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Location Of Charlotte’s New Medical School Revealed

An artist's rendering of Charlotte's new medical school by Ayers Saint Gross.
Atrium Health
An artist's rendering of Charlotte's new medical school by Ayers Saint Gross.

A new four-year medical school will be located on 20 acres just outside uptown Charlotte, Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods announced on Wednesday. The school will be called Wake Forest School of Medicine-Charlotte and is a partnership between Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest University.

Woods said the school’s campus will be built on a plot of land along McDowell and Baxter streets, not far from Atrium's flagship hospital, Carolinas Medical Center. Construction is expected to begin in early 2022, and the Charlotte location plans to host its first class of students in 2024. In August 2020, Woods said that the medical school was expected to work with 3,500 students in more than 100 specialized programs.

"Because it's right off of I-277, I believe it will become an iconic addition to the Queen City skyline," Woods said Wednesday.

The consulting firm Tripp Umbach estimated the new school will support roughly 63,000 jobs and have an annual economic impact of $7.6 billion by 2040, according to a presentation by Woods.

Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, including Wake Forest School of Medicine, officially merged in October 2020. They first announced the planned partnership about two years ago.

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.

Charlotte 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.

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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.