University of Toledo president Sharon Gaber and Ohio University president Duane Nellis signed a memorandum of understanding at the Department of Education in Columbus, Ohio to form the Ohio Health Alliance for Innovation in Population Health on Oct. 5.
According to a UT press release, Rick Hodges, former director of the Ohio Department of Health and a UT alumnus, was named director of the alliance to collaborate with other organizations in Ohio.
The alliance was created to help combine expertise and community partners of both universities to fix key health problems such as opioid addition, health-care access, chronic disease and infant mortality, said Christopher Ingersoll, dean of Health and Human Services at UT.
“Our institutions represent two of the largest health-focused colleges in Ohio with well over 100 faculty researchers between the two colleges,” Leite said in a UT press release. “By combining forces and assembling teams of experts, we will be able to compete for the resources necessary to solve the population health problems in our region and throughout the state.”
The first health problem they will combat is the opiate abuse problem, which will include more extensive collaborative research on use and abuse among different populations and explorations of best practice models to community education, treatment and pre
vention programming. This includes rigorous evaluations of outcomes of various approaches, said Leite.
The College of Law and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs are also involved in this alliance because there are health policies and policies for improving health that Health and Human Services may not think about, said Ingersoll.
The formation of the alliance began with a conversation between Ohio University dean of Health and Human Services Randy Leite and his UT counterpart Ingersoll.
Leite said they have been talking about collaborative efforts between all the health colleges in Ohio, but only UT and OU showed interest.
Ingersoll said OU students will be able to take some the classes offered here at their school and UT will be able to do the same with OU courses, which will be online.
They hope to include all the colleges on both campuses, but for now it is only the Health and Human Services colleges, the College of Law at UT and Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
Ingersoll said they also wanted to create an opportunity for students to be involved and to have an advantage in their careers.
“I’m looking forward to working with the many excellent programs that are already in place across the state,” Hodges said in a UT press release. “The alliance will serve as a collaborator, not a competitor.”