In an effort to bring more students from rural areas into primary care, Northeast Ohio Medical University has formed a partnership with Hiram College.
The partnership, NEOMED's second affiliation with an institution of higher learning in Portage County, will bring five Hiram College graduates to NEOMED through a direct pipeline program, starting in Fall 2014.
"Hiram College is right in our back yard, and they do have a pretty robust pre-med program," said Dr. Jeffrey Susman, dean of medicine at NEOMED. "This is one way of keeping students local and in primary care."
Dr. Jay Gershen, president of NEOMED, said he and Hiram College President Thomas Chema are working on a fundraising program to provide scholarships to the students in exchange for an agreement to serve five years in the community providing the scholarship. The hope is that at least some of those scholarships will be provided in the Portage County area.
Dr. Sandra Madar, director of strategic initiatives at Hiram, said as many as 70 to 80 students at Hiram are enrolled in the pre-med program at Hiram. Since most are from Northeastern Ohio, they apply to medical schools all over the state, including NEOMED. However, because spots are limited, thousands of people apply for the handful of open spots.
Though the first Hiram students will enroll in the program in 2014, Madar said students will eventually apply for admission during their sophomore year. Students also will be required to take coursework in Hiram's Medical Humanities program, which pairs medical science and humanities, such as communication and teaching skills.
"We have a pretty unique way of training doctors in training," she said.
Susman said similar to NEOMED's partnership with Cleveland State, incoming Hiram graduates will need to take four years of medical school, rather than the accelerated program many students from Kent State University, University of Akron and Youngstown State pursue.
"The idea is that after 40 years of doing this, we've learned a few things and evolved the program," he said. "We're trying to make sure we give students to be a little more well rounded, focused and mature."
Susman said there are only five spots in the pipeline because NEOMED has only about 150 slots total, and a growing number of partnerships with area universities. In addition to the three traditional partnerships in Akron, Youngstown and Kent, NEOMED also has partnerships with Cleveland State, Central State and is talking to Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green.
"What we're finding is that a lot of students go to college within Ohio, but not in the region," he said.
Gershen said Hiram and NEOMED hope to recruit students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in providing primary care to medically under served populations.
"We're very excited to bring together a public institution and a private institution right here in Portage County," he said. "It shows the benefit of public and private institutions coming together. We're looking forward to training students to provide 21st century care and having a very good program at the end of the day."
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