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State of the College 2008

 

By Richard Heck

October 7, 2008 


The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine may be facing the same financial issues as the rest of the university, state and nation, but the college is very well positioned to face them, Jack Brose, D.O., dean of the college, said Wednesday, Oct. 1, during his annual State of the College Address.

 

“It’s been a really amazing year. We’ve had an amazing number of accomplishments,” Brose said. “We’ve got some challenges ahead, but we’re going to get through them just fine.”

 

Brose highlighted some of the achievements and honors of the past year:

 

  • This year’s class of first-year medical students is the largest, top-performing and most diverse in the college’s history. The 120 members of the Class of 2012 have a combined grade point average 3.63 overall – 3.56 in science and 3.71 in non-science. Of the class, 26 percent are minority students and 55 percent are women.

 

  • About 54 percent of the college’s alumni practice in primary care specialties, such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics; and 44 percent of alumni practice in communities with a population of less than 50,000.

 

  • During the past five years, OU-HCOM researchers secured more than $35.8 million in federal, state and private grants. According to a report currently under development for Ohio Board of Regents, during that same time, college scholarly activity – measured in presentations, workshops, journal articles, chapters and books – more than doubled.

 

  • Community Health Programs provided an estimated excess of $1 million in clinical, educational and other community services last year. This included 8,544 childhood vaccines, 327 breast and cervical cancer screenings, and 4,015 childhood vision screenings, among other services. CHP now operates six free clinic locations in some of the region’s neediest areas.

 

  • The college received prestigious professional recognition this year. Brose named two examples:

 

    • The college received an outstanding accreditation evaluation – including four commendations – from the U.S. Department of Education’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
    • American Osteopathic Foundation named Keith Watson, D.O., associate dean of graduate medical education, Educator of the Year, their highest teaching honor.

 

  • Three new hospitals joined the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education: Adena Regional Medical Center, Marietta Memorial Hospital and OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. Mt. Carmel Health System in Columbus, which joined as a participating hospital last year, welcomed its first new class this past year.

 

Brose reported that the Ohio Board of Regents expects the state budget to continue its downward turn, impacting funding for the college. “The budget is going to get worse and that is not a good sign for us,” he said.

 

Last month, the state cut 4.75 percent, about $268,000, from the college’s clinical teaching funding and four other state budget lines for the college. Brose warned that he expects additional state funding cuts for the medical school as soon as early 2009.

 

OU-HCOM has followed a policy of fiscal responsibility and plans to continue to do so by maintaining a strong financial reserve; preparing contingency budget plans based on possible three-, five- and 10-percent funding cuts from the state; and taking a hard look at expenses that may not be absolutely critical in tough times, such as lunches and outside consultants, the dean explained. OU-HCOM will also be following the university hiring freeze for new employees.

 

College administration will continue to work with officials from other medical schools to aggressively lobby the Board of Regents, the legislature and the governor’s office, Brose said.

 

“And if all else fails, we’re going to apply for a $700 billion bail out,” he joked, referencing the proposed solution to the current national banking crisis.

 

“It’s a big cycle,” Brose said of current economic challenges. “We have gotten through it before, and we’re going to do it again. We’re going to excel and grow.”

 

A few of the initiatives that Brose wants to undertake in the upcoming year include developing new scholarships for students, curricular innovations that make the most of new technologies and addressing issues of professionalism for students, faculty and administration.

 

Brose said the most important issue facing the college is the continually increasing debt load that OU-HCOM students accumulate upon graduation.

 

“The average student at our college is graduating with more than $150,000 in debt, despite the fact that we are almost the lowest tuition out of the six medical schools in Ohio,” Brose said.

 

To help ease the debt burden for medical students, the dean wants to continue to ramp up fundraising efforts for endowed scholarships. “We are really going to put forth every bit of energy we can to raise money and increase our endowment to provide scholarships for our students,” he said.

 

The dean also wants to implement more technological innovations in the college curricula to improve classroom instruction, address the learning styles of the millennial generation and possibly recognize some cost savings in the process. He referenced the successful introduction of electronic case studies. He said he looks forward to putting more lectures online, offering accompanying question-and-answer teleconferences with experts at our teaching hospitals across the state, and he discussed the possibility of electronic testing.

 

“(Our students) are amazingly intelligent and they have computer skills that absolutely dwarf any of ours as a faculty or administration,” Brose said. “We need to use some of their skills, and there are ways we can utilize those in our instruction.”

 

Last year the college began its Partners in Professionalism program, in which students directly interact with the Ohio State Medical Board. OU-HCOM is the first medical school in Ohio with such a program, he said, and it has been very successful.

 

“We need to go a lot farther. I’ve asked student government to take the lead in developing professionalism in our medical students. Our students are very professional, and we’re proud of them, but some run into problems. Some of it is generational.”

 

Brose finished the talk with the introduction of the new design for the college magazine, Ohio University Medicine.

 

“When anyone on campus thinks of ‘professionalism,’ we want them to think of our school, because the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is the only professional school on campus.”

 

 
 
 
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Last updated: 09/16/2011