Wake Forest Baptist Health and Atrium Health have combined to form a single enterprise to enhance health care, medical education, innovation, research, and economic opportunity in Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and beyond.
The combined enterprise will be one of America’s leading academic health systems, with 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 care locations, serving more than seven million people across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. It will employ more than 70,000 individuals and include more than 3,500 students in over 100 specialized educational programs.
Atrium has already announced $3.4 billion in new investments in the Wake Forest Baptist system and the communities it serves to address needs over the next ten years. It includes the construction of a new care tower at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with an upgraded emergency department and enhanced operating rooms and intensive care units.
Funds are also being combined with private philanthropic support to accelerate the creation of a new Eye Institute in downtown Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter.
Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd (Hon), DFSVS, chief academic officer of Atrium Health Enterprise, said the impact of the strategic combination will be far-reaching.
“This commitment to grow our capabilities is part of what makes our strategic combination with Atrium Health so beneficial for our patients, our faculty and staff, and the communities we serve,” said Freischlag, who continues to serve as chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Not only will this improve care delivery, it will also have a tremendous, positive effect on our local and statewide economy. As we break new ground on buildings, we’ll also be able to break new ground in the areas of clinical care, education and research.”
There also are plans to build a second School of Medicine campus, to be located in Charlotte, with the primary campus remaining in Winston-Salem, and to invest in the Translational Research and Population Health Center in Winston-Salem, exponentially expanding access to thousands of clinical trials across the region.
“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,” Freischlag said.
Eugene A. Woods, MBA, MHA, FACHE, president and CEO of Atrium Health, said the combined enterprise will be life-changing for people in Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and across North Carolina.
“Throughout the process of joining together Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Atrium Health, we’ve worked hard to understand ways we can make a difference – to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing for all,” Woods said. “Part of that is making sure we make investments into the community and the infrastructure to ensure even better care, research, and education that will have a positive impact for generations to come.”