NEOMED keeps growing


By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

ROOTSTOWN

Northeast Ohio Medical University aims to prepare students to care for patients in the 21st century as professionals from various medical fields learning alongside one another in a state-of-the-art facility.

NEOMED, formerly Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine, marked its 40th anniversary last year, and with projects planned this year the square footage of the campus will more than double.

Dr. Jay Gershen, NEOMED president, said that half of the physicians who graduated from the school are practicing in Ohio.

“We have 1,000 physicians in Northeast Ohio,” he said of the graduates.

That’s about $1 million per year in economic activity.

The university includes colleges of medicine, pharmacy and graduate studies.

Dr. Chander Kohli, a Youngstown neurosurgeon and chairman of the NEOMED board of trustees, believes the school is an asset to the Mahoning Valley.

Without NEOMED, the area would suffer from a shortage of physicians, he said.

“The medical students improve the quality of care at the hospitals and it’s cost effective,” Dr. Kohli said.

The university launched in 1973 as an educational partnership involving Youngstown State University, Kent State University and the University of Akron to provide a facility for training physicians in Northeast Ohio. That partnership was expanded in 2008 to include Cleveland State University. The university has more limited partnerships with Central State and Miami universities and Hiram College.

Participants spend two intensive years at their home university earning a bachelor of science degree and are then guaranteed admission to the medical school, enabling them to complete their entire education in six or seven years.

Up to 35 students from each institution are admitted each year to the medical school and 15 to the school of pharmacy.

The university has a $50 million annual operating budget.

In facilities such as the multidisciplinary lab, pharmacy, medical and public- health students learn side by side through simulated activities.

That’s significant, says Charles Taylor, dean of the College of Pharmacy and professor of pharmacy, because in practice, professionals from those three disciplines will work together to deliver patient care.

Rather than having students from each college learn in silos, separate from one another, only to be thrown together when they work in their professions, the lab allows them to learn to work as a team, the doctors said.

Dr. Jeffrey Susman, dean of the College of Medicine, believes that because students from the various colleges learn together, they will become better in their respective fields.

The university is a host to the Bio-Med Science Academy, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical high school operating on the campus.

A 339-bed apartment building for students opened last year.

A four-story Research and Graduate Education Building opened last year with more amenities planned this year,

Walter Horton Jr., vice president for research and the dean of graduate studies, said the facilities include space for companies from the community to conduct research.

Dr. Gershen says that’s a way for companies to take advantage of the knowledge of NEOMED faculty and the faculty to work with people in business.

A health and wellness center is also under construction on the campus.

Dr. Gershen emphasizes that all of the building is being done without state capital dollars.

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