NEOMED gets ServeOhio grant

Staff report


Northeast Ohio Medical University was recently awarded state AmeriCorps grant funding from ServeOhio that will support 20 new full-time positions to create a focused group of volunteers devoted to advancing the health and success of rural Ohio communities, beginning this month.

The three-year grant through ServeOhio, the state’s governor-appointed commission on service and volunteerism, will total $798,000. A portion of the ServeOhio investment will be matched by NEOMED.

Additionally, $330,000 in scholarship money will be made available to AmeriCorps workers to use to pay back educational debt or advance their aspirations in a health-related career.

NEOMED-based AmeriCorps members will develop and deliver a program that addresses health-care workforce needs in communities, including rural primary-care tracks, following the model of NEOMED’s Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) initiative. Numerous HPACs are being implemented under NEOMED’s leadership as part of its larger community engagement initiative to support and guide high-school students with an interest in pursuing a health professions career, empowering them to develop sustainable programs that make a difference in the health of their communities.

The 20 AmeriCorps members will implement an HPAC service learning curriculum that helps students to identify pressing health concerns in their community through self-directed learning, seek and obtain resources from within their community, and combine resources and learning to formulate health improvement programs while advancing themselves toward health-care careers.

The HPAC curriculum will be offered through local high schools and higher education institutions in identified regions throughout Northeast Ohio.

“AmeriCorps members are expected to become familiar with the opportunities and challenges of rural communities, and through the grant, will learn effective strategies to employ local resources to confront and solve pressing community challenges,” said Erik Porfeli, Ph.D., assistant dean for community engagement and admissions, College of Medicine, NEOMED.

This project will become a lead initiative of the Ohio Alliance, which is a state-based consortium organization of the national Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions. Based out of NEOMED, the Ohio Alliance coordinates the efforts of multiple partners across the state to advance the health and economic vitality of Ohio through health professions training pathways.

The goal of the Ohio Alliance is to enhance the capacity of its partners to prepare an academically competent, diverse health-care workforce, committed to promoting community health and economic development in Ohio.

“Receiving this generous grant funding from ServeOhio has opened up new doors for NEOMED in the journey to connect high school and undergraduate students with opportunities to explore and pursue careers in the health professions while serving their communities in the process,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president, NEOMED.

To learn more about a position with NEOMED-based AmeriCorps, email Gina Weisblat, Ph.D., at

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