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Meharry Medical College

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Private, HBCU


+1 615-327-5572

Number of students


75.2 million USD


Meharry Medical College

Former names
Medical Department of Central Tennessee College

United Methodist Church

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

1005 Dr D.B. Todd Jr Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208, USA

Notable alumni
Conrad Murray, Hastings Banda, Audrey F Manley, Robert Walter Johnson, Louis Pendleton

Fisk University, Vanderbilt University Medical, John A Gupton College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Tennessee State University

Moments from the 2016 white coat ceremony meharry medical college school of medicine

Meharry Medical College, located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, is a graduate and professional institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church whose mission is to educate health care professionals and scientists. Founded in 1876 as the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College, it was the first medical school in the South for African Americans, though not the first medical school for African-Americans in the nation.


Meharry Medical College was chartered separately in 1915. It is currently the largest private historically black institution in the United States solely dedicated to educating health care professionals and scientists.

Meharry Medical College includes a medical school, dental school and school of graduate studies and research. The degrees that Meharry offers include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.), Master of Health Science (M.H.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Meharry is the second largest educator of African-American medical doctors and dentists in the United States. Also, it also has the highest percentage of African Americans graduating with Ph.Ds in the biomedical sciences in the country.

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved is a public health journal owned by and edited at Meharry Medical College.


The college was named for a young Scots-Irish immigrant salt trader named Samuel Meharry, who was traveling through the rough terrain of Kentucky when his wagon suddenly slipped off the road and fell into a swamp. Meharry was helped by a family of freedmen, whose names are unknown. This family of freed slaves gave Meharry food and shelter in the night. The next morning they helped him to recover his wagon. Meharry is reported to have told the former slave family, "I have no money, but when I can I shall do something for your race."

In 1875, Samuel Meharry, together with four of his brothers, donated a total of $15,000 to assist with the establishment of a medical department at Central Tennessee College. With the contribution of the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church North, George W. Hubbard and John Braden, an English Methodist cleric, were able to open the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College in 1876. The first class had one graduate. The second class, which had its commencement in 1878, had three graduates. In 1886, the Dental Department was founded, followed by a Pharmacy Department that was founded in 1889.

Among the second class of graduates was Lorenzo Dow Key, the son of Hillery Wattsworth Key. Key, together with Braden, was one of the founding members of the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North. The church had split into Methodist Episcopal Church North and Methodist Episcopal Church South on the issue of slavery and was not reunited until 1939.

In 1900, Central Tennessee College changed its name to Walden University in honor of John Morgan Walden, a bishop of the Methodist Church who had ministered to freedmen. In 1915, the medical department faculty of Walden University received a separate charter as Meharry Medical College. It included the departments of pharmacy and dentistry. The Medical College remained in its original buildings, and Walden University moved to another campus in Nashville. Hubbard served as Meharry Medical College's first president until his death in 1921.

After Hubbard's death, Meharry Medical College presidents have included:

  • John J. Mullowney (1921–1938),
  • Edward Lewis Turner (1938–1944),
  • M. Don Clawson (1945–1950),
  • Harold D. West (1952–1966),
  • Lloyd C. Elam (1968–1981),
  • David Satcher (1982–1993),
  • John E. Maupin (1994–2006), and
  • Wayne J. Riley (2006–2013)
  • A. Cherrie Epps (2013-2015)
  • James E.K. Hildreth (2015-present)
  • Research Centers

  • Asthma Disparities Center
  • Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences
  • Center for Women's Health Research
  • Clinical Research Center
  • Export Center for Health Disparities
  • Meharry Center for Health Disparities Research in HIV
  • Sickle Cell Center
  • BS/MD Program

    Seven universities are involved in a partnership with Meharry to help recruit and prepare their pre-med students to enroll at Meharry. The seven universities are Alabama A&M University, Albany State University, Fisk University, Grambling State University, Jackson State University, Southern University, and Tennessee State University.


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