Swanson Serves as Xavier University’s Representative on Organizational Committee Planning Gulf South’s First Historically Black College of Medicine

At a press conference on April 29, 2024, Xavier University of Louisiana, a leading institution in preparing Black undergraduates to successfully complete medical school, and Ochsner Health, the region’s leading academic medical center in training physicians, announced continued progress toward launching the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine (XOCOM). As reported by the Advocate, the institution, which will find its home downtown in Benson Tower, is set to be the first medical school in the Gulf South operated by a historically Black university and dedicated to advancing health equity and excellence. Partner Jim Swanson, who has served on the Xavier University Board of Trustees since 2017, was the school’s representative on the organizational committee during the planning stages of the partnership.

This historic Xavier-Ochsner collaboration marks a transformative time for the future of diversity in the medical field and the communities they serve. With the number of physicians across the country expected to decrease significantly over the next decade, XOCOM aims to “create a strong physician pipeline that addresses longstanding inequities within the nation’s health care system” and within Louisiana, in particular. Read Xavier’s most recent press release on the project here.

Building renovations, hiring, and accreditation processes for the new college are predicted to last until at least 2027. Upon completion, XOCOM will become only the fifth historically Black institution in the country that educates future physicians.

Xavier University currently graduates more Black scholars who go on to medical school than any other university in the nation, and—with the support of Ochsner—hopes to double that number soon. Research shows that Louisiana is projected to rank third nationally for a shortage of physicians by 2030, an issue that is expected to impact rural and underserved communities the most. Increased diversity in medicine has been shown to play a crucial role in bolstering health outcomes, as it improves quality of care and enhances patient trust.

In 2020, Swanson spearheaded the Xavier-Baylor College of Medicine Medical Track program, which aims to help remedy the chronic underrepresentation of African Americans in healthcare professions, and he was recently appointed to serve on the Baylor College of Medicine Board of Advisors. Click here to read more about Fishman Haygood’s community involvement.