Memorandum of Understanding to Improve Access to Dental Care in North Carolina

Dentistry Today


Meharry Medical College has signed a memorandum with understanding (MOU) with Fayetteville State University (FSU) to address the need for providing quality medical and dental care and skilled healthcare professionals for southeastern North Carolina.

“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 Medical College president and CEO James EK Hildreth Sr, PhD, MD.

“Working with FSU to prepare healthcare providers who will return to serve those in rural southeastern North Carolina is enormously important to the state, the region, and the nation,” Hildreth said.

The MOU 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 will address the medical needs of the community 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 of 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 product highly qualified medical professionals will be mutually beneficial not only to FSU but also to the people of Cumberland County,” Valentine continued.

“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,” Valentine said.

Meharry Medical College is the nation’s largest private, independent historically Black academic health sciences center. FSU is the oldest public historically Black college and university in North Carolina.

In addition to Hildreth and Valentine, the signing ceremony included Meharry School of Medicine interim dean Dr. Digna S. Forbes, Meharry School of Dentistry dean Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon, FSU provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs Dr. Lee Brown, and FSU interim dean of health, science, and technology Dr. Afua Arhin.

Guests included members of the boards of trustees of both institutions, members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, local and state government officials, faculty and administrators from Mehary, and students.

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