A new partnership between Hiram College and Northeast Ohio Medical University, both in Portage County, offers students a good reason to stay local. Hiram, a private liberal arts institution, announced Tuesday a collaboration that offers direct admission to five graduates a year to the medical school. The schools are working jointly as well to raise scholarship funds for the program.
Under the agreement, students in the program, which starts in fall 2014, will do a four-year course and commit to primary-care fields, such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. They also will be required upon graduation to provide care for five years to medically underserved populations, usually in rural or high-poverty areas.
With the agreement, the neighboring universities present an encouraging example of how institutions of higher learning in Northeast Ohio, private and public, are pooling their strengths — Hiram’s broad liberal arts foundation with NEOMED’s medical training — in response to diminishing resources and growing demands.
Like other states, Ohio faces a general shortage of primary-care physicians, the situation especially acute in its inner-cities and rural Appalachian counties. Commitments of service such as those required by this partnership not only create a pipeline into the medical field for a diversity of students, but they also fill a critical regional need.
If students are more likely to stay where they find jobs, the partnership promises one more anchor in Northeast Ohio.