After a morning of strategic planning discussions and a noon viewing of the monthly VITALS series — during which Bernhard Fassl, M.D., provided thought leadership on frugal innovation and reducing health care disparities in limited resource areas — NEOMED’s Board Trustees were primed for even more engagement and reporting of positive change happening at the University.
The Board of Trustees meeting was called to order at 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1.
President John Langell began by announcing that NEOMED had received formal notice from the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that NEOMED’s accreditation had been granted for another 10 years. Dr. Langell remarked that full 10-yr reaccreditation was not only a testament to the quality of the University, but also a reflection of the great work being done by faculty, staff and students.
The Board was presented with the President’s Diversity and Equity Advisory Council (PDEAC) Impact Report, which showcased much of the work occurring in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He noted that while much work still needs to be done, student diversity (21%) at NEOMED had already exceeded that of the state of Ohio, which is 17.5%.
Dr. Langell also provided the following updates:
- The WittKieffer search process for a College of Medicine dean continues.
- Since the board’s approval of the University’s pursuit of a dental college, much progress has been made including the appointments of the Bitonte College of Dentistry’s interim inaugural dean (Frank Beck, D.D.S.) and associate dean (Kristin Victoroff, D.D.S.). Drs. Beck and Victoroff are now working with others on the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) application process. The goal is to start the College’s first class by the fall of 2025.
- The Ohio Chancellor's Council on Graduate Studies (CCGS) approved NEOMED’s program proposal for a Master’s in Global Health and Innovation. The University will now seek HLC approval.
Transitioning to news and other events, Dr. Langell reported that NEOMED’s first “Creating Transformational Leader’s Day” went well. He thanked Lacey Madison and her team as well as Forrest Faison, M.D., for being a VITALS speaker. He also congratulated several transformational leaders on their recent recognitions:
- Crystal Mackall, M.D. (’84), elected as a new member of the National Academy of Medicine,
- Nancy Gantt, M.D., inducted into membership in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators,
- Amy Acton, M.D. (’90), received the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley Leadership in Health Award,
- James Kravec, M.D. (’02), received the Mercy Health Foundation Heart of the Mission Award, and
- Trustee Darrel McNair, M.B.A., The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio’s 2022 Humanitarian Award.
Dr. Langell completed his report by announcing the success of Giving Tuesday and thanking all who gave.
In other reports, Board of Trustee student members Sanjay K.A. Jinka, a fourth-year student, and Olivia L. Safady, a second-year student, recognized Harmony Stanger, assistant director of student affairs in the College of Medicine, and Michael Appleman, director of primary care education in the College of Medicine, for being individuals who go above and beyond to make a positive impact on students.
The student trustees, both medicine students, also highlighted topics discussed during the Board’s earlier strategy session. They acknowledged the University’s publicity initiatives but expressed a desire for more publicity and brand recognition on the national stage. They voiced the concerns of many students that NEOMED’s brand as a high-quality university is well known in the region, but not nationally. They felt this put them at a disadvantage when competing for top out of state residencies. The students shared that they wanted more interactions with alumni as well as additional support to attend national conferences.
The Board of Trustees officially awarded the title of professor emeritus to John Y. L. Chiang, Ph.D., FAASLD. The honor is reserved for retired members of the faculty who have given dedicated and distinguished service to the University.
Dr. Chiang contributed more than 44 years of service to medical education and research at NEOMED before retiring in August 2022. Among his many accolades, he was the first recipient of the prestigious title, Distinguished University Professor.