Wake Forest Baptist Health, Atrium Health merge with plans for new school of medicine campus in Charlotte

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health are merging, according to a news release.

The two companies, including Wake Forest School of Medicine, 42 hospitals and 1,500 care locations, combined under the name of Atrium Health.

“As the healthcare field goes through the most transformative period in our lifetime, in addition to a new medical school, our vision is to build a ‘Silicon Valley’ for healthcare innovation spanning from Winston-Salem to Charlotte,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of the new Atrium Health. “We are creating a nationally-leading environment for clinicians, scientists, investors and visionaries to collaborate on breakthrough technologies and cures. Everything we do will be focused on life-changing care, for all, in urban and rural communities alike. And we will create jobs that provide inclusive opportunities to enhance the economic vitality of our entire region.”

The Wake Forest School of Medicine will also open a second campus in Charlotte, which Atrium Health says is the largest U.S. city without a four-year medical school.

“With this combination, we are creating the future of medical education,” said Nathan O. Hatch, Ph.D., president of Wake Forest University. “As the only entity with two exceptional 4-year medical school locations in our region, we will become one of the largest educators of physicians and other medical professionals in the state – immediately educating over 3,500 total students across more than 100 specialized programs each year – while reducing the shortage of doctors in rural and under-served urban communities.”

According to Atrium Health, an independent economic analysis found that the combined company will directly and indirectly bring an annual economic impact of more than $32 billion and an employment impact of 180,000 jobs.

“The impact of the strategic combination will be far-reaching, elevating North Carolina as a clear destination of choice to receive medical care for people all across the nation,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Through our combined, nationally recognized clinical centers of excellence in multiple specialties, we will be able to expand our research in signature areas, such as cancer, cardiovascular, regenerative medicine and aging, and target bringing research breakthroughs to the community in less than half the time of the national average.”

Atrium Health says they will serve more than 7 million people across the region with more than 70,000 teammates providing care.

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