Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine Will Be Based at Benson Tower

NEW ORLEANS – Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health have announced that the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine (XOCOM) will operate out of Benson Tower. 

“With the establishment of the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine, Ochsner and Xavier aim to address long-standing health disparities and foster stronger, healthier communities in pursuit of the mission to promote a more just and humane society gifted to Xavier nearly 100 years ago by our foundress, St. Katharine Drexel and her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana, in a press release. “Our partnership with Ochsner affirms our commitment to advancing health equity and excellence. XOCOM will provide cutting-edge medical training and biomedical research and, through a culture of mentorship and leadership, empower our students to be agents of change in healthcare.”

At a XOCOM signing celebration on April 29, Xavier and Ochsner officials announced that Dr. Leonardo Seoane, executive vice president and chief academic officer of Ochsner Health, will serve as the new HBCU medical school’s founding dean. 

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 “Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine was born from a truly collaborative vision between Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health. It epitomizes our collective dedication to providing academic excellence in training the next generation of physicians, while fostering healthcare equity in New Orleans and throughout the United States,” said Seoane. “By addressing the critical shortage of physicians in standing up this HBCU medical school in the Gulf South, XOCOM will pursue diversity in medicine and ensure equitable representation in healthcare to better serve our communities for generations to come.”

The announcement follows votes by the Xavier University of Louisiana board of trustees and the Ochsner Health board of directors in February to approve the formation of the new medical school. 

On Monday, officials announced XOCOM’s founding board of directors, which includes Xavier and Ochsner appointees.

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Board members include Verret; Pete November, CEO of Ochsner Health; Trevonne M. Thompson, associate dean of admissions, University of Illinois College of Medicine; Matthew Block, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Ochsner Health; Gary C. Butts, executive vice president, diversity, equity and inclusion, Mount Sinai Health System; Veronica Gillispie-Bell, Ochsner; Gregory N. Rattler Sr., managing director, JP Morgan Chase; and Deborah Grimes, senior vice president and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Ochsner Health.

XOCOM will be the only Historically Black College and University medical school in the Gulf South when it opens.

“Ochsner Health is committed to meeting the needs of the diverse communities we serve, and we are honored to continue our work with Xavier University of Louisiana to improve the health and wellbeing of New Orleans, our state and region,” said November. “By providing excellent training to more diverse physicians so they may better serve our communities, we are not only investing in the future of healthcare, but also in the long-term prosperity and wellness for our many neighbors, friends and family members throughout the Gulf South.”

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