The Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM) has been awarded $105 million in funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations (OHF). In recognition of the award, the medical school will be renamed the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, pending approval by the Ohio Board of Trustees at its June meeting. The gift was jointly announced by OUCOM and the OHF, during the Ohio Osteopathic Symposium. The gift will be used to address some of the most pressing health care issues in Ohio and across the nation – the impending shortage of primary care physicians and the diabetes epidemic.
A portion of the gift will fund expanding OUCOM’s class size and building an extension campus in central Ohio. The new site’s location is still being finalized, but it is slated to take its first incoming class by August 2014 and to enroll 50 new students each year. By 2019, it is anticipated that the Heritage medical college will be graduating 200 students annually.
On OUCOM’s current Athens campus, some of the funding will help expand research and treatment of diabetes, a disease that is expected to skyrocket 165 percent in the United States by 2050. The college plans to build a new Diabetes/Endocrine Clinical Treatment Research Center that can attract prominent researchers to Athens. Goals for the center include better serving diabetic patients and enhancing diabetes management and research education programs for primary care physicians. The college also plans to open a new research facility for the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI), in response to the critical national issue of the cost of treating musculoskeletal disorders and diseases.
“We have never before considered a grant or an award of this magnitude,” said Richard A. Vincent, President and CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. “Nor have we considered an award that has the potential impact that this one will have in both central and southeast Ohio. 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.”
According to a Chronicle of Higher Education report, the $105 million award makes philanthropic history and is the largest gift given to a higher education institution in Ohio; the fourth largest gift in 2011 to a U.S. higher education institution; the fourth largest gift ever given to a U.S. medical school; and among the top 50 gifts ever given to a U.S higher education institution. For more information on the award, visit here.