NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee officials say a newly solidified partnership between Middle Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College will help address the state’s doctor shortage in rural areas.

Gov. Bill Lee joined other top state leaders on Thursday to announce that six MTSU freshmen students have been selected as the first participants in a state-subsidized fast track from undergraduate to medical school. The partnership was first announced in 2017.

Students will receive state-subsidized tuition and then commit to a two-year residency in a rural part of Tennessee. The students will attend three years of pre-med school at MTSU and then four years of medical schools training at Meharry.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee says he appreciates the state funding for the first six students and hopes to later expand the program.

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