Cleveland Clinic chief to speak at Heritage College’s 2019 Commencement

Apr 1, 2019


Tom Mihaljevic, M.D.

Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., an accomplished surgeon who serves as CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic, will be the speaker for Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s 2019 Commencement, set for 10 a.m. May 11 at the Convocation Center in Athens.   

Cleveland Clinic, one of the most respected health care organizations in the world, partners with the medical school in its Cleveland campus and on an innovative primary care curriculum path offered there. The first graduates from the Heritage College, Cleveland, will receive their medical degrees during the 2019 Commencement.

“For more than 40 years, Cleveland Clinic has provided our medical students with access to world-class medical facilities, physicians, scientists and exciting clinical training opportunities,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D. “The opening of our Cleveland campus has allowed us to build upon our shared vision of service to the region, and we are honored to have Dr. Mihaljevic join us in May as we celebrate the graduation of the Heritage College’s largest class ever.”

In 2015, the Heritage College opened its Cleveland campus in affiliation with Cleveland Clinic, with the medical school housed on the campus of Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital. Mihaljevic has described this collaboration as a way to enhance medical training by making it more teamwork-based, “Because we firmly believe that people have to start … their professional journey with their educational journey as a team.”

The Clinic also partnered with the college to create its groundbreaking Transformative Care Continuum curriculum path, which launched on the Cleveland campus in the fall of 2018. The TCC is an accelerated, competency-based demonstration project that prepares hand-picked students for careers in family medicine through a continuous experience from medical school through residency and beyond. Students who successfully complete the program match into family medicine residencies at Cleveland Clinic Akron General or Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Family Health Center.

“As we’ve worked to transform medical education, having close working relationships with like-minded, forward-thinking leaders in health care and care delivery has been critical to our success,” said Ken Johnson, D.O., Heritage College executive dean and Ohio University chief medical affairs officer. “Our college’s partnership with Cleveland Clinic is creating terrific opportunities for both our organizations, and having someone of Dr. Mihaljevic’s stature speak to our graduates underscores the increasing importance of that connection.”

Mihaljevic took over as Cleveland Clinic’s top executive in January 2018, putting him at the helm of a globally renowned health care nonprofit with more than 66,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenues. It runs a 170-acre campus in Cleveland; 11 regional hospitals and 18 family health centers in northeast Ohio; and facilities in Florida and Nevada. Outside the United States, it operates facilities in Toronto, Canada, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Cleveland Clinic London is scheduled to open in the United Kingdom in 2021.

Before being named to head Cleveland Clinic, Mihaljevic was in charge of opening and staffing its 365-bed hospital and clinic in Abu Dhabi, and serving as its CEO from 2015-17.

After earning his medical degree in 1989 from the University of Zagreb Medical School in Croatia (then a republic of Yugoslavia), Mihaljevic left his home country following the outbreak of civil war in 1991. He studied cardiac surgery at the University of Zurich in Switzerland before joining the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School in 1995, where he completed his residency in general and cardiac surgery and served as chief resident in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Children's Hospital in Boston. In 2004, he joined Cleveland Clinic as a surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.