NEOMED President Series: John T. Langell Leads University into New Era

After nearly a decade of steady leadership and rapid growth, Jay Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., decided the time was right to retire and move to Colorado to be near his family. Finding the next person to lead NEOMED was crucial, as the University looked ahead to more growth and change in medical education as well as in the ever-evolving field of health care. 

After an extensive national search, John T. Langell, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., was named NEOMED’s seventh president, effective Oct. 1, 2019.

Dr. Langell’s impressive background seemed tailor-made for the leader of a health sciences university. A minimally invasive gastrointestinal and endocrine surgeon, researcher and entrepreneur, Dr. Langell arrived from the University of Utah, where he had served as the vice dean for the School of Medicine, as well as the founder and executive director of the university’s Center for Medical Innovation. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Dr. Langell also served as commander (CEO) of Air Force Health Care Facilities, where he led four Air Force reserve medical facilities.

It quickly became clear that Dr. Langell had the background to guide NEOMED in its undertaking of producing standout leaders in the health care field.

Dr. Langell set the tone of his presidency with the Langell Listening Tour, meeting with various NEOMED stakeholders for honest discussions to learn about their perspectives on the University. Armed with the key lessons from the tour, Dr. Langell was prepared to make many changes, including developing a new strategic plan and a market-driven compensation plan; delivering an exceptional student experience, empowered employee excellence and increased faculty governance; and increasing University transparency with regular campus updates and the ongoing Stand Up and Fight for the Safety and Wellness of our Diverse Community forums. Dr. Langell also added a new monthly speaker series called VITALS, which delivers ideas on transforming health care from prominent leaders in the field; and the NEOvations Bench to Bedside program, which connects students with experts as they create health care solutions through medical technology design. Additionally, master’s level programs in anesthesiology and health care leadership have been introduced in the College of Graduate Studies, while its Master of Anatomical Sciences program has been restructured as a pathway program to the College of Medicine. 

All of this has been accomplished despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the University to largely change its operation to learning and working remotely. Even in this instance, Dr. Langell continued to move forward with enhanced plans such as the medical office building, turning obstacles into opportunities ― for example, fast-tracking the University’s planned adoption of Lean Six Sigma training to make introductory courses available to employees during early days of the pandemic.

Perhaps the most impactful accomplishment during Dr. Langell’s first year has been the introduction of the new Strategic Plan, which will guide the University for the next three to five years. The new plan, which was derived from employee surveys and many contributing members of the NEOMED community, launched new mission and vision statements, as well as a statement of core values:


NEOMED harnesses diversity, innovation and collaboration to create transformative leaders and improve health through education, discovery and service.


To be the model of excellence in innovative education and impactful research to create transformational health care leaders of tomorrow.

Core Values

NEOMED incorporates the following values in all that we do:

Leadership | Excellence | Advocacy | Diversity | Equity | Respect

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