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Dean touts triumphs, promises ‘unbelievable’ future

State of College address outlines goals in Vision 2020

Despite uncertainty about state funding, the future of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine promises dramatic changes and advancements, Dean Jack Brose, D.O., said during his annual State of the College address.

“We are just on the cusp of starting something that will be truly transformational for this college. I think when you look at this college five years from now, you will not recognize it as what it is today,”  said Brose, who also said that the next two years could be
“truly amazing, as amazing as the last
10 years have been.”

After highlighting many leadership, research and other accomplishments of college students, faculty and staff during the past year, Brose outlined the goals of the Vision 2020 plan.

The plan’s origin, Brose explained, came from a discussion with OU-COM’s major benefactor, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, and has been under development for the past year. It reflects suggestions and ideas generated by the OU-COM community and its partner organizations, including more than 300 people with a personal interest in the college and the profession, Brose said. “Many of our best ideas came from the people in the OU-COM community,” he said.

The plan, which remains under development, outlines bold initiatives to be accomplished over the next 10 years in the major areas of:  research, campus and curriculum, and clinical and community services.

A major priority is research, Brose said, and the plan includes the recruitment and development of nationally prominent researchers. Some of the components of the research initiatives in Vision 2020 include creating a nationally renowned diabetes center; creating an internationally prominent institute in neuromusculoskeletal research; and continuing to grow cancer research efforts. As part of these initiatives, the college looks to create an endowment to support future growth in these areas of research.

As the  the new Academic Health Center at Ohio University becomes a reality, the college will develop interdisciplinary graduate programs, eventually allowing medical students to graduate with an additional graduate level degrees, Brose said.

“We want to become the regional and national center for research and for research training,” said Brose. “We want to become the focus of osteopathic profession and a focus for the entire medical profession.”

“If you want to learn how to do research, if you are a faculty person out there and you develop an interest in research, come to us and learn how to do research.”

Other research goals include the creation of a clinical and translational research facility in Athens and the development of infrastructure necessary to transfer therapeutic discoveries to companies that can market such technology, Brose said. 

Brose also called for the creation of an Appalachian Research Consortium among osteopathic medical schools in the Appalachian region of the country to focus on medical research that impacts these populations. “The type of treatment that works in cities doesn’t necessary work in Appalachia. You have to have a different way of doing things.”

One of the most ambitious aspects of Vision 2020 involves new thinking about the college campus and its curriculum, in response to the urgent need for additional physicians in the workforce. Ideas brought forth in the group discussions include the creation of off-campus training sites for OU-COM, Brose said. “We are landlocked here, and we can only increase our size so much without doing major renovations of our clinical facilities. It is our idea to work with our clinical sites and to have our program here in Athens and elsewhere around the state,” he said. “We might have all four years in places other than Athens. We have already started that process of exploring this option.”

Other priorities include continued efforts surrounding patient-centered medical homes and new curriculum specialty tracks in research, primary care, rural health and global health, the dean said. Also important is the development of a department of medical informatics.

Another priority is to increase endowments for scholarships or develop loan repayment programs through partnerships with other health care organizations. These efforts will enhance our competitiveness in recruiting standout, diverse students who are interested in becoming primary care and rural physicians, which is in line with the college’s mission, he said.

Finally, the third part of Vision 2020 regarding community and clinical care proposes that Athens becomes a regional medical center with state-of-the-art facilities for diabetes care and post graduate medical education staff by of faculty experts, which would include the creation of new positions, to support such a goal, Brose said. An additional goal for the college is to build an endowment that would support the mobile clinics to foster growth in community medical outreach.

“It’s getting a lot of excitement from a lot of people and will continue to get a lot of excitement. The plan is still morphing and changing, and I’ll keep you informed,” Brose said.

 
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Last updated: 01/28/2016