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Ohio University, Heritage College launch Early Assurance Program

New initiative aimed at addressing shortage of primary care physicians practicing in Ohio

Building on its nearly 40-year history of educating physicians committed to practicing in the state, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has launched a new program that allows outstanding high school seniors to apply for medical school admission prior to starting their undergraduate coursework.

Designed to attract students from throughout Ohio who have demonstrated academic potential, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance Program (EAP) is a partnership between the Heritage College and Ohio University. The program, which begins with students enrolling at OHIO for the fall of 2014, is the Heritage College’s latest initiative aimed at increasing the number of future primary care physicians practicing in Ohio.

Healthcare experts predict a national shortage of more than 45,000 primary care physicians within the next decade. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified more than 63 percent of Ohio’s 88 counties – including many underserved rural and inner-city communities – as Health Professional Shortage Areas.

“Since its founding in 1975, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has been committed to excellence in patient care and to addressing the current and future healthcare needs of our state and our nation,” said Kenneth Johnson, D.O., executive dean of the Heritage College. “Approximately 50 percent of our alumni practice primary care and nearly 60 percent have chosen to practice in Ohio, making us uniquely positioned to help address the projected shortage in primary care physicians. With the addition of the Early Assurance Program, we look to broaden our reach throughout Ohio and, in particular, into the state’s underserved Appalachian and urban communities.”

The state’s only osteopathic medical school, the Heritage College leads all Ohio medical schools with the highest percentage of graduates practicing in primary care and remaining in the state to practice. In March 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Heritage College 11th in the nation for producing primary care physicians.

Under the EAP, highly talented high school seniors interested in applying for undergraduate admission to Ohio University and wanting to continue their post-undergraduate education at the Heritage College may apply for early admission to the medical school. EAP candidates must be Ohio residents; have been admitted to the University by Dec. 1 or applied to OHIO’s Honors Tutorial College by Dec. 1; have an ACT composite score of at least 28 or an SAT combined math and critical reading score of 1250 to 1280; carry a minimum accumulative high school GPA of 3.5; and have completed four years of math, science (including chemistry, biology and physics), and English by the time of high school graduation.

A maximum of 12 students will be accepted into the program each year. Qualified students who have applied for the program that begins in the fall of 2014 will be invited to an on-campus interview in February and will be notified of their acceptance into the program by March 31.

Students admitted to the Heritage College through the EAP will have the MCAT medical school admission requirement waived and will have access to additional resources throughout their undergraduate years. EAP students will engage in clinical observations with physicians to gain further insight and experience into a career in primary care medicine and will be connected to current Heritage College students. They will also be invited to Heritage College programming and activities designed to provide a firsthand look into the medical school experience and to adapt to the Heritage College culture and community.

Some students accepted into the EAP will have the option of earning their undergraduate degree from Ohio University and their doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Heritage College in as few as seven years. EAP students in the Honors Tutorial College and students pursuing an undergraduate degree in biological science, chemistry or biochemistry through OHIO’s College of Arts and Sciences may enroll in the EAP’s 3+4 track, which allows students to receive credit for the fourth year of their undergraduate degree upon completion of the first year of medical school.

Over the past several months, the Heritage College has entered into similar EAP partnerships with Ohio Dominican University, Baldwin-Wallace University, Otterbein University and John Carroll University. These partnerships, coupled with the opening of the Heritage College campuses in Dublin in the fall of 2014 and in Cleveland in the fall of 2015, are designed to increase the pipeline of primary care physicians throughout Ohio.

“It’s a particularly exciting time to be a part of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. “Our medical school has always been dedicated to addressing the state’s most pressing healthcare needs by recruiting students from Ohio and creating opportunities to practice in Ohio. These Early Assurance Programs are yet another step in creating opportunities for some of Ohio’s finest aspiring physicians while providing an essential service to the state of Ohio.”

For more information on the EAP, visit www.ohio.edu/admissions/eap.