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The inaugural class at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Dublin began classes on the new campus July 9

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

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Bill Burke, D.O., dean of the Heritage College, Dublin, talks with students during their first day on the new campus

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

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The Dublin class of 2018 poses behind from left, Greg Morrison, M.D., and Doug Knutson, M.D., OhioHealth; Terri Donlin Huesman, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation; Ken Johnson, D.O., executive dean; Rick Vincent, OHF; and Bill Burke, D.O., dean

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

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The Heritage College launches new Dublin campus


Reaching the goal took a record-setting financial gift and more than three years of concerted effort by countless hands. But on Wednesday, July 9, it finally happened – the first class of medical students sat down to classes on the new Dublin campus of Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“We’ve been working so hard on this,” said Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., as he welcomed the site’s inaugural class of 50 students Thursday. “This campus is made possible through collaboration and teamwork.”

The location is the first additional campus for the Heritage College since its founding in 1975, and the first regional campus Ohio University has opened since 1957, when the Eastern campus opened in Belmont County.

The Heritage College, Dublin, was made possible in part by the transformational $105 million gift in 2011 from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. At the time it was the largest single gift ever made to an Ohio college or university and the largest gift to support primary care education. The funding was meant to address some of the state’s and the nation’s biggest health-care problems, including a looming shortage of primary care physicians.

Of the 50 incoming Dublin students, all but two are from Ohio. "We are training students from the area who will stay in the area to service the medical needs of communities in central Ohio," said William Burke, D.O., dean of the Dublin campus. Dublin students will spend all four years of medical school in central Ohio.

Dublin student Samuel Nobilucci, a longtime paramedic and a former clinic manager for OhioHealth, is a resident of the tiny village of Johnstown, Ohio, who wants to both study and practice in the region where he grew up. “One of my main reasons for choosing the Dublin campus was my connection to central Ohio,” he said.

He said he’s thrilled to be part of the inaugural class for the new campus, which represents an opportunity to plant a stronger community of osteopathic physicians in central Ohio. “We really have a chance to start something here, and be in on the ground floor of something that years from now can blossom into something fantastic,” he said.

Both Nobilucci and Hannah Logsdon, another member of the first class in Dublin, are living embodiments of the Dublin campus’s mission – Ohio residents who want to stay and practice medicine in central Ohio.

Logsdon, an Akron resident who recently married a man from Mansfield, said the central Ohio site was an obvious choice for her, since she hopes to find a residency in the area and ultimately practice in the region. She said an extra bonus is the Columbus-area medical community, which is “just so nice and tightly knit.”

Several events brought members of the central Ohio medical community to the new campus during its opening week, including a Wednesday evening picnic sponsored by the Columbus Academy of the Ohio Osteopathic Association and a Thursday morning welcome that introduced students to the college’s major partners in the venture, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and OhioHealth.

“On behalf of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, we’re just so proud of this campus and Dr. Johnson, the entire faculty and Dr. Burke,” said Richard Vincent, OHF president and CEO. “What a great experience for you all. Make us proud.”

Representatives from OhioHealth – the Heritage College’s pre-eminent education partner at Dublin – added their chorus welcoming the new students.

Vice President of Medical Education Doug Knutson, M.D., told the students that the role of the physician has changed drastically since his student years. Today’s physician, he said, must be both more team-oriented and more tech-savvy than past generations.

“I didn’t learn much about being on a team when I was in medical school, but you guys are going to learn a lot about teamwork because in order to keep our population well, it takes a team of people,” Dr. Knutson said. “You also have to be a master of finding information in an age of technology. The good news about that is you’re in excellent hands.”

Greg Morrison, M.D., OhioHealth’s vice president for educational partnerships and professional diversity, spoke of the “creative destruction” that is remaking the health-care industry and higher education, and pushing medical schools like the Heritage College to grow and adapt. “Some colleges will probably not be around when the creative destruction finishes,” Morrison predicted. “But many of them will probably be better.”

The new Heritage College, Dublin, campus, he suggested, will help the students play a key role in “leading the ongoing transformation of health care.”

Earlier in the week on the Athens campus, Dr. Johnson told the 50 Dublin students –and their 140 classmates enrolled at Athens – that they were part of a momentous transformation. “I believe that you are pioneers; you are truly pioneers,” he said.

He challenged the students to be one class even though they are on two campuses – with a third campus set to open in Cleveland next July. “I am asking for your feedback as we grow to ensure a successful integration of the campuses,” Dr Johnson said. “You will be a big part of that success, as you develop and share ideas for making this experience better – ideas that we haven't even thought of yet.”

The Heritage College, Dublin, includes 63,000 square feet of space across three buildings and sits on a 14.8 acre site purchased from the city of Dublin in 2012. The city also gifted Ohio University 46 adjacent acres for further development.

The Heritage College, Dublin, project, budgeted at $24.7 million, included $11 million to buy the site; $8.5 million for work by Pepper Construction of Ohio; $2.2 million for BHDP Architects and related expenses; and $3 million for furniture, fixture and information technology-related costs. Ohio University Facilities Planning and Space Management managed the project.