A student peers through a microscope at Baldwin Wallace University

BW enters into a new early medical school acceptance agreement with Northeast Ohio Medical University that will begin admitting pre-med students this fall.

BW and NEOMED partner to educate future physicians for underserved communities

June 21, 2016

A student peers through a microscope at Baldwin Wallace University

Baldwin Wallace University and Northeast Ohio Medical University have signed an agreement to expand their respective pathway programs to further address the shortage of primary care physicians in Northeast Ohio. Called the NEOMED-BW Partnership for Healthcare Equity, the partnership enables BW students to receive provisional admission to NEOMED’s College of Medicine.

Students interested in NEOMED’s Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree may seek early provisional admission to NEOMED in their second year of BW’s primary healthcare advancement undergraduate program. They receive a holistic review of their academic preparation and commitment to primary care for the medically underserved. Upon successful graduation, with a B.S. in public health and a minor in biology, they are admitted to NEOMED.

Addressing Urban and Rural Healthcare Disparities

Both BW Primary Healthcare Advancement Program and NEOMED’s pre-med/M.D. pathway have similar arrangements with other universities. Each is expanding to address a growing shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in urban and rural areas, in the wake of increasing access to health insurance and an aging population. The American Academy of Family Physicians has predicted a shortage of some 40,000 family doctors in the United States by 2020.

The NEOMED-BW program will recruit and grant admissions preference to students from traditionally medically-underserved rural or urban communities.

“Underrepresented students tend to be less likely to be admitted to medical school than their affluent suburban-area counterparts, but they are generally more likely to return to their community to pursue their medical practice and more likely to enter primary care specialties,” said Dr. Joseph P. Yavornitzky, BW professor and director of BW PHAP.

Studies have shown that patients are more likely to trust and respond to physicians who understand their culture and can communicate with them; the shortage of physicians, particularly in the underserved areas, may be reduced simply by providing access to more students.   

“We know of students from underserved areas who want to be physicians and want to provide care to their home communities,” said Erik Porfeli, Ph.D., associate dean for community engagement and admission. “And we also know that patients desire and respond positively to physicians who reflect them.”


Innovative Primary Healthcare Curriculum

BW’s Primary Healthcare Advancement Program is a specialized option for pre-med students. The program links BW’s public health major coursework to a comprehensive healthcare science curriculum in order to cultivate a deeper understanding of the medical field in general, as well as health promotion and disease prevention. The rigorous coursework also sharpens the skills necessary for the latest Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), and provides interaction with practicing primary care physicians.

“The goal is to counsel students about the increasing importance of primary care medicine within our changing healthcare system, and provide curriculum linked with primary care medical programs,” said Yavornitzky.

Growing medical school pathways

The new NEOMED partnership creates a third early assurance medical school opportunity available to BW students, added to existing agreements with Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Each partnership offers a distinctive pathway to a medical degree.

NEOMED prides itself on its willingness to partner with higher education and healthcare institution partners. While each is unique, this is the sixth in which the University’s College of Medicine actually allocates M.D. seats. NEOMED’s pre-med/M.D. pathway partners include Cleveland State University, Hiram College, Kent State University, The University of Akron, Youngstown State University and, now, Baldwin Wallace.

About Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)

For 40 years, Northeast Ohio Medical University has worked in collaboration with its educational, clinical and research partners to successfully train health professionals and medical researchers who serve and impact the region and beyond. The University trains students in a team-based, interprofessional environment and offers doctor of medicine (M.D.) and doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degrees, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees and research opportunities in other medical areas. Visit http://www.neomed.edu/