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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
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Osteopathic Heritage Foundation gift will fund integrated research facility at Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 23, 2005) -- The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation (OHF) of Columbus, Ohio, announced grants totaling $11,461,289 to Ohio University for osteopathic medical education programs and a research facility. The foundation has awarded more than $15 million to the university since 1999.

A $10 million contribution will support the design, construction, and acquisition of equipment for an Integrated Research Facility at Ohio University. The facility will bring together the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM), the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering & Technology and other Ohio University colleges in a 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility for the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, and treatment paradigms.

The foundation also approved $1,461,289 in research funding for OU-COM over the next five years to establish a central research office for the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education ($777,618), conduct interdisciplinary neuromuscularskeletal research ($397,421), and establish infrastructure for diabetes education, research and physician training ($256,250).

"This significant commitment is a demonstration of the foundation's support of the science of osteopathic medicine, its recognition of the value of osteopathic healthcare as well as the recognition of Ohio University and the OU College of Osteopathic Medicine," said OHF President and CEO Richard A. Vincent. "This investment is important for the State of Ohio as it will enhance the educational as well as research processes, resulting in even more highly-trained and qualified osteopathic physicians who not only will care for Ohio residents, but also advance the science of osteopathic medicine and medicine in general."

The Integrated Research Facility project, which is contingent upon additional funds being attained by Ohio University, will cost an estimated $30 million, with additional funds coming from the university and private donors -- including $5 million committed by the Russ College and the $5 million gift from alumnus Charles R. Stuckey Jr., BSME '66 and his wife Marilyn that launched this building project. The facility could open by the end of 2008.

"We are deeply grateful to the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation for its enthusiastic commitment to osteopathic medical training at Ohio University. The Integrated Research Facility will enable osteopathic medical students to engage in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "The strengthening and expansion of our osteopathic medical and bio-engineering programs with this new facility will substantively advance research and research education and training capacity. It is an investment in the future of the osteopathic medical profession and the future health and well-being of the communities we serve."

In the Integrated Research Facility, proximity, specialized equipment, shared laboratory and meeting spaces, high-speed Internet, and sophisticated computer workstations will enhance and accelerate collaborative research efforts. "The facility will promote partnerships by eliminating traditional academic silos and co-locating multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers working toward common research goals," said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin.

As part of an effort to engage in more multi- and interdisciplinary research, OU-COM, in collaboration with the Russ College, College of Health & Human Services, and College of Arts & Sciences, received approval in 2004 as one of three University Research Priority grants. As a result, the university has committed $10 million to support the biotechnology initiative over the next six years. This university endeavor, which will be housed in the new facility, will fund interdisciplinary research and clinical outreach projects, purchase of major equipment, and new faculty hires to advance basic research into commercial biotechnology products and better inform best practices in healthcare and health care education.

"The ultimate goal of the Integrated Research Facility project is to improve the health and quality of life of the community-at-large, and specifically Appalachian Ohio, by focusing research efforts on diseases endemic to the region," said Vincent. "Additional beneficiaries include the medical, engineering and other students and their faculty mentors."

Within the facility, the university and its collaborative colleges will expand and enhance research and research training. The new facility will enable the university to:

  • expand the quality and quantity of interdisciplinary research at Ohio University and
  • develop new diagnostics, therapeutics, and treatment paradigms.

"The true beneficiary of the work to be performed in the Integrated Research Facility will be members of the community-at-large who will be the recipients of enhanced diagnostics, improved and efficacious treatments and cures," said OU-COM Dean Jack Brose. "The facility will provide the means and opportunity for multidisciplinary teams of clinicians and scientists to work together in shared research spaces on collaborative research projects."

The Integrated Research Facility also will incorporate community learning and teaching spaces. Reflecting a learning-centered concept, the design is sensitive to a variety of learning styles in order to encourage individual exploration, teamwork, and conversation.

"In addition to significant healthcare outcomes, the facility and associated research projects will provide invaluable research and research training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and medical students," said Irwin. "By working with multidisciplinary research teams, students will gain unique insights into the entire research experience, from the preliminary thesis, through discovery and development, to production and implementation."

The Columbus-based Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, which has approved funding awards in excess of $68 million since 1999, supports health and quality of life issues in central Ohio through targeted initiatives. It is also the nation's pre-eminent foundation supporting osteopathic medical education and research. The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville supports health and quality of life issues in southeast Ohio. Additional information about the foundation is available online at www.osteopathicheritage.org.

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Media Contacts: Vice President for University Advancement Leonard Raley, (740) 593-0061, or Director of Development Communication Jennifer Bowie, (740) 597-2987

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