ATHENS, Ohio — An emergency medicine physician and alumna of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine will become the new dean of the college’s Athens campus effective June 1.
Beth A. Longenecker, D.O. (’91), who was chosen from three finalists to fill the position, is currently associate dean for clinical education and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“I’m excited,” Longenecker said about her Heritage College appointment. “This is an opportunity to come back and actually give back to the school where I got my start as an osteopathic physician.”
Ken Johnson, D.O., Heritage College executive dean and Ohio University chief medical affairs officer, announced Longenecker as the dean choice during his 2019 State of the College address Feb. 28, prompting spontaneous applause from his three-campus audience.
“I’m very pleased that Dr. Longenecker has accepted the position of Athens Campus dean,” Johnson said afterwards. “She will come on board at a time of dynamic change for both our college and the osteopathic medical profession. I’m confident, based on her national and regional leadership, that she’s ready and able to contribute creatively to that process.”
After graduating with a B.A. in musicology with a minor in piano performance from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1987, Longenecker began her medical training the same year. She was board certified in emergency medicine in 2000. Prior to her associate deanship at Midwestern, she served from 2013-2015 as associate dean for clinical sciences at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
From 2002 to 2012, Longenecker was program director successively for two emergency medicine residency programs: St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx, N.Y., from 2002-2005, followed by Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Miami Heart Institute in Miami Beach, Fla.
“Dr. Longenecker has the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the Heritage College and on the community at large,” Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali said. “I am confident she is the right person to join the Heritage College team as it continues to break new ground through its evolving curriculum.”
Longenecker said she’s particularly eager to get involved with community outreach programs at the Heritage College.
“I’m very excited by the interest in health care in southeastern Ohio, and the impact we can make through the community health clinics and the outreach,” she said. “And I’m very interested in helping to foster growth in that area. I’m also excited to be part of a campus where we have a school of engineering, a school of leadership and other colleges that can work together to make an impact on medical education.” She congratulated the college on its development of the new Pathways to Health and Wellness Curriculum, which she suggested was a wise move in light of both changes taking place in health care delivery and the more experiential learning style of the upcoming generation of medical students.
“In this rapidly expanding informational age, we definitely are making the right choices in moving to a curriculum that’s more systems-based and hands-on,” she said.
Longenecker currently serves as president of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society, as an evaluator for the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and as a trustee for the Foundation for Osteopathic Emergency Medicine. She previously has served as vice chair of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians Research Committee and was awarded the ACOEP Women in Medicine Leadership Award.
Longenecker becomes the second female dean for the college since its creation in 1975. In 1993, the college made history when it hired Barbara Ross Lee, D.O., as the first female African American dean of a U.S. medical college.
The creation of a campus-specific dean for academics at the Athens campus was a recommendation that came out of strategic planning discussions involving faculty, staff and the American Association of Medical Colleges. In July 2018, Heritage College Vice Dean Wayne Carlsen, D.O., who also serves director of the college’s Community Health Programs & Area Health Education Center, was named as interim Athens campus dean.
Information provided by the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.