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Ohio University trustees approve medical college name change

Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine recognizes historic $105 million gift

(Athens, OH – June 24, 2011) The Ohio University Board of Trustees today officially changed the name of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine to the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM).

The name change recognizes the historic, transformative $105 million gift to the medical school from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations announced in April.

“The Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine has developed a vision for the future of health care education that builds upon its strengths and also addresses some of the most pressing health care issues faced by our communities, including the impending shortage of primary care physicians,” said Richard A. Vincent, president and CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations.

The gift is designed to address the growing need for primary care physicians, especially in rural and underserved areas in Ohio and the nation.  “Given the urgent needs in health care, like an impending shortage of primary care physicians and a burgeoning epidemic of diabetes and related illnesses, the time was right and the choice of a recipient was clear,” Vincent said.

In order to achieve these goals, the gift is earmarked for several significant initiatives planned by OU-HCOM, including the creation of an OU-HCOM regional extension campus in Columbus and a related increased class size. The gift will also be used to help build a new Diabetes/Endocrine Clinical Treatment Research Center and a new facility for the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, both on the Athens campus. The final components of the award will fund a major transformation of the college’s curriculum, and provide money for new scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for graduates who practice in underserved areas.

The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine becomes the fourth named college at Ohio University, joining the Russ College of Engineering, the Scripps College of Communication, and the Patton College of Education.

“We are especially honored to carry this name because the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations arose from Doctors Hospital in Columbus, one of our college’s first and most loyal supporters,” said OU-HCOM Dean Jack Brose, D.O. With the new name, Brose said, the college is poised to achieve even greater national prominence and heights of excellence in research and health care delivery.

“We have had a very long and valuable relationship with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations,” Brose said. “They have been central to many of the exciting things that we have done as a medical school.”

“This historic gift from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations will forever change Ohio University and our College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D., Ohio University president. “We are grateful to the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations for their commitment, which will dramatically broaden our ability to improve the human condition of the people of Ohio. This gift will transform lives.”

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations were first established in 1961 with the incorporation of the Doctors Hospital Foundation, a supporting organization of Doctors Hospital in Columbus.  The Foundations owned and operated Doctors Hospitals in Columbus and Nelsonville.  This valued hospital system, anchored by the acute care facilities in Columbus and Nelsonville, grew into one of the nation’s leading osteopathic post-graduate medical education centers.

In the mid 1990s, the Foundations’ boards of directors in Columbus and Nelsonville considered if the communities-at-large and osteopathic medicine would be better served through philanthropic organizations that had the financial strength and commitment to improve health and quality of life locally and to advance the principles and practices of osteopathic medicine locally, statewide and nationally.

In 1998, the boards approved a sale transaction for the hospital’s assets to become part of OhioHealth, a large, local, highly respected nonprofit healthcare system that committed to retain the community services and osteopathic traditions upon which the hospitals had been established. Since then, the Foundations have made a commitment to support local health initiatives as well as statewide and national enhancements to osteopathic medical education and osteopathic medical research.

Those initiatives included a commitment to quality of life and health care issues in central and southeastern Ohio through financial support for many initiatives, programs and organizations, including OU-HCOM. During the past five years, in addition to the most recent gift, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations have provided Ohio University and the HCOM with funding to help build the new Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and Charles R. and Marilyn Stuckey Academic and Research Center, and the new Heritage Clinical Training and Assessment Center and Community Clinic, both on the Athens campus.

Vincent predicted that the gift will enable the medical school to become nationally prominent in medical education, research and providing quality health care to Ohio. “With new facilities and programs – in Athens and soon in central Ohio – serving exceptional students and faculty – we expect to witness exceptional accomplishments,” he said.

According to a Chronicle of Higher Education report published in March detailing gifts given to universities and colleges since 1968, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations’ award:

         is the largest gift given to a higher education institution in Ohio;

         is the fourth largest gift in 2011 to an institution of higher education in the U.S.;

         is the fourth largest gift ever given to a U.S. medical school; and

         ranks among the top 50 gifts ever given to a higher education institution in the U.S.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016