New translational research building prioritizes research collaboration, named in honor of Osteopathic Heritage Foundation
The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved to name OHIO’s new translational research center, the Heritage Translational Research Center, in honor of the university’s ongoing partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation during its meetings Oct. 19-20. The foundation is providing a $16.2 million gift to support its construction.
“For more than 10 years, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation’s generosity has helped to transform osteopathic medical education at Ohio University,” President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said. “We are grateful to OHF for its continued commitment to helping advance translational research, resulting in improved health outcomes for patients across our region and state.”
The goal of the facility is to promote team science by bringing like-minded research teams together in one space, while enhancing the visibility of OHIO’s research efforts to students, throughout the University, and to the community and region.
In 2011, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation made a historic $105 million award called Vision 2020: Leading the Transformation of Primary Care in Ohio, to the college. The award has been invested into numerous projects, including the construction of Heritage Hall in Athens, which opened in 2021, and the Heritage College’s Dublin campus. The funds have also contributed to student scholarships, strengthening community outreach and expanding the college’s research infrastructure. Now it will help fund the $66.9 million state-of-the-art Heritage Translational Research Center. The research center is expected to enhance faculty and student research at the university and will also be the new location of the college’s Community Health Programs.
“The name of the Heritage Translational Research Center recognizes the critical part that osteopathic medicine plays in research and the potential to have a significant and lasting impact on the health and quality of life of Ohioans,” Terri Donlin Huesman, president/CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation said. “Through this new facility, we are excited to continue our long and productive relationship with the Heritage College and help the university position itself as a national leader in medical education and research.”
In addition to serving the Heritage College, the Heritage Translational Research Facility will also support several other colleges and an array of health-related institutes including the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI), the Diabetes Institute, and the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute (ITDI), all within the Heritage College, as well as the Appalachian Institute to Advance Health Equity Science (ADVANCE) in the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP). Faculty and students who work within the institutes encompass almost every college at OHIO.
“Thanks in large part to the OHF’s exceptional generosity, the Heritage College is leading the transformation of primary care in Ohio. And now, through our continued partnership, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations will help us deliver on our vision by taking our research strategy to the next level,” said Heritage College Executive Dean Ken Johnson, D.O. “Our hope is that the Heritage Translational Research Center will be a hub for discovery, bringing together the college, university, our healthcare partners and the broader community.”
The Heritage Translational Research Facility will provide space for human subject research and basic science research and include consultation and exam rooms along with a wet lab and animal care facility. It will also house OHIO’s Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU), the administrative offices of several institutes and the Heritage College’s Office of Research and Grants and have community health space that includes a pharmacy.
“Our goal is that the new facility will promote team science, not just at the college but across the university, by bringing like-minded research teams together in one space,” said Darlene Berryman, associate dean of the Office of Research and Innovation. “We expect the HTRC will enhance the visibility of OHIO’s research efforts across the university, the community and state.”
Located on the Athens campus across the street from Heritage Hall and adjacent to the Medical Education Center and new Russ Research Center on the Union Street Green, the center will provide flexible research support spaces for population health and clinical research, as well as bench space for translational biomedical research.
“For 25 years our community health programs have been offering vital services to many people in our community in an effort to improve wellness for all. The new building will be more visible and accessible than our current location and should provide a welcoming community health experience to our patients and clients,” said Tracy Shaub, dean of the Heritage College in Athens.
Partnering with the Heritage College on the new building are architectural firms DesignGroup and Perkins&Will, as well as OHIO University’s planning office and design and construction office. Construction on the new facility is scheduled to start in mid-2024 with completion expected in 2025.