Frank W. Myers, D.O., who served as dean of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine for much of its first two decades, passed away on Monday, Nov. 19.
“Before there was a Heritage College, Dr. Myers was working to realize the mission for which it was created,” said Ken Johnson, D.O., Heritage College executive dean and Ohio University chief medical affairs officer. “He played such an important role in taking the college from vision to reality, and then guiding it through its formative early years. All of us who share in his commitment to transforming primary care physician training and improving health care access are in his debt. It was my honor to present him with a Trillium Award four years ago in recognition of all he’s contributed.”
Myers, trustee professor emeritus of family medicine at Ohio University, was a longtime advocate for primary care-focused osteopathic medical education and helped create the medical school in 1976. He served as the college’s second dean, taking over from founding dean Gerald Faverman in 1977 and serving until 1993.
Before that, as the college’s first associate dean for curricular affairs, Myers played a major role in developing the clinical content for the first-year curriculum. During his 16-year tenure as dean, he oversaw the development of the college’s statewide network of teaching hospitals, which has since evolved into the Clinical Education Network, and the college’s earliest clinical training and assessment center, which was only the third such facility at a U.S. medical school at the time.
Under Myers’ leadership, the college’s class size increased from 24 to 100. During his time in office, he also greatly expanded our faculty practice plan into a multi-specialty outpatient clinic, then known as the Ohio University Osteopathic Medical Center, as a means to provide more care to the region. This practice today is part of OhioHealth Physician Group Heritage College.
Myers’ voice was known to hundreds of thousands of listeners from his work as resident medical expert on “Family Health,” a radio program that began in 1981 and was carried for more than 30 years by hundreds of stations around the United States, as well as the Armed Forces Radio Network. He also led development of a companion project, the “Family Medicine” newspaper column.
“Dean Myers was an inspiring leader and a true pioneer in medical education,” said Jack Brose, D.O., dean emeritus and professor of family medicine , who served as dean from 2001 to 2012. “Our College's focus on quality and innovation began under his leadership and persists today. I will miss him as a mentor and friend.”
Charles A. “Chip” Rogers Jr., director emeritus of external relations, began working at the college at the same time as Myers, He said that as dean, Myers worked hard to establish and maintain a familial atmosphere at the school and to build bridges among its various personnel. This included starting – and funding – a social activities committee, whose purpose was to hold get-togethers and encourage fellowship. The group continues to host social events today.
“He took any opportunity to bring people together,” Rogers said. “He tried to be cohesive and inclusive about his deanship. I always admired that, because an organization that is splintered does not work very well.”
Before joining the medical college, Myers was an osteopathic physician in general practice in northern Ohio. In 1973 the Ohio State Society of the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery named him co-recipient of its General Practitioner of the Year award.
He had dedicated much of his career to that point to enhancing osteopathic medical education through his active involvement with the American Osteopathic Association, the Ohio Osteopathic Association, the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, and the Cleveland Academy of Osteopathic Medicine. He worked to improve health care access in underserved areas and to encourage newly trained D.O.s to practice in Ohio.
In 1993 Myers received the college’s Phillips Medal of Public Service, and in 2014 he was presented with a Trillium Award by Executive Dean Johnson, in recognition of his forward-thinking efforts in establishing the college as a leader in primary care medical education.
Condolences can be sent to Lorraine Myers, 1792 Brookshire Road, Akron, OH 44313.
A memorial service will be held in Athens in January. The family asks those who would like to participate in the ceremony by sharing their professional or personal recollections to please contact Hallie Myers Bowie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330.329.6901.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in Frank Myers' name be made to Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio or the Ohio Osteopathic Scholarship Fund, PO Box 8130, Columbus, OH 43201.