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Dignity Health Memorial Hospital Announced as Training Site for New Partnership to Expand Representation in Health Care

“More in Common Alliance” to address critical gaps in care by training more BIPOC clinicians.

BAKERSFIELD, CA (November 30, 2021) – CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine today announced Dignity Health Memorial Hospital as one of seven sites that will address two of the most pressing challenges in health care – a shortage of diverse clinicians and the need for more equitable health care. The announcement launches the first phase of the More in Common Alliance, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to increase cultural competency and expand representation to improve both access and quality of care patients receive.

“Memorial Hospital was chosen because of the opportunity to impact patient outcomes in the diverse community that we serve,” said Ken Keller, President and CEO, Memorial Hospital. “We are laying the foundation for patients to have more access to culturally competent providers and for underrepresented medical students, post-graduate residents and fellows to gain community-based experience that they need to be successful in their work.”

Announced in December 2020, the partnership between CommonSpirit Health and the Morehouse School of Medicine will increase medical education opportunities for more Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). More in Common Alliance was established as the partnership name because research demonstrates that patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences. Other first phase sites include undergraduate training opportunities at CommonSpirit hospitals in Chattanooga, Tenn., Lexington, Ky., and Seattle, Wash., and post-graduate residencies and fellowships in California in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Ventura County.

“We know that, statistically and anecdotally, patients have better outcomes when treated by a clinician who comes from a similar background,” said Morehouse School of Medicine President and CEO Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD. “Yet, in the medical field, there are far too few providers from underrepresented groups, and the impact that has on patient care is astounding. Through the More in Common Alliance, our aim is to change the math and the face of health care in the U.S.”

Memorial Hospital is currently in the process of establishing its program, which includes an application process with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and typically takes several years. With Morehouse School of Medicine as the program’s academic sponsor, post-graduate residents and fellows will benefit from training focused on addressing health inequities and underserved patients.

“Dignity Health’s Southern California Division, as part of CommonSpirit Health, trains nearly 900 post-graduate residents and fellows each year and we believe this number will grow through the More in Common Alliance,” said Gary Greensweig, DO, System Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Executive of Physician Enterprise at CommonSpirit Health. “We will expand upon our work with new opportunities that will build a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”

Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health are uniquely positioned to impact health equity through education and training opportunities, and improved access and care delivery. While there are 155 accredited medical schools in the U.S., Morehouse School of Medicine and the other three historically Black medical schools produce the majority of the nation’s Black physicians. CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest health systems in America comprised of providers such as Memorial Hospital, serves some of the most diverse communities in the country and is a leading provider of Medicaid services.

“The More in Common Alliance is the perfect example of what can happen when two health care organizations, devoted to the creation and advancement of health equity in underserved communities, come together,” Dr. Montgomery Rice said.

Learn more about More in Common Alliance:

About More in Common Alliance

The More in Common Alliance is a partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health. Morehouse School of Medicine is a historically Black medical school and one of America’s leading educators of primary care physicians, and CommonSpirit Health is one of America’s largest health systems with locations in 21 states from coast to coast. Knowing patients consistently fare better when treated by clinicians of similar backgrounds who share lived experiences, the More in Common Alliance seeks to address critical gaps in care by increasing cultural competency and expanding representation. Together, we are leading a 10-year, $100-million initiative to expand undergraduate and graduate medical education to build a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.

About Dignity Health Memorial Hospital

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is a 385 bed acute care medical center offering a full range of services including the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, Grossman Burn Center at Memorial Hospital, expanded maternity and family care, the Lauren Small Children’s Center including the area’s only dedicated pediatric emergency room, orthopedic services, wound care center, 24-hour emergency care and general/outpatient surgery. Memorial Hospital is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and is home to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House and Hope House. A member of CommonSpirit Health, Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1956. Learn more at

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit or call (404) 752-1500.



Publish date: 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Violeta Trujillo

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