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Kirstein named dean of Heritage College’s new northeast Ohio medical school campus

(ATHENS, Ohio – Oct. 1, 2013) Isaac J. Kirstein, D.O., FACOI, joins the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine as dean of its new campus in affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic on Oct. 1.

“We welcome our first class of students to this campus in July 2015, and we are fortunate to have Dr. Kirstein lead our efforts in northeast Ohio as we endeavor to address the state’s most pressing health care needs,” said Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., executive dean of the Heritage College.

“Our efforts in the development of this campus are part of our plan to evolve the model of training primary care physicians and in turn to transform the delivery of primary care. Isaac is a leader nationally in osteopathic medical education and a strong advocate for primary care,” Johnson said. “With his experience in developing education and patient care programs, he’s exactly who we need to guide the process and develop the many other partnerships necessary to make this vision happen.”

Dr. Kirstein, an internal medicine physician, is a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Advancement of Osteopathic Medical Education, a group organized by American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to develop an innovative model for physician education that is designed to address the primary care medical needs for the United States. He also serves on the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and the organization’s executive committee.

“The success in forming strategic partnerships with health care systems in the vanguard of care redesign is what is setting the Heritage College apart,” Dr. Kirstein said. “Innovating osteopathic education to meet the goals of dynamic health care systems is not just aligned with the Heritage College mission, it is the mission. What a great opportunity!”

Dr. Kirstein will lead college efforts on all aspects of building the new program, which will welcome its charter class of 32 medical students in July 2015. In May 2012, Cleveland Clinic became a preeminent partner to the Heritage College with an agreement to develop an extension of its medical school at Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital campus, with clinical experiences integrated throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system. The campus is being developed specifically to address the need for more primary care physicians in Ohio, particularly in urban underserved areas.

“Dr. Kirstein is a proven educator, leader and innovator,” said David L. Bronson, M.D., president of the Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals and Family Health Centers. “We look forward to working with him to develop an outstanding medical education program in northeast Ohio.”

Within the next decade, experts predict a national shortage of more than 45,000 primary care physicians, with residents of rural or inner city medically underserved areas feeling the greatest effects. As in the rest of the state, this shortage can already be seen in northeastern Ohio, an area with 176 federally designated primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas, 122 of which are in Cuyahoga County.

Dr. Kirstein is transitioning from his position as vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Franciscan St. James Health in Chicago Heights, Ill. Previously, he served as their director of medical education and chair of the clinical operations group. While at Franciscan St. James Health, he led the redevelopment of graduate medical education programs to meet the changing primary care needs of the community by expanding family medicine education and increasing patient access to care. As a member of the executive team, he helped to implement an electronic health records system and a new hospitalist structure that resulted in significant improvements in average length of stay and readmissions, enforced standards of the medical staff leadership and engaged chairs to be more accountable for patient safety.

From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Kirstein was responsible for all graduate medical education functions as associate dean of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he directed 14 residency-training programs with more than 175 residents. He was also chair of the Midwestern University Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institution’s Graduate Medical Education Committee for the Illinois region.

Dr. Kirstein earned his osteopathic medical degree from Midwestern University – Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1997 and completed his residency in internal medicine at Olympia Fields Regional Osteopathic Hospital and Health Center in Chicago, where he was chief resident. He has held leadership positions in several osteopathic medical organizations, including a term as president of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society. He was a Costin Scholar at the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society, and in 2011 he was named Educator of the Year at Franciscan St. James Health.

With 60 percent of Heritage College graduates staying in Ohio to practice, and 50 percent of all graduates practicing in family medicine, pediatrics and general internal medicine, the college is building upon its record of success with its new campuses in northeast and central Ohio.

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