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September 5, 2007

Medical Education in Post-Katrina New OrleansA Story of Survival and Renewal

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana (Drs Krane and Kahn); Louisiana State University School of Medicine at New Orleans (Dr DiCarlo).

JAMA. 2007;298(9):1052-1055. doi:10.1001/jama.298.9.1052

The most costly national disaster in US history occurred on August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf coasts, and the ensuing breaches in the New Orleans levee system resulted in flooding of approximately 80% of the city.1 The survival of Tulane University School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine at New Orleans (LSU), both located in downtown New Orleans, was severely jeopardized as every major educational and teaching facility flooded following the storm, closing both undergraduate and graduate medical training programs. However, both schools quickly moved their educational programs to new locations and reestablished training for students and residents 1 month later. Tulane and LSU have now returned their educational programs to New Orleans despite faculty losses, closure of some traditional training hospitals,2 and a diminished population of greater New Orleans. The ability of both schools to survive and thrive has significant long-term implications for the delivery of health care in the region and the ability to train future physicians for the state of Louisiana.

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