Heritage College, Cleveland, Dean Isaac Kirstein; Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital President Robert Juhasz; and Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson welcomed the first class of students at the Heritage College’s new Cleveland Campus.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine/Joel Prince


Like their counterparts in Athens and Dublin, Heritage College, Cleveland, students took part in several orientation activities during their first week, including an introduction to gross anatomy.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine/Joel Prince


Heritage College, Cleveland, students received training on the school’s small-team group learning stations or “pods,” which allow sharing of visual materials among students and faculty at Cleveland and the college’s campuses in Athens and Dublin.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine/Joel Prince

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University and medical school launch new campus in Cleveland

First-year medical student Andrew Goldblum of Beachwood, Ohio, is a perfect example of the type of person the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine wants to reach with its new campus in Cleveland. Goldblum received his bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta before returning to his home in northeast Ohio for medical school.  

In a day that Heritage College leaders are calling a major milestone for the 40-year-old college, Goldblum and 50 other new medical students arrived for their first classes on Wednesday, July 8, at the new Ohio University campus in the Cleveland area. 

The new site – which brings the number of Heritage College campuses to three – is a partnership with Cleveland Clinic, the college’s long-time teaching affiliate. The school is located within the campus of Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights. This new endeavor builds on Cleveland Clinic’s success in delivering value-based, patient-centered care and the Heritage College’s proven track record of producing high-quality, empathic primary care physicians.

“This is truly a historic moment, and you’re making history for us,” Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., told the incoming class of 2019 at the Heritage College, Cleveland, Wednesday. 

Goldblum said he believes having an opportunity as a student to work with patients in the Cleveland area will be the perfect preparation for someone who wants to practice there after graduation.

“If you train here, you just really get a deeper sense of what the area needs,” he said. This will be true even for first-years, he added, given that the campus sits inside an excellent working hospital.
“When we walk in, patients are all around us,” he noted. “It teaches us to behave as professionals right off the bat.”

One major aim of the new campus is to recruit students from within northeast Ohio, with the knowledge that if they train and complete their residencies in the area, they will be more likely to remain there to practice after they graduate. The medical school’s expansion into northeast Ohio – brining the college’s overall class size of  240, the largest in the school’s history – is intended to address the need for more first-line physicians and for providing care where it’s needed most, in underserved urban and rural communities throughout the state.

“We are changing the way health care is going to be taught and the way it’s going to be delivered,” said J. Stephen Jones, M.D., president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals and Family Health Centers. “This partnership fits together perfectly with the Heritage College’s leadership in primary care education and Cleveland Clinic’s reputation in specialty care.”

Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D., said, “This expansion of our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Clinic is good for Ohio University and Cleveland Clinic, good for the medical students in our Heritage College, and ultimately, good for the citizens of Ohio who will benefit from the compassionate, high-quality health care our graduates have been providing for over three decades. This collaboration will help increase access to care, stimulate medical innovation and improve the economic health of communities in northeast Ohio, as well as across Ohio and the nation.”

Within the next decade, experts predict a national shortage of more than 45,000 primary care physicians. Americans living in rural or inner-city primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) will be hit the hardest, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies, and northeast Ohio contains a high number of HPSAs.

The college is working closely with Cleveland Clinic and other area health care providers to ensure that clinical training slots are available for students at the Heritage College, Cleveland. Of the 51 students in the Cleveland class of 2019, all but one come from Ohio, and over 70 percent are from the northeastern part of the state.

Many students indicated that a desire to serve their home region was a big factor in their choosing the school. “I was born in Cleveland,” said student Ariel Moore. “So this kind of starts my journey of giving back to my community.”

Students began their studies in Cleveland on Wednesday after two days of orientation on the college’s Athens Campus. As they entered the newly renovated building, Cleveland Campus Dean Isaac J. Kirstein, D.O., greeted them like old friends. “Come on in, guys!” Kirstein declared, as he beckoned some uncertain-looking students to come forward. “This is your school. Your school.”

On hand to welcome students were Johnson, Kirstein and Robert S. Juhasz, D.O., who is president of both Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital and the American Osteopathic Association. Before any orientation training got underway, they, and members of the campus faculty and staff, took time to meet and greet the students informally.

Students appreciated the hospitable atmosphere, and some said the close-knit feel of the college was one of its biggest assets. “Everyone is just so welcoming, and you just feel part of the family,” said Michelle Sergi. “That is so important to me, coming from a small town near Youngstown.”

On their first day in Cleveland, Juhasz reminded students that their presence in the campus’ first-ever class earns them a special chapter in the 40-year-old college’s ongoing story, and in the evolving story of American health care.

“As you look back at this day, you’ll realize you made history,” Juhasz said.

This article was provided by the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's Office of Communication.