NEW ORLEANS -- Starting early next year, Tulane University medical students will be able to care for patients at Children's Hospital in New Orleans.

The two institutions agreed last week on a partnership allowing Tulane medical faculty and residents -- along with the students -- to start seeing inpatients at the hospital's Uptown campus as well as its network of clinics in the area.

"As part of a research-intensive medical school, Tulane doctors are dedicated to delivering the highest-quality patient care and translating the latest medical advances into clinical practice to help patients," said Lee Hamm, senior vice president and dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine -- the largest pediatric research organization in Louisiana.

"We are excited to join Children's Hospital in delivering comprehensive, cutting-edge pediatric care and are looking forward to working together to train the next generation of doctors in the region."

Tulane is the latest university partnership for Children's Hospital, which already had one giving LSU Health New Orleans personnel access to its facilities and patients. That partnership will continue with the new agreement, with students from both medical schools being able to access the hospital.

Children's Hospital CEO John Nickens IV praised the new partnership, saying it positions Children's Hospital as the finest pediatric healthcare destination in the region.

"We are thrilled to welcome the well-known pediatric academic program at Tulane to an already vibrant academic community at Children's," he said.

This agreement comes about a year after construction started on the hospital's $300 million expansion, which will provide more emergency examination rooms, an improved cancer center and a noticeably renovated main building at the state's only freestanding hospital for children.

When the project finishes in 2020, there will be 230,000 square feet of new hospital space for the students and hospital staff to work with, along with 100,000 square feet of renovated space.

"Children's Hospital, a founding member of our health system, has long shared Tulane's mission of academic excellence," said Greg Feirn, CEO of LCMC Health, the nonprofit which runs Children's Hospital, University Medical Center and New Orleans East Hospital.

"Through this collaboration, we are collectively providing the best possible training experience for the next generation of pediatricians, and strengthening our community, economy and health outcomes of our state in the process."