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Atrium And Wake Forest Officially Merge

A rendering of the new Wake Forest School of Medicine at Atrium Health. A location has not yet been announced.
Courtesy Atrium Health
A rendering of the new Wake Forest School of Medicine at Atrium Health. A location has not yet been announced.

Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, including Wake Forest School of Medicine, announced Friday that they are officially merging, paving the way for a medical school in Charlotte.

The planned partnership was first announcedlast year and Atrium CEO Eugene Woods shared renderingsof the future medical school building in August. He did not specify where in Charlotte the new school would be located.

The Charlotte area is the largest metro area in the country without a medical school. North Carolina currently has five medical schools: in Chapel Hill, Durham, Greenville, Winston-Salem and a school of osteopathic medicine at Campbell University in Harnett County.

The medical school is expected to work with 3,500 students in more than 100 specialized programs. Woods said in August that the consulting firm Tripp Umbach estimated the new school will bring 20,000 jobs to Charlotte and have a $2.5 billion impact.

Woods was named president and CEO of the new combined hospital system, which now encompasses 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 care locations across North and South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine, will be the chief academic officer for Atrium Health.

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.