(ATHENS, Ohio — July 25, 2015) A former top federal health care
official offered three bits of practical advice Saturday to members
of the incoming class at Ohio University’s Heritage College of
Osteopathic Medicine. Speaking to a class of 240 matriculated
medical students – the largest class in the college’s history –
Marcia Brand, Ph.D., former deputy administrator of the U.S. Health
Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), suggested they
cultivate three qualities: “Be confident; be flexible; be kind.”
At Saturday’s event in the Ohio University Convocation Center, the
medical school welcomed its class of 2019 – the first in its history
to represent its three campuses in Athens, Dublin and Cleveland.
Last summer, the college opened a campus in Dublin; earlier this
month, students began classes at a third location on the campus of
Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights.
Through its three campuses, the Heritage College now is prepared to
enroll a class of 240 medical students each year – 140 in Athens, 50
in Dublin and 50 in Cleveland.
Within the next decade, experts predict a national shortage of
more than 45,000 primary care physicians. The 20 percent of
Americans living in rural or inner-city primary care Health
Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) will be hit the hardest,
according to the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for
Workforce Studies. The Heritage College’s expansion into central and
northeast Ohio, along with its partnerships with OhioHealth and
Cleveland Clinic, is intended to address the need for more
first-line physicians and for providing care where it’s needed most,
in underserved urban and rural communities throughout the state.
“In its nearly 40-year history, the Heritage College has been a
beacon of hope for this region, for the state of Ohio, for the
nation and for the world,” said Ohio University President Roderick
McDavis, Ph.D. “With the opening of its new campuses in Dublin last
summer and in Cleveland earlier this month, the Heritage College is
extending its good work even further.”
Brand, who served as deputy administrator of HRSA from 2009
through early 2015, was keynote speaker during Saturday’s event and
received the 2015 Phillips Medal of Public Service, the college’s
highest honor. This award recognizes those who have made outstanding
contributions in health care, education and/or public service.
She told the new students that, having shown the talent and
commitment needed to be accepted into the Heritage College, they
should be confident they can succeed there. Flexibility, she said,
will be a crucial attribute for men and women becoming physicians
“at a time of incredible transition… The science, settings and
manner in which we deliver care, and the way we pay for it, are all
changing rapidly – perhaps faster than ever before.”
Brand gave most attention, however, to her third piece of advice
– “Be intentional about being kind.” She advised the students to
make a practice of reminding themselves of the need for kindness
before speaking to patients or trying to work out disagreements with
“I know this sounds a little simplistic,” she admitted. “But I
know that it works, helping to calm and center yourself and
improving your interactions.”
Also during Saturday’s event, each incoming medical student
received a white coat, symbolic of their status as
physicians-in-training. With the Heritage College’s focus on
training physicians to meet the most pressing health care needs of
citizens in Ohio, 98 percent of the incoming class members are from
in-state, 26 percent are members of under-represented groups, and 23
percent are first-generation college students in their families.
Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., thanked
the new medical students for trusting the college’s vision as it has
grown from one campus to three. “Looking at all these new student
doctors who will be receiving their white coats today, it’s hard to
believe how far we’ve come since our first class of 24 medical
students began their studies just across the street almost 40 years
ago,” he said.
Isaac Kirstein, D.O., dean of the Heritage College, Cleveland,
assured the group that students from all campuses would be integral
to the college’s success. “You are all pioneers who will play an
important role in helping us blaze the way during this monumental
period of growth for the Heritage College,” he said.
The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a
leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are
prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state
and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni
practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio.
CARE LEADS HERE.