News and Information

December 1, 2021

Virginia Mason Medical Center Announced as Training Site for New Partnership to Expand Representation in Health Care

“More in Common Alliance” to address critical gaps in care by training more BIPOC clinicians

CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine announced Virginia Mason Medical Center as one of seven sites that will address two of the most pressing challenges in health care – a shortage of diverse clinicians and the need for more equitable health care. Virginia Mason Medical Center will offer undergraduate training opportunities for medical students.

The announcement launches the first phase of the More in Common Alliance, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to increase cultural competency and expand representation to improve both access and quality of care patients receive.

“Virginia Mason Medical Center was chosen because of the opportunity to impact patient outcomes in the diverse community that we serve,” said Dr. Ryan Pong, vice president and chief academic officer at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “We are laying the foundation for patients to have more access to culturally competent providers and for underrepresented medical students, post-graduate residents and fellows to gain experience in our community that they need to be successful in their career.”

The program at Virginia Mason Medical Center will begin training undergraduate Morehouse students in July 2022. The program will host three students every month for four-week rotations. Rotations will include anesthesiology, urology, and system-based practice – an elective that introduces students to the Virginia Mason Production System and education in quality and safety systems and practices.

Announced in December 2020, the partnership between CommonSpirit Health and the Morehouse School of Medicine will increase medical education opportunities for more Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). More in Common Alliance was established as the partnership name because research demonstrates that patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences. Other first phase sites include undergraduate training opportunities at CommonSpirit hospitals in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lexington, Ky., and post-graduate residencies and fellowships in California in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Ventura County.

“We know that, statistically and anecdotally, patients have better outcomes when treated by a clinician who comes from a similar background,” said Morehouse School of Medicine President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. “Yet, in the medical field, there are far too few providers from underrepresented groups, and the impact that has on patient care is astounding. Through the More in Common Alliance, our aim is to change the math and the face of health care in the U.S.”

“CommonSpirit Health trains nearly 900 post-graduate residents and fellows each year and we believe this number will grow through the More in Common Alliance,” said Dr. Gary Greensweig, System Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Executive of Physician Enterprise at CommonSpirit Health. “We will expand upon our work with new opportunities that will build a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”

Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health are uniquely positioned to impact health equity through education and training opportunities, and improved access and care delivery. While there are 155 accredited medical schools in the U.S., Morehouse School of Medicine and the other three historically Black medical schools produce the majority of the nation’s Black physicians. CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest health systems in America comprised of providers such as Virginia Mason Medical Center, serves some of the most diverse communities in the country and is a leading provider of Medicaid services.

“The More in Common Alliance is the perfect example of what can happen when two health care organizations, devoted to the creation and advancement of health equity in underserved communities, come together,” Dr. Montgomery Rice said.

Learn more about More in Common Alliance: www.moreincommonalliance.org

About More in Common Alliance

The More in Common Alliance is a partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health. Morehouse School of Medicine is a historically Black medical school and one of America’s leading educators of primary care physicians, and CommonSpirit Health is one of America’s largest health systems with locations in 21 states from coast to coast. Knowing patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences, the More in Common Alliance seeks to address critical gaps in care by increasing cultural competency and expanding representation. Together, we are leading a 10-year, $100-million initiative to expand undergraduate and graduate medical education to build a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, ``MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit www.msm.edu or call 404-752-1500.

About CommonSpirit Health

CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 by Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. With its national office in Chicago and a team of over 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit operates 140 hospitals and more than 1,500 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2021, CommonSpirit had revenues of $33.3 billion and provided $5.1 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at www.commonspirit.org.

About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is an integrated health system serving the Puget Sound region of Washington state, offering access to some of the country’s most prestigious experts and hospitals that are internationally known for superior quality. With a team of 18,000 team members, including nearly 5,000 employed physicians and affiliated providers, we unite the brightest health care minds in the region to provide world-class clinical excellence at 11 hospitals and nearly 300 sites of care throughout the Puget Sound area. We are proud to be the home of Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS, and Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research. We embrace our community’s uniquely vibrant, active culture by providing holistic, personalized, and patient-centered care. We are committed to caring for the most vulnerable in our communities, including the poor and underserved, providing more than $300 million in community benefit – free, subsidized, and reduced cost health care and programs.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health was formed in 2021 by bringing together two leading health systems in Washington state. Our family of hospitals includes Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle; St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; St. Michael Medical Center, Silverdale and Bremerton; St. Anne Hospital, Burien; Rehabilitation Hospital, Tacoma; and Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, Tacoma. Learn more at www.vmfh.org.