New task force to focus on developing primary care physicians targeted for urban communities
Cleveland State University (CSU) has appointed Mark Penn, M.D., to implement a new partnership between CSU and the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM).
Dr. Penn currently serves as senior vice president for academic affairs and executive associate dean at NEOUCOM. He will serve as vice provost for health affairs at CSU and as special advisor to the president at NEOUCOM. He will maintain his current role at NEOUCOM and divide his time equally between the two institutions.
One of Dr. Penn’s first responsibilities will be to finalize a task force focused on producing high-quality primary care physicians dedicated to serving urban communities. He said a major goal is to create a unique medical-education track designed to address urban health care issues. The program will target potential students as early as high school, and after attaining their medical degrees, work to eventually place them into long-term careers in urban centers.
“There is a great need for primary care physicians in inner-city neighborhoods,” Dr. Penn said. “We will create a program that will attract the best talent, provide them with a uniquely tailored education, and create incentives for graduates to continue practicing in our urban cores.”
Dr. Penn said such incentives could include scholarships and debt-reduction plans for graduates who commit a portion of their careers to urban health care. Another goal is to design a medical curriculum aimed specifically at urban health care issues. This will include efforts to attract a diverse and underrepresented minority student population into the program.
Under the plan, students in high school and college considering careers in medicine will be able to apply for early admission consideration into NEOUCOM through a pre-medical curriculum at CSU.
For the first two years, beginning with the entering class of 2011, there are up to 20 spots available to academically-qualified CSU students through a direct entry, early decision admissions program. The task force is also working to identify potential hospital partnerships that will grant the students residency slots in the greater Cleveland area.
“This will be a unique program unlike any other in the country,” said CSU President Ronald Berkman. “We chose Dr. Penn for his proven success and experience with NEOUCOM. This is an exciting project for both institutions, but more importantly, it will fill an essential need for communities that need access to better health care.”
In his role, Dr. Penn also will coordinate CSU's Center for 21st Century Health Professions.
Dr. Penn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in microbiology from The Ohio State University, a doctor of medicine from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo and a Master of Business Administration degree from Regent University. Previously, Dr. Penn was in private practice, and since 1988 he has been involved in undergraduate medical and graduate medical education associated with NEOUCOM and Summa Health System.
Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of more than 16,000 students, 8 colleges and more than 250 academic programs, CSU provides a hands-on learning environment that connects students, ideas and real-world experience.
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