Ohio University and Cleveland Clinic Partner to Train Future Primary Care Physicians

Innovative three-year medical school program graduates first cohort

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Alicia Reale-Cooney 216.408.7444

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ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Cleveland Clinic are working together to train primary care physicians through a unique medical education program with the ultimate goal of improving patient care. The first cohort of eight students to complete the Transformative Care Continuum (TCC) graduated on Saturday, May 8 – just three years after they started medical school rather than the traditional four.

“We could not be prouder of these eight students for completing such a rigorous and innovative medical program,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D., said. “The need for medical education to be more inclusive and diverse, culturally competent and relevant to the community by addressing their needs and health disparities has never been more important. The TCC has trained these students on how to better serve their communities, and I have no doubt they will be successful in doing so.”

Developed and launched in 2018 in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, the Transformative Care Continuum is an accelerated curriculum where select students at the Heritage College, Cleveland, are admitted directly into family medicine residency programs at Cleveland Clinic Akron General or Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Family Health Center. During the three years of medical school, students work alongside interprofessional healthcare teams and take on increasing patient care responsibilities before beginning the three-year family medicine residency at the same site.

“From the first days of medical school, these students are on the front lines of the clinical settings where they’ll be working for the entire six years of medical school and residency,” said Isaac Kirstein, D.O., dean of the Heritage College, Cleveland. “The most effective family physicians are those who build strong relationships with patients in the context of their families and their communities, so they can truly understand those socioeconomic factors that impact health outcomes. Thanks to our partnership with Cleveland Clinic, our TCC students are doing that right from the start.”

Watch: Unique Program Trains Future Primary Care Physicians

Heritage College faculty and Cleveland Clinic residency directors jointly developed the curriculum, forming an innovative collaboration between medical education and healthcare to align physician training with what medicine needs.

The Heritage College is one of 37 medical schools nationwide in the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium. While many consortium members are investigating single curriculum changes meant to fill specific gaps in healthcare, the Heritage College is the only medical school making such a wholesale change for a cohort of eight students per year.

“This innovative program transforms medical education by providing hands-on experience with patients and healthcare delivery teams to train future physicians in a dramatically different way and uniquely prepare them for 21st century medicine,” said James Young, M.D., executive director of academic affairs at Cleveland Clinic. “Healthcare systems need more patient-centered solutions that engage social determinants of health and collaborate across traditional silos to improve health outcomes. These students will help us lead the way to healthier communities.”

During their third year of medical school, Transformative Care Continuum students complete self-directed projects through which they partner with community organizations to create programs that address regional health challenges, particularly for populations in greatest need. Community projects for the first cohort of students included 2021 TCC graduate Blake Kinsel’s project partnering with the LGBT Center of Cleveland and the Doctors of the Streets program to expand point-of-care HIV testing and prevention services. Kinsel received the prestigious Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee for his work on this project.

In addition to Kinsel, the first cohort of students includes Michael Arnold, Palmer Coleman, Olga Shirley Grech, Peris Kibera, Sharon Ware, Matthew Wilcox and Jacob Wolfe.


Ohio University: Samantha Pelham, 740.597.1939, pelham@ohio.edu
Cleveland Clinic: Alicia Reale, 216.408.7444, realeca@ccf.org

About Ohio University
Ohio University strives to be the best student-centered, transformative learning community in America, where students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders. OHIO is committed to fostering, embracing, and celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our Athens Campus offers students a residential learning experience in one of the nation’s most picturesque academic settings. Additional campuses and centers serve students across the state, and online programs further advance the University’s commitment to providing educational access and opportunity. Visit www.ohio.edu for more information.

About the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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. For more information about the Heritage College, visit www.ohio.edu/medicine. CARE LEADS HERE

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic – now in its centennial year – is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 70,800 employees worldwide are more than 4,660 salaried physicians and researchers, and 18,500 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 19 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2020, there were 8.7 million total outpatient visits, 273,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 217,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.