XAVIER UNIVERSITY TO ESTABLISH NATION’S FIRST JESUIT COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE
On Friday, Xavier University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved plans to establish the nation’s first Jesuit College of Osteopathic Medicine on the university’s campus, addressing a critical future need to train more primary care doctors while bolstering Xavier’s status as a leader in mission-driven, health sciences education.
Xavier will host a press conference on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in front of Hinkle Hall. At the event, university leaders will shed more light on the project.
The medical college’s focus on osteopathy — a holistic, patient-centered approach to medicine that focuses, primarily, on preventive health care — aligns particularly well with Xavier’s identity and its Jesuit Catholic mission, said Xavier University President Colleen Hanycz, PhD. One of the core commitments of a Jesuit education is cura personalis, an emphasis on “care for the entire person” with an all-encompassing focus on mind, body and spirit.
“Xavier’s mission is deeply tied to our culture of care, making our campus a perfect fit for a College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Hanycz. “Today’s announcement comes at a pivotal time, as our university faces a rapidly changing landscape in higher education and our communities throughout the state and multi-state region stare down a serious need for additional primary care physicians. Establishing a medical college puts us on the forefront of addressing this need, particularly in underserved communities throughout our region. This college will sit squarely at the intersection of community need, Xavier’s established academic strengths and a remarkable Jesuit Catholic mission that emphasizes service that is rooted in justice and love. We will soon welcome aspiring doctors with servants’ hearts, instilling in them the knowledge, skills and values that will empower them to make a true difference through their profession.”
The doctors of osteopathy Xavier produces will make an immediate impact in Ohio, which must add nearly 700 primary-care physicians to its workforce by 2030 to catch up with demand, according to forecasts from the Robert Graham Center, a Washington-based organization that conducts policy research in family medicine and primary care.
To house the College — set to become only the second osteopathic medicine school in Ohio and the 40th nationally, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine — Xavier plans to construct a new complex on its main campus.
Xavier leaders aim to welcome the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s inaugural class in 2027 and send off its first graduates in 2031, a remarkable exclamation point as the University celebrates is bicentennial and 200 years of excellence in Jesuit Catholic education. The inaugural class is expected to number 75 students, with plans to gradually expand class sizes to 150 per class.
“Xavier has a long track record of preparing students to thrive as health care professionals through our successful pre-med program. Today’s announcement is a momentous step in furthering this effort,” said Rachel Chrastil, PhD, Xavier’s provost and chief academic officer. “Our College of Osteopathic Medicine will instill in its students the knowledge, rigor and compassion to become leaders in medicine. These next four years will be dedicated to ensuring that, from day one, our osteopathic medicine students will benefit from the latest in technology and medical education, as well as wrap-around services and world-class care to help them become great physicians.”
The presence of a medical college will also set up Xavier for a strong interprofessional environment surrounding health care education. Less than 5 percent of all colleges and universities in the United States offer a medical degree, and those that do have stronger health science programs offering higher community health outcomes.
Xavier is known for its strength in health sciences, as seen in the growth and success of programs such as biology, biomedical sciences, pre-professional health and health services administration. Statistically, a Xavier pre-med student is more than twice as likely to be accepted into medical school than the average student. Across the past several years, more than 85% of Xavier graduates who applied to medical school were accepted, compared to the national average of 40%.
The medical college will also complement the university’s strengths in health sciences, health services administration, and nursing, Xavier’s most popular major by enrollment. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, as well as certificates, Xavier’s College of Nursing develops the next generation of leaders in holistic health care delivery with an educational foundation grounded in Jesuit values.
“I am so excited about the opportunity for interprofessional education and synergy that can be built among faculty and students in the College of Nursing and the College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Nezam Al-Nsair, dean of Xavier’s College of Nursing. “Interprofessional education prepares nurses and physicians to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and provide patient-centered care.”
Several external partners in Greater Cincinnati have expressed their support for the project, including numerous area health systems.
TriHealth President and CEO Mark C. Clement, who holds both a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in health services administration from Xavier, said he looks forward to the continued partnership between the university and TriHealth.
“Our nation is facing a critical shortage of physicians, and the healthcare industry needs new programs high-quality medical schools like this to ensure we can continue to provide the level of care that our communities need and deserve,” Clement said. “The medical school is the logical next step for Xavier, building on its nationally recognized Pre-Med Program, which has produced thousands of talented physicians — including my father and brother. TriHealth looks forward to collaborating with Xavier on the new medical school, just as we have with many other endeavors both in and outside of the classroom.”
Another Xavier alum, Deborah Hayes, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the university, said the new medical college would provide a great benefit to the community.
“Our region benefits when leading institutions in our community work collaboratively, embrace innovation and think boldly to solve challenges, which is precisely why we enthusiastically support Xavier University’s endeavor to establish an osteopathic medicine college,” said Hayes. “With nationwide predictions of growing physician shortages in the coming years, we applaud Xavier’s efforts to grow and attract top-tier talent locally so that health care organizations can serve their mission to improve the health of this community. This is a true testament to their leadership and their commitment to this community. We look forward to working with the university to realize this critical mission.”
BY THE NUMBERS: PROJECTED ECONOMIC IMPACT
In addition to addressing the rising demand for primary-care doctors, the college also poses numerous economic benefits for the region. According to a feasibility study commissioned by the university and prepared by Tripp Umbach:
- Construction of the college’s facilities will generate approximately $125.5 million in economic impact, support more than 740 jobs, and produce $3.2 million in state and local taxes.
- By 2033, the college could directly and indirectly support 351 jobs in the region while generating $48.5 million in total economic impact per year and $1.7 million in state and local taxes, according to the feasibility study.
- Based on the proposed class size of 150 students annually, the study estimates that an additional $198 million could be added to the state economy every year, if at least 60% of students complete residencies and practice in Ohio.Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-longest-running Catholic university in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Xavier as one of the best universities in the country, while The Princeton Review names it one of the “Best 388 Colleges in America.” Follow Xavier on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok.