Highlights from the Board of Trustees' September Meeting

The Board of Trustees meeting was called to order at noon, Thursday, Sept. 15. President John Langell began with congratulatory remarks for Trustee Susan Zelman on the anticipated Dec. 8 release of her book on higher education.  

Dr. Langell also thanked Bob Klonk for his nine years of service to the Board. Klonk responded that although he would no longer be a Board member, he would remain an advocate for NEOMED. Later during the meeting, when Dr. Langell reported on the great year the University was having, particularly with enrollment diversity, Klonk added that he had shared recent coverage that NEOMED had received on ABC news affiliate – WEWS News 5 about its enrollment with key leaders in the Cleveland area.

Dr. Langell gave highlights of NEOMED’s recent Higher Learning Commission (HLC) site visit that occurred earlier in the week. He applauded how prepared the NEOMED community was and thanked Drs. Jeff Wenstrup and Richard Kasmer as well as Deborah Loyet for their planning, preparation and coordination of the Assurance Argument and site visit. Dr. Langell also thanked Lacey Madison, Maria Schimer, Sam Bliss, Jordan Cinderich and the rest of the NEOMED community for their time and participation throughout the process.

Transitioning to news and other events, Dr. Langell announced that the search for vice president of research is underway, but he added that we were in good hands with interim vice president, Dr. Rebecca German, who was doing a great job. In the news, Dr. Langell referenced a story (by Crain’s Cleveland Business) regarding the Moody’s report in which the bond credit rating service upgraded NEOMED's issuer and General Receipts bond ratings to Baa1 from Baa2. Dr. Langell thanked Mary Taylor for her hard work to improve NEOMED’s financial stability and rating.

Dr. Langell completed his report by announcing the first annual Creating Transformational Leader’s Day, an event for which the University would highlight the great work by current and future leaders, on Nov. 10. Retired Navy Admiral Forrest Faison would be the featured VITALS speaker on that day. Dr. Langell thanked Lacey Madison for all the work she and her team have been doing to make this special day happen.

In other reports, Madison presented copies of the FY2022 Strategic Plan Impact Report along with a brief description of stories and data that reflect the magnitude of an empowered community coming together. She provided updates on pillar and action plan progress — which is now at 35% overall. Madison then informed the trustees that the Exceptional Student Experience group is making great progress and its voice of customer (VOC) work regarding student satisfaction has been completed.

Madison also discussed the work of the University Enrollment Council and added, while VOC is not new to business, it was a culture shift at NEOMED — much-needed for us to become “one University.”

In addition to quarterly Committee reports there was a presentation given by Dr. Langell regarding feasibility work being undertaken by NEOMED and its external advisory council to determine if the University should develop a dental college.  

Upon discussing NEOMED’s goals and objectives for a dental college, Dr. Langell outlined a needs analysis that included evidence of Ohio’s dire need for more dentists to serve rural and under-resourced populations. Dr. Langell cited data from reports by the ADA, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Ohio Department of Health, among others, that reflect oral health as being the number one unmet health care need of Ohioans.

Dr. Langell explained that NEOMED would not need to build from scratch. Instead, the University would leverage existing facilities and faculty expertise while working with an advisory council to develop a multi-directional model of health care education that would integrate oral health into primary care and primary care into the dental setting.

A request for a motion was then made by Trustee Tim Timken to allow NEOMED to pursue a dental college, providing the University could obtain enough commitment and support (projected to be $25 million) to successfully launch and sustain a dental college. The Board unanimously approved NEOMED to pursue a dental college.

During the meeting, two officers were elected and one trustee appointment was made official.

Previous vice chair Phillip L. Trueblood was nominated and approved as Board chair and E. Douglas Beach, Ph.D., was nominated and approved as vice chair. Each may hold their position for two, one-year terms. Rick McQueen completed his two, one-year terms as chair.

Second-year medicine student Olivia L. Safady, who was appointed in June by Gov. Mike DeWine to the NEOMED Board of Trustees as a student-member, was officially sworn in by Maria Schimer, general counsel. Safady will serve a two-year term that runs through June 29, 2024.


Trustee Richard B. McQueen, student Trustee Olivia L. Safady and President Langell.

Trustee Richard B. McQueen, Trustee E. Douglas Beach, Ph.D., the board’s new vice chair, and President Langell.

Trustee Richard B. McQueen, Trustee Phillip L. Trueblood, the board’s new chair, and President Langell.

Student Trustee Olivia L. Safady is sworn in.

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