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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Health Science Center says it is looking at expanding its program in Nashville.

The Tennessean reports UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab said in a statement that the institution, which is based in Memphis, is eyeing "a major construction project" that would bring allow it to attract more medical students to Middle Tennessee.

The aim is a satellite campus in Nashville in partnership with Saint Thomas Health that would be located on six acres near Saint Thomas West Hospital. If the UT Health Science Center Nashville Campus gets approval, the university would invest up to $40 million.

Jessica Wells, vice president for medical education and research for Saint Thomas Health and an assistant dean for graduate medical education at UTHSC, said the training program would serve aspiring doctors and dentists, advanced practice nurses and other health providers.

She said the number of residents at Saint Thomas Health hospitals is expected to increase from about 32 to about 200 over the next three year.

"It just became the right time and the right place to really take a good look at our partners and how we can grow together," Wells said.

The Nashville satellite will not affect the Memphis campus, which has served as home to the University of Tennessee's medical school for 103 years, according to a top official.

"In fact, it increases our reach and makes us stronger both in Memphis and statewide," Ken Brown, UTHSC executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer, said in a statement.

"UT's responsibility is to serve people across the state of Tennessee but the nucleus of the UTHSC campus will remain here in Memphis," he said.

"This expansion enables us to make a greater contribution to the health care workforce across the state — in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga."

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