Leaders from Ohio University, Cleveland Clinic and donors cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new Heritage College, Cleveland, campus during a Saturday afternoon welcome celebration.

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


The OHIO Bobcat cheerleaders and Rufus joined with the Warrensville Heights High School Marching Band for a performance that launched the celebration.

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


More than 500 guests toured the new Heritage College, Cleveland, facility, located on the campus of Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights.

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

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Ohio University celebrates new medical school campus in northeast Ohio

Hundreds of friends, partners and supporters joined Ohio University and its Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine on Saturday, Aug. 22, to celebrate the college’s new campus in northeast Ohio. The first class of 51 students began their studies at the Heritage College, Cleveland, on July 8. 

The Warrensville Heights Marching Band, performing with the OHIO Bobcat cheerleaders, kicked off the celebration before Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., welcomed a crowd of more than 500 people to the new campus, located on the site of Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights. 

Johnson told the audience that while the campus is new, the college’s presence in the region goes back decades. Cleveland Clinic, the college’s pre-eminent partner in the venture, has been providing clinical training spots for Heritage College students since the earliest days of the college – which turns 40 this year.

He noted that one-quarter of all Heritage College alumni – the largest regional concentration of alumni – practices in northeast Ohio. “We have incredible leadership right here to help us grow,” he said. The opening of the newest campus, he stressed, is another big advance in the college’s ongoing mission to be “a medical school that fills the great needs of this state.”

When a line of dignitaries snipped the ribbon symbolically launching the new campus, it marked a milestone in the college’s expansion in service to Ohio. Just a year before, a similar celebratory event marked the opening of the college’s second campus, in Dublin, Ohio.

The medical school’s expansion into central and northeast Ohio is intended to help the college better fulfill its mission of training more primary care physicians to provide care where it’s needed most – in underserved urban and rural communities throughout the state. 

With 98 percent of its first incoming class coming from Ohio and 76 percent from communities near the new campus, the Heritage College, Cleveland, is well-positioned to train physicians who are likely to remain in the region to practice. “They’re from northeastern Ohio, and they want to stay,” said Isaac J. Kirstein, D.O., dean of the new campus. 

Kirstein said he’s proud of the newly renovated facility, but even prouder of the students, staff, faculty and others who are making it happen. “I’m so excited that all of you are about to see this wonderful, wonderful building,” he said. “But it pales in comparison to the people behind it.”

Pamela Benoit, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost of Ohio University, called the opening of the Heritage College, Cleveland, “one of my proudest moments” as a university official. “Clearly, we are about community,” she said. “We are one medical school, operating in three distinct and unique places in the state of Ohio.”

Also joining in the Aug. 22 celebration were representatives of Cleveland Clinic, the city of Warrensville Heights, and state and U.S. government offices. A special guest was Harry Meshel of Youngstown, who as a member of the Ohio Senate in 1975 helped spearhead passage of Amended House Bill 229, which created the state’s first osteopathic medical college at Ohio University. 

Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff and Chief of Clinical Operations Brian G. Donley, M.D., pointed out that like Cleveland Clinic the new campus is designed to stress physician teamwork in its training methods. Its graduates, he predicted, “will help to transform how health care is provided, not only in northeast Ohio, but across the entire United States.”

Warrensville Heights Mayor Bradley Sellers called the collaboration between the city, the University, the Heritage College and Cleveland Clinic “a very big deal.” Warrensville Heights, he said, “remains committed to the mission to provide better health care opportunities to underserved communities.” 

Sellers, a former member of professional basketball’s Chicago Bulls, praised the participants in the project for backing up talk with action. “In the world of sports where I come from, when you’re a doer and not a talker, you’re an all-pro,” he added.

Other remarks were offered by Ohio State Sen. Kenny Yuko and representatives of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, as well as by Adrienne White-Faines, M.P.A., chief executive officer of the American Osteopathic Association.

“What is happening today is truly a commitment to understanding the importance of physician teamwork,” White-Faines said. “You have entities, collaborators, coming together to embrace the advantages of osteopathic medicine.”

After a ribbon-cutting, guests toured the four floors of the new medical school campus. Kirstein described the new campus and evolving programs here as “the future of American medical education.”

“This is really important work,” he said. “The community needs us. The nation needs us.” In working to create a more patient-centered, empathic, and team-based form of health care delivery, he said, “what everyone is racing toward is osteopathic medicine. They’re trying to get to where we are, as fast as they can.”

The weekend of celebratory activities began on Friday, Aug. 21, when Cleveland’s Terminal Tower was lit in Bobcat colors in honor of OHIO’s new northeast Ohio campus. The celebration concluded on Monday, Aug. 24, when 96 Heritage College alumni and friends took to the links in the college's inaugural Cleveland OHIO Memorial at Chagrin Valley Country Club, raising more than $25,000 for scholarships for Heritage College students. Earlier in August, the 2nd Annual Dublin Open drew 96 golfers to Tartan Fields Golf Club, raising an additional $25,000 for Heritage College student scholarships.  

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio. CARE LEADS HERE.

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