Primarily Caring | Our West Side Story
How Morehouse School of Medicine Is Building Health Equity in Atlanta
When Morehouse School of Medicine President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., looked across the street from campus in 2014, she didn’t see just an empty patch of land. She saw possibility and an opportunity to address pressing needs, fulfill the institution’s crucial mission and help west-side Atlanta to thrive. This was shortly after she took on her role as the sixth president of MSM, and, at the time, that span of red clay served little purpose.
Meanwhile, MSM had no on-campus housing for its students, who lost valuable hours each week while commuting in Atlanta’s maddening traffic. Students at MSM, other students in the Atlanta University Center (AUC) and members of the surrounding community also lacked access to convenient, equitable health care. And the historic West End neighborhood, long central to Atlanta’s civil rights movement, needed further revitalization. So Dr. Montgomery Rice and her team set out to turn that patch of land into a vibrant mixed-use development that would bring housing, health and help to the long underserved West End community. Their plans became reality this year with the opening of Entra, a $25 million development led by Atlanta-based Carter and Atlantic American Partners at the corner of Lee and Park streets that includes 187 market-rate apartments, an ambulatory care center, a fitness center operated by the YMCA, 2,624 square feet of retail space and a four-level parking deck. “This is a game changer,” said Dr. Montgomery Rice.
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