Dublin, OH,
16:13 PM

Ohio University Heritage College Graduates First Medical Class

OhioHealth Partnership Leads Many To Residency Programs at Hospital System

Heritage College of Medicine Graduation

Commencement, the end of medical school and the start of the next stage of life. These Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Students are true trailblazers, and now doctors.

“Oh my gosh! Nina Passen, doctor," said Dr. Nina Passen.

It’s also the start of a solution to a growing problem.

“One of the main issues confronting this country right now is our physician shortage," Dr. Matthew Kunar, Director of Medical Education, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital said.

Dr. Matthew Kunar says Ohio faces the same doctor shortage as the rest of the nation.

“We estimate by year 2025 that we’ll be over 300 family or primary care physicians short," Dr. Kunar said.

Heritage College Dean, Dr. Bill Burke says that hits close to home.

“Within Franklin County alone there are over 20 federally declared manpower shortage areas," Dr. Bill Burke said.

In 2011 the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation recognized the problem and offered a forward-thinking solution - a 105-million-dollar gift to the Heritage College, to start a new campus in Dublin.

Fifty students comprised the pioneer class. Their lecturers were in Dublin or broadcast live from the Athens campus, and they had hands-on clinical skills, anatomy and OMM training right on campus.

“The faculty and staff here are incredible. The support staff has been second to none," Dr. Passen said.

OhioHealth hospitals and the physicians at those sites who provided critical training experiences for Heritage College students stepped up in a big way, providing opportunities for these students to rotate through key medical specialties.

“This campus wouldn’t be possible without partnership, and great partnership with OhioHealth is a clear example of that," Dr. Ken Johnson, Heritage College Executive Dean and Ohio University Chief Medical Affairs Officer said.

"Such as Mansfield and Marion and Dublin Methodist, where I am at. We’ve never had a medical student step through the door until two years ago," Dr. Kunar said.

The staff here wanted the best and brightest, but also critically important? Local students, who wished to specialize in primary care.

“Primary care encompasses family medicine, pediatricians, and internal medicine practiced in the office," Dr. Passen said.

“That was the mission of this campus is to sort of fast-track students to be interested in primary care, people that are interested in helping their communities," Dr. Chris Buchsieb, a new graduate said.

Chris Buchsieb is just what everyone hoped for in the new graduates. He plans to work in primary care, he’s from Central Ohio, and he’ll do his residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

“I’m looking forward to going back to train at the hospital that I was born in," Dr. Buchsieb said.

The connection between many within the first class to Central Ohio is no accident.

“Our goal was to try to attract students from Central Ohio, train them in Central Ohio, and keep them in Central Ohio," Dr. Johnson said.

A home-grown solution to easing the doctor shortage.

Really, it’s about community," Dr. Buchsieb said.