Newswise — Baldwin Wallace University and Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine have entered into an early medical school acceptance agreement aimed at developing a pipeline of pre-med students committed to primary care.

A distinctive ingredient in the partnership is BW's new Primary Healthcare Advancement Program, an exclusive pre-med track linked with BW’s Public Health major and focused on fostering aspiring primary care physicians to address a nationwide shortage.

Under the agreement, up to five students per year in the BW Primary Healthcare Advancement Program may apply for conditional early assurance admission to the Heritage College, which is opening a campus in affiliation with Cleveland Clinic located on the campus of Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights in 2015.

Representatives of the Heritage College and BW, led by Ohio University Vice Provost for Health Affairs Jack Brose, D.O., Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., BW President Robert C. Helmer and BW Provost Stephen Stahl, celebrated the partnership at a signing ceremony on BW's Berea campus today.

Training Aspiring Physicians to Meet Medical Need"Since its founding, the Heritage College has provided excellent medical training to Ohio residents, who often go on to practice in the state," Dr. Brose said. "This partnership with Baldwin Wallace demonstrates how higher education institutions can work together to better serve the needs of Ohio residents while providing a wonderful opportunity for some of northeast Ohio’s finest aspiring physicians."

Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio, making the school uniquely positioned to help address projected shortages in primary care physicians in the state and the nation over the next decade. This shortage can already be seen in northeast Ohio, an area with 176 federally designated primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas.

"We’re excited to partner with Baldwin Wallace to transform the landscape of primary care medicine in the state,” Dr. Johnson said. "Some of northeast Ohio's best and brightest students will be able to pursue their medical education in a place they call home, with the greater likelihood that many of them will stay to practice there. Residents of rural and inner city medically underserved areas feel the greatest effects of primary care physician shortages, so partnerships like this are important in addressing the region’s most pressing health care needs."

Powerful Partnership Aims to Fill Primary Care Gap"We are delighted to forge this alliance with the Heritage College, pleased to offer an exciting new pathway to a superior medical education for Baldwin Wallace graduates, and committed to developing programs that help solve our region’s problems," President Helmer said. "The BW-Heritage College Early Assurance option and BW Primary Care Advancement pre-med program, added to our undergraduate Public Health major, Accelerated Nursing second bachelor's program, and Physician Assistant graduate degree, will prepare BW students to meet growing needs in the primary healthcare field."

Baldwin Wallace University and Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine have entered into an early medical school acceptance agreement aimed at developing a pipeline of pre-med students committed to primary care.

BW's Primary Healthcare Advancement Program will blend coursework from the University's Public Health major and the inter-divisional Comprehensive Healthcare Science Curriculum, with a goal of guiding students toward successful primary care medical training.

Students selected for the program may apply for provisional acceptance into the Heritage College early assurance program following their sophomore year. To remain in the program, students must meet certain criteria, such as maintaining a minimum GPA. Successful completion of BW's program also prepares students to compete for admission into other primary care medical programs.

About Baldwin Wallace UniversityBaldwin Wallace University, founded in 1845, was one of the first colleges to admit students without regard to race or gender. An independent, coeducational university of 4,500 students, BW offers coursework in the liberal arts tradition in more than 60 academic areas. Located in Berea, 12 miles from downtown Cleveland, BW offers students the cultural, educational and business advantages of a major metropolitan area.

About OU Heritage CollegeThe Heritage College is a national leader in training primary care physicians. The college is number one in Ohio and 11th nationally in medical schools that graduate physicians who practice in underserved rural areas. The state's only osteopathic medical school, the college is also opening a new site in Dublin, Ohio, in 2014.