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Driven to Create Transformational Leaders In Health And Science, Northeast Ohio Medical University Empowers Students, Faculty, And Researchers To Shape The Future Of Health Care

A good physician can change lives; an innovative one can change the world. Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) inspires and empowers both. 

At a time when universities across the nation face decreased student engagement, NEOMED is experiencing record numbers through a renewed vision for excellence in health care and higher education spearheaded by President John Langell, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

“I joined the university in 2019 with a desire to transform NEOMED as a benchmark in higher education,” says Dr. Langell. “I wanted to be involved with an institution that’s small enough to steer in a new, positive direction, but large enough to have the prestige and resources necessary to have a real impact.” 

Dr. Langell approaches higher education with clear objectives, realistic strategies, and measurable goals for long-, mid-, and short-term success. In his first five years of leadership, he has kept NEOMED’s tuition below inflation, doubled its financial reserves, raised its bond rating, and has seen enrollment growing through an “Exceptional Student Experience.” 

“Everything we do is centered on our vision to create a financially stable enterprise that is high value for students, faculty, and our community,” says Dr. Langell. “We’re focused on improving health care by understanding each student and patient’s needs. You can provide the highest quality care available, but if people can’t access it, afford it, or it doesn’t integrate with their lifestyle, it’s not going to work.”

Five Years to Leadership

When Dr. Langell stepped into the role as president, he met with hundreds of students, alumni, and faculty to discover the university’s strengths and learn how to use them to address the needs of the community. 

When Dr. Langell realized many NEOMED graduates, no matter their specialty, became leaders in their fields, the university created five-year physician leadership master’s-to-M.D. programs that prepare students for the business and advocacy aspects of leading a health system. 

“We’ve intentionally created these programs to shape the health care landscape by targeting students who want to be leaders in their field,” Dr. Langell explains. “We get them thinking differently about how to discover unmet medical needs and create the solutions—through value, innovation, technology, advocacy, leadership, and service—to change lives.”

Students learn to accelerate their careers in the areas that interest them. This leads to great clinicians with the talent, passion, and business mindset to transform health care regardless of their career paths. 

“The extra year in the Innovation Track, for example, is a time to discover unmet needs and find what it takes to design and create new technologies that meet FDA requirements and have a viable pathway to commercialization,” says Dr. Langell. “Students build a business plan and learn to take the product to market to help patients.”

Advancing High-Risk, High-Reward Research

NEOMED receives national attention for innovative research conducted both within its colleges and its hospital partners, advancing the world’s understanding of auditory science, diabetes, heart and blood vessel diseases, and more.

“Our research faculty take bold approaches to discovery that allow for leaps in our understanding of human health,” says Dr. Langell. “The more groundbreaking research endeavors are higher risk, but success could advance health care knowledge in a way that smaller endeavors can’t.”

The risks continue to pay off. NEOMED’s hearing research group is among the top auditory neuroscience groups nationwide, renowned for their work on the central nervous system. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, around a dozen high-powered researchers work together to improve the understanding of hearing research, and students can get involved.

“Students are encouraged to conduct research as part of their education so they’ll continue to practice it when they go into clinical care,” says Dr. Langell. “Quality research is critical for getting into competitive residency programs. They get to test what they’ve learned. Many will contribute to new basic and clinical discoveries, while some will develop solutions that can impact health care through innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Modernizing Mentorship 

NEOMED’s faculty and researchers don’t just teach students, they act as role models and mentors, researching and practicing alongside them while sharing their passion, guidance, and creativity. 

The university’s clinical partners integrate students and faculty into the community, working alongside the likes of University Hospitals, Akron Children’s Hospital, Summa Health, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and more to provide students with the experience, knowledge, and tools needed to thrive in their areas of interest. It’s with this in mind that the team developed NEOMED Connect, a software program that connects clinical and research mentors in the area with students. 

“Using NEOMED Connect, a student who is interested in doing research or gaining career guidance within any field can find a list of volunteer faculty members and alumni who want to work with students,” says Dr. Langell. “We had more than 400 faculty and alumni who participated within the first two months of launching the program.

“Our faculty and alumni are role models,” he continues. “Many of the programs are among the top in the nation, teaching our future clinicians to be researchers who transform health care. We aren’t a part of the status quo; we’re change agents transforming the landscape and improving care for patients.”

Answering Ohio’s Mental Health Workforce Shortage

According to Becker's Healthcare, there are nearly 12 million people in Ohio and less than 2,000 psychiatrists.

In response, Northeast Ohio Medical University is developing a new degree program to address the mental health crisis with a groundbreaking concept: the certified mental health assistant.

“Much like a certified anesthesia assistant, who spends at least a full year just learning clinical anesthesia after their basic medical studies, this program will train specialized mental health assistants by devoting an entire year to behavioral health and substance abuse treatment,” explains Dr. Langell. 

“Creating this is a big goal and a heavy lift,” he continues. “It requires a large and coordinated effort. We need to get the Ohio Legislature to approve a new professional licensure, and then we have to create a new master’s degree and receive approval from the Higher Learning Commission in order to effect the program and address the behavioral health workforce crisis, first for Ohio and later across the country.” 

Dr. Langell and his team have been working in concert with the Ohio legislature on professional licensure. To date, both the Ohio Senate and the House of Representatives have submitted companion bills, SB60 and HB97, to create a new professional licensure for certified mental health assistants.

Contact Info:
Name: Jeanne Hoban, Director of Publications and Communications
Email: Send Email
Organization: Northeast Ohio Medical University
Address: 4209 State Route OH-44 Rootstown, OH 44272
Phone: 330-325-6632

Release ID: 89132737

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