 million in uncompensated care to patients each year, our faculty and students also actively serve the community through many programs involving mentoring, counseling, and volunteer work.


In fall 2018, Meharry Medical College launched its new curriculum called Next S.T.E.P. (Successfully Training Equipped Physicians) with the students in the Class of 2022. Meharry’s updated curriculum is based on a diagnosis-based schematic presentation where lessons are presented in the format of the 120 most common clinical problems encountered by physicians. Hallmarks of the new curriculum include decreasing the number of lectures and replacing them with active-learning strategies such as team-based teaching. The new curriculum is a hybrid that uses information from the previous curriculum, but changes the format in which the information is delivered. Meharry is the first HBCU medical school to adopt the new curriculum which merges clinical and basic science lessons.


In 2021, Meharry began to upgrade its student facilities by upgrading technology in classroom spaces and adding more student study spaces and relaxation areas. Click here to see a virtual tour of some of our upgraded spaces.



first operation at Meharry photo

In 1876, the Meharry Medical Department of Central Tennessee College admitted its first 11 students. Two faculty members, Dr. William J. Snead and Dr. George W. Hubbard, taught classes in the basement of Clark Memorial United Methodist Church. Within ten years, Meharry added programs for nurses and dentists and distinguished itself as the medical institution for people of color.


A few important milestones from this period:

  • Meharry Medical College was the first medical school in the South to offer four-year training.
  • Meharry’s first graduate, Dr. James Monroe Jamison, was the first African-American physician to formally be trained in the South.
  • Meharry’s first female graduate, Dr. Georgia E. L. Patton, received her medical degree on February 16, 1893.


At least 14 Black medical schools existed between 1865 and 1910, when Abraham Flexner released his critique of American medical training for the Carnegie Foundation. Known as the Flexner Report, it called for standardized and regulated practices in medical education. Meharry was one of only two African-American medical colleges to meet the academic standards of the Flexner Report. Five of the other schools closed after that.

School of Medicine in 1915 photo

By 1915, the Meharry Medical Department received a separate charter to operate independently as Meharry Medical College. That same year, the G.W. Hubbard Hospital Foundation, comprised of the wives, daughters, and sisters of Meharry faculty, raised enough money to erect Hubbard Hospital, honoring the College’s first president and dean. Dr. Hubbard remained president until his death in 1921.


The Meharry community has sustained, grown, and progressed thanks to the continued commitment of administrators, faculty, students, and alumni. A few visionaries who embodied and advanced the Meharry Mission Statement, particularly with regard to the School of Medicine, include:

Hulda Margaret Lyttle, ’12—Director of Nurses’ Training and Superintendent of Hubbard Hospital.

Dr. Matthew Walker, Faculty—Surgery Department Chair, established first surgical residency, and enlisted community support for what would become the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center in 1968.

Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown, ’48—First African-American woman to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and first to serve in the Tennessee State Legislature.

Dr. E. Perry Crump, ’41—Pediatrics Department Chair, premier researcher in premature births and mental disabilities; also studied the relationship between socio-economic factors and infant mortality
Dr. Harold D. West, 5th President—First African-American president (1952), first to synthesize a new isomer of Threonine; establishes Department of Psychiatry and Social Work; integrated the student body in 1957.

Dr. Lloyd C. Elam, 6th President—During his administration, 14 new facilities are built; Meharry becomes the first medical center in the nation to offer a comprehensive health care delivery system with teams headed by physicians and dentists; Ph.D. courses in pharmacology, biochemistry, and microbiology are established.

Dr. David Satcher, 8th President—During his administration, Meharry proposes merging Hubbard Hospital with Metro General and establishes our nation’s first Institute on Health Care for the Poor and Undeserved. Dr. Satcher served as U.S. Surgeon-General under Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Dr. John E. Maupin, 9th President—During his administration, Hubbard Hospital is renovated and became Metro General Hospital; Meharry’s Centers for Women’s Health and AIDS Research are established.

Educational Competencies

The educational competencies of the medical education program leading to the M.D. degree emphasizes medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and practice-based learning and improvement. The candidate for the M.D. degree will be required to show competence in each of these areas, as follows:

