Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Robert F. Wolfe and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation has made a $5 million grant to endow a chair for the chief clinical officer position at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Pending approval and appointment by the Wexner Medical Center Board and The Ohio State University Board of Trustees at their November meetings, the new Wolfe Foundation Chief Clinical Officer Chair will honor the leadership of its first designee and current chief clinical officer (CCO), Dr. Andrew M. Thomas, who has been instrumental in the Wexner Medical Center’s and the state of Ohio’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Upon Thomas’ retirement, the chair will be renamed the Wolfe Foundation – Dr. Andrew M. Thomas Chief Clinical Officer Chair.
“We are immensely grateful for the Wolfe family’s years of consistent generosity in support of both Ohio State and the city of Columbus,” Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson said. “Dr. Thomas is a dedicated leader and a consummate team builder at the Wexner Medical Center, and those qualities were clearly on display in his work throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In the short time I’ve known Dr. Thomas, he has been instrumental in shaping the university’s response to COVID-19, which should come as no surprise, as he has long been a trusted source of information and a calming influence for our community. We are fortunate to have him among the many valued and talented individuals who make the Wexner Medical Center among the best health care facilities in the world.”
Originally from Louisville, Ohio, Thomas received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, his medical degree from the Ohio State College of Medicine, and then completed both an internal medicine residency and a quality improvement fellowship at Ohio State. During his fellowship, he earned an MBA at the Ohio State Fisher College of Business.
A faculty member since 1998, Thomas continues to see patients as a primary care physician within the Executive Health Program. In addition to his role as CCO, he serves as interim co-leader of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, senior associate vice president for Health Sciences, and an associate professor of Clinical Internal Medicine. Beyond his work at Ohio State, Thomas is the secretary-treasurer for the Ohio State Medical Association and is a past president of the Columbus Medical Association.
“The Wolfe family’s impact on our Medical Center and in our community has played such a significant role in driving our growth and success,” Thomas said. “For decades, John and Ann’s wise counsel and mentorship has helped so many of us in this community develop into future leaders. I am honored and humbled to be recognized by their family.”
In his 22 years in a management role at the medical center, Thomas has helped lead initiatives in a wide variety of areas including electronic health records, quality and patient safety, throughput and efficiency, patient experience, community outreach, graduate medical education, provider health and professional development.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first began in 2020, Governor Mike DeWine sought his guidance on Ohio’s strategic response and, since that time, Thomas has continued to work closely with leaders in state government as well as clinicians from over 40 hospitals and health systems across 36 Ohio counties. For many Ohioans, Thomas has been a steadfast source for transparent and accurate information.
“Andy is among Ohio State’s finest clinicians and leaders, bringing humility and purpose to everything he does. It’s very similar to the Wolfe family’s humble, caring approach to philanthropy and service,” said Michael Faber, vice president of Advancement at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “We’re delighted to celebrate this gift from a family well known for their love of Columbus and giving back to this growing community.”
Spanning four generations, the Wolfe family and its Foundation continue to influence economic, civic and philanthropic development in Columbus. From COSI, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Scioto Mile to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, John Glenn International Airport and the city’s professional sports teams, their legacy has taken shape over 125 years.
At Ohio State, the family’s wide-ranging philanthropy includes cancer research, veterinary medicine, study abroad programs, and athletics where they have similarly endowed the Wolfe Foundation Athletic Director position held by Gene Smith. John F. Wolfe served as a medical center board member until his death in 2016. His vision helped spur Ohio State to build its new inpatient hospital, opening in 2026. His widow, Ann Wolfe, has a long tradition of championing health care institutions, including serving as a member of the University Hospitals Board and as the longtime chair of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, where she has played a pivotal role in three major comprehensive campaigns.
Wolfe, who is chairwoman of the Wolfe Foundation Board, shared, “Our family is delighted to support the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center by endowing this leadership position. Andy represents the very best of our health care community, providing compassionate care to his patients and enduring support to their families and loved ones.”