When leaders at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic sharpened their focus on primary care and population health, creating a partnership with the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) at Athens seemed a natural fit.
In July, the newly established OU-HCOM Cleveland campus opened its doors to its inaugural class of 51 students. The Cleveland Clinic supplied a building to house the school and will provide clinical rotations for at least two-thirds of the school’s students. In addition, the medical center will help the school explore new graduate medical education opportunities for these students and those attending OU-HCOM’s additional campuses.
“The whole country is coming to realize that we need more high-quality leaders in primary care, and the Cleveland Clinic didn’t have a pipeline for that,” says Isaac Kirstein, DO, the dean of OU-HCOM Cleveland. “A lot of the leading hospitals don’t. So the Cleveland Clinic partnered with the best in Ohio. Nobody has a better track record than the Heritage College for training primary care physicians who stay in Ohio.”
The values shared by the school and the medical center are in perfect alignment, says Toby M. Cosgrove, MD, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO.
“Cleveland Clinic and the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine share a dedication to excellence in patient care, research and medical education,” he says. “This collaboration will help improve quality for patients, stimulate medical innovation and improve the economic health of our communities.”
When describing his vision for the new Cleveland Clinic medical school, Dr. Kirstein refers to the 70/70 goal: He’d like to see 70% of his students pursue primary care and for 70% to practice in northeast Ohio. Three-quarters of the school’s inaugural class are natives to the area, he notes.
This partnership is a game changer for OU-HCOM Cleveland students, providing access to great mentors within the Cleveland Clinic, many of whom will serve as faculty and lecturers, Dr. Kirstein notes. Students will also have the chance to participate in research conducted at the medical center and to collaborate with faculty and staff from its other medical school, the Lerner College of Medicine.
The affiliation will also benefit DOs and medical students outside Ohio, says Kenneth Johnson, DO, the executive dean of OU-HCOM.
“The Cleveland Clinic is an internationally recognized health entity,” he says. “I try to remind people that this is not only big for Heritage College and Ohio University, it’s big for the osteopathic medical profession as well.”