Live-changing combination between Wake Forest Baptist Health, Atrium Health, and Wake Forest School of Medicine

Next-Generation Academic Health System Becomes a Reality

A new era of healthcare has been ushered in as Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, including Wake Forest School of Medicine, officially joined together as a single enterprise, Atrium Health.

Brilliant minds are coming together to advance life-changing care, an unrivaled approach for life-changing results. Medical education transforms, research expands - care is enhanced for your life. Your community will benefit. So will your children … and their grandchildren.

Because we believe when it comes to health, no one should settle for anything short of life-changing.

Read our latest news release

Rendering of school exterior.

A preliminary concept rendering of the new Wake Forest School of Medicine campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, which would be part of a strategic combination between Charlotte-based Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem.

Immersive learning with virtual reality and augmented reality technology.

As part of a strategic combination between Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, medical students in the future will learn in an advanced simulation center at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, employing the latest virtual reality and artificial intelligence technologies to advance medical science.

Here’s what’s to come:

The Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health combination will enhance care, transform medical education and create economic opportunity for countless lives in North Carolina and beyond.

Care

Together, we can solve legacy healthcare challenges of cost and rural access by marrying our strong foundation in virtual care technologies with state-of-the-art shared facilities that deliver quality care close to home.

Research

An expanded Innovation Quarter will catalyze life-saving, life-improving healthcare innovations. As a result of this collaboration, the enterprise will attract a broad range of investments with an economic and employment impact that is projected to triple in the next 20 years.

Education

As one enterprise, we can chart the future of medical education, decrease or eliminate medical school debt, increase the number of providers and their diversity while, simultaneously, improving access in rural and underserved communities.

Innovation

Combining our talent and resources, we can become a nationally ranked, top 10 medical research center in signature areas, with a focus on regenerative medicine and aging.

Our leaders are united.

Eugene A. Woods.

Eugene A. Woods
President and CEO
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. We intend to create a nationally-leading environment whereby clinicians, scientists, investors and visionaries can collaborate on breakthrough technologies while developing new cures – so all individuals can reach their highest potential for health in urban and rural communities alike. And in the process, we will create the type of jobs that provide inclusive opportunities and enhance the economic vitality of our entire state and region.”

Julie Ann Freischlag.

Julie Ann Freischlag, MD Chief Academic Officer, Atrium Health
CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Health
Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine

“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. 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.”

Nathan O. Hatch.

Nathan O. Hatch, PhD President
Wake Forest University

“With this combination, we are creating the future of medical education,” said. “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.”

Edward J. Brown III, Chair, Atrium Health Board of Commissioners

Edward J. Brown III
Chair
Atrium Health Board of Commissioners

“Today marks the beginning of a new era to transform healthcare, and with it an obligation to do so. With our expanded capabilities combined with an industry leading leadership team, we are better positioned to address societal inequities and fulfill our mission of improving health, elevating hope and advancing healing - for all.”

Bill Warden

Bill Warden
Chair
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Board of Directors

“Healthcare will be rapidly changing and evolving for the foreseeable future. Academic medical centers should lead the way to provide better and more effective healthcare. The combination of Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health creates an academic medical center with the potential to be a national leader in research, education and the innovative delivery of healthcare which our communities need and deserve. It is an exciting and rewarding time to be part of this enterprise.”

Don Flow

Don Flow
Vice-Chair
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Board of Directors

“The investment and increased opportunity in research, innovation and medical education in both Winston-Salem and Charlotte will make it possible for us to improve healthcare on a new scale, and to better serve patients and families at Wake Forest Baptist Health and beyond with new diagnostics and treatment.”

Our community's with us.

We’re not the only ones excited by the potential impact of this incredible vision. Hear what some of the brightest leaders across our region and nation have to say.

This new School of Medicine and Innovation District will be the most transformative initiative in the history of Charlotte.

Hugh McColl, former Chairman and CEO of Bank of America

One of the best investments we can make is in the health of our citizens, including the most vulnerable among us. North Carolina has a proud and rich history of leading the nation in its ability to deliver outstanding academic healthcare, and it just got better.

Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, former president, University of North Carolina

This game changing combination is the catalyst for investments in talent and innovation which will fuel economic momentum for Innovation Quarter and Winston-Salem. This knits together the clinical and research assets of two powerful engines and will raise the stature of Wake Forest University and our region across the globe.

Stan Kelly, President & CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership

The combined entity brings us to the cusp of an important goal – a consumer-centric, evidence-based care delivery system that produces better outcomes and powerful innovations. It’s an exciting opportunity to create a best-in-class care delivery model that can enable large-scale improvement in the health of our community, our region and across the nation.

Susan DeVore, President and CEO, Premier Inc.

Easy access to high quality, affordable healthcare is critical to our ability to attract and retain the best talent. Having these two great systems come together will drive improvement in the quality of care, innovation, research and affordability.

Brian Moynihan, President and CEO, Bank of America

This combination fills so many needs. We’ve needed a 4-year medical school in Charlotte for decades. The economic opportunity it brings, combined with Atrium Health’s tremendous leadership, expertise and compassion for those who are less fortunate, it truly will have a positive impact on our city for generations to come.

Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte

Having a strong academic medical center is a core component of a strong local economy. Our research has shown that, based on academics alone, the enterprise’s future growth will attract a broad range of companies over the next 20 years, with a projected annual economic impact of $7.6 billion and 63,000 high-paying jobs by 2040.

Paul Umbach, Founder and President, Healthcare Consulting Firm Tripp Umbach

Today represents an important step forward in the strategic partnership between Wake Forest and Atrium Health, two cornerstones of health care in North Carolina. This partnership will be a game changer for North Carolinians and allow our state to continue improving health outcomes and drive economic development opportunities in the Piedmont and Charlotte.

Thom Tillis, United States Senator, North Carolina

I am excited about the possibilities offered to Winston Salem from this agreement. It appears that it will result in net new job growth for our communities and significant capital investment.

Allen Joines, Mayor of Winston-Salem

Scale has become a critical characteristic in building the healthcare system of the future. Scale is essential for creating advanced clinical care tools, developing necessary technology, improving the healthcare experience for diverse communities and having the required resources to meet the extraordinary challenges of the current pandemic. The partnership between Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist is a superlative example of two successful organizations joining together to assemble scale for the benefit of the North Carolina patient community.

Kenneth Kaufman, Managing Director, Kaufman Hall

The prospects of our region becoming a “Silicon Valley” for healthcare opens endless opportunities. This combination sets the table for not only enhanced patient care, but also strengthening an already attractive business climate that will serve as a magnet for innovative talent and companies to call our community home.

Janet LaBar, CEO, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Watch the announcement.

Learn more.

Where can I find more information?

Questions may be sent to BestCareForAll@atriumhealth.org.