  • Normal biological and physiological processes of cells and tissues
  • Nature of various agent/mechanisms that produce changes to normal structure/function of cell.
  • Mechanism of action of drugs and the metabolic and toxic effects
  • Mechanisms of normal growth, development, and aging
  • Concepts related to normal behavior and mental illness
  • The scientific method and the ability to critically analyze data in the identification of disease/treatment
  • Determinants of poor health and the psychosocial, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to the development of common maladies
  • To obtain history and perform physical exam
  • To order and interpret results of diagnostic tests and evaluative procedures
  • To draw conclusions from history/physical exam to identify health problems
  • To develop and implement appropriate treatment plan for health problems
  • To formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis
  • To access and evaluate the correctness of clinical decisions and efficacy of therapeutic interventions
  • To adjust/modify treatment plan based on new information
  • To perform technical procedures specific to a specialty
  • Diagnose and participate in treatment of mental illness
  • Apply use of drugs in patient care
  • Apply psychosocial principles in delivery of health care
  • Apply principles of preventive and health maintenance in the delivery of health care
  • Interpret laboratory results in identifying diseases/health problem
  • Recognize normal growth and development
  • Apply principles of evidence-based medicine and critical data analyses to clinical decision making
  • Recognize patients with life-threatening conditions
  • Integrate basic sciences knowledge in the clinical assessments/management of patients
  • The knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to perform as generalist clinician.
  • Effective interpersonal communication with patients, family, and members of the healthcare team.
  • The ability to practice in a manner that reflects an outstanding and acceptance of ethical principles and other recognized standards of professional behavior which guide and characterize the actions of physicians
  • Knowledge of ethical principles related to research involving human subjects and the responsibilities of the physician
  • The ability to interact respectfully and effectively with patients, peers, and other healthcare workers from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds
  • The ability to show compassion and respect for the dignity of patients and confidentiality in the delivery of health care
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively within the larger context and system of healthcare
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various aspects of health care delivery systems including, the social, economic, and political dimensions
  • Apply principles of cost containment in the delivery of healthcare
  • Work effectively with healthcare teams to enhance patient care and safety
  • Continuing clinical proficiency and competency in medical practice through the utilization of acquired basic knowledge skills resulting from the process of lifelong learning
  • The ability to use information technology to access online information, manage information, and to critically evaluate evidence from the scientific literature in decision making patient care

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Meharry Medical College is an academic health 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.

Special Characteristics

The School of Medicine is the oldest and largest of the four schools at Meharry. It admits 115 medical students and trains over 100 residents annually. Its residents train in Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry, and Obstetrics/Gynecology.


In addition to offering the Doctor of Medicine degree (MD) to its medical students, the College trains graduate students for the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) and the Master of Health Sciences (MHS), offered through Meharry’s School of Graduate Studies and Research. Similarly, the College trains graduate students for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in the Biomedical Sciences. Finally, the College also offers the Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree (DDS) to its dental students.


The School is nationally recognized for its community-based and academic programs. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy and other national centers and programs have been established to address women’s health, sickle cell anemia, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, childhood obesity, cancer, kidney failure, aging, and molecular behavioral science.


Meharry’s student body reflects the diversity of the nation, with representation from the African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities. The majority of Meharry’s graduates keep the commitment of the founding fathers by practicing in underserved urban and rural communities. More than 50 percent of Meharry’s School of Medicine graduates have selected primary care fields of family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics as areas of specialization. Since 1970, Meharry has conferred more than 10 percent of the PhD degrees awarded nationally to African Americans in all of the biomedical sciences. Meharry continues to be proud of its leadership role in helping to ensure diversity in the nation’s health professions workforce.


Average Length of Enrollment

The School of Medicine has a four-year curricular program.


Evaluation System

The School of Medicine uses a letter grade system for both preclinical and clinical courses. Class ranking is typically not used.


Medical school requirements for successful completion of USMLE Steps 1, 2CK

Passage of USMLE Step 1 is required for promotion to the MS3 year. Passage of USMLE Step 2 CK are required for graduation.


Medical school requirements for successful completion of Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE)

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and standardized patients are utilized during the preclinical years for teaching and evaluating, interviewing, and physical examination skills, and at the end of the pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, internal medicine, and surgery MS3 clerkships. Students must also pass a fourth year, multidisciplinary OSCE prior to graduation.


The narrative comments in the MSPE can best be described as

Narrative statements included in the MSPE are edited for length and grammar, but not content.


Utilization of AAMC “Guidelines for Medical Schools Regarding Academic Transcripts”

Our MSPE is an accurate reflection of the student’s performance and it notes achievements, outstanding attributes and areas in need of improvement. Both preclinical and clinical faculty members assess each student in the area of professionalism. Our transcripts reflect utilization of “AAMC Guidelines for Medical Schools Regarding Academic Transcripts.”


Process of composition of the MSPE at Meharry Medical College

The information contained in this document is collected, reviewed and prepared by the Office of the Student and Academic Affairs – School of Medicine. Students are strongly encouraged to review their MSPE, correct any factual errors, but otherwise may not modify any content in the MSPE prior to transmission.