Well-being at Ohio State

Academic Voices: A Provost's Blog

Well-being at Ohio State

As we enter the summer season, many of us will enjoy the warm weather, take time off, and find ways to attend to our health and well-being. With the global pandemic, we have all learned how fragile health can be. The haze from the Canadian wildfires reminds us how fortunate we are to have fresh air to breathe. As a physician-scientist, the health and well-being of our university community are often top of mind for me.

Each of our colleges at The Ohio State University makes a tremendous contribution to the health and well-being of the communities and world around us. We are particularly fortunate to have seven health sciences colleges at our university, and their impact goes well beyond our campuses, reaching numerous communities across the state and region. This impact is due to the many people who comprise our complex healthcare infrastructure.

Our academic deans play a central role in this infrastructure. Recently, I shared that three health sciences deans will depart their leadership roles at Ohio State. I want to take this opportunity to recognize their commitment to well-being and celebrate all they have done for their respective colleges and the university.  

Dean Amy Fairchild

Amy Fairchild joined Ohio State in July 2019 as dean of the College of Public Health. Much of her tenure occurred during a particularly challenging time for our university, the state of Ohio, and the nation as we navigated the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Dean Fairchild was instrumental in the university’s robust response to the pandemic as she provided critical leadership to the Comprehensive Monitoring Team and creation of the Contact Tracing Team, which worked to keep students, faculty, staff, and the broader community safe.

Under Dean Fairchild’s leadership of the College of Public Health, enrollment and donor support grew, and the faculty and staff ranks increased by 40%. In addition, research expenditures expanded from $10.7 million in 2019 to $15.2 million in 2022. Dean Fairchild will leave the university to become a professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Dean Henry Mann

For the past decade, Henry Mann has served as dean of the College of Pharmacy, which has consistently placed in the U.S. News and World Report top 10 ranking for its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Under Dean Mann’s leadership, the college’s total research funding grew from $5.8 million in 2013 to $19.2 million in 2022. In addition, Dean Mann led the launch of a new PharmD curriculum that emphasizes patient-centered care, and he oversaw significant building renovations to improve learning spaces in Parks Hall and the Riffe Building.

Dean Mann also cultivated dynamic interdisciplinary relationships between the college and the Wexner Medical Center. As a result, students, researchers, and patients have benefitted from enhanced health outcomes within the central Ohio community, across the state, and throughout the country. Dean Mann will continue to serve the college as a faculty member.

Dean Bernadette Melnyk

At the College of Nursing, Bernadette Melnyk has served as dean for the past 12 years. Under her leadership, the college’s academic programming expanded significantly, its national rankings and student support soared, and its research funding increased from more than $1.9 million in FY 2011 to over $15 million in FY 2023. In addition, the college launched online programs such as the Master of Clinical Research, Master of Healthcare Innovation, and the nation’s first Doctor of Nursing Education.

Dean Melnyk’s passion for nurse practitioner-led care guided the creation of Total Health and Wellness, a Federally Qualified Health Center in which interprofessional teams integrate physical and mental health care at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East Hospital.

Her deep commitment to health and well-being will be invaluable as she transitions to her next role at Ohio State as vice president for health promotion and chief wellness officer. In addition, I am proud that Dean Melnyk and Melissa Shivers, senior vice president for student life, served as co-chairs of a university task force on student health and well-being.

Welcoming our new health sciences leaders
I am delighted to welcome new health sciences leaders to Ohio State. In April, John J. Warner, MD, became chief executive officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and executive vice president at Ohio State. In addition, Deanna L. Kroetz will join the university as the dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Karen Rose has been named our next dean of the College of Nursing.  

These newest leaders at Ohio State serve as a reminder of the many connections between our colleges and academic medicine, and the university and the Wexner Medical Center. Our students, practitioners, researchers, and patients all benefit from the remarkable ecosystem that Ohio State provides the communities we serve.

Pelotonia 2023
For the past 15 years, Pelotonia has given each of us a chance to contribute to the well-being of the many people whose lives are affected by cancer. Pelotonia is a fundraiser that supports the life-saving research that our extraordinary physicians, scientists, and students work on each day at Ohio State and within Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

By riding, volunteering, or donating, we support research to end cancer, a disease that affects too many of us — whether as a cancer survivor, someone currently undergoing treatment, or the friend, family member, or colleague of someone directly impacted.

I had the opportunity to complete my first Pelotonia ride last year, which was an inspiring, memorable experience. I look forward to Pelotonia 2023, August 4-6, and having the honor of serving as Team Buckeye co-captain, along with Molly Ranz Calhoun, president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association.

Recently, the Office of Academic Affairs created its own peloton, OAAerodynamic, as part of the Team Buckeye superpeloton. In addition, other colleges and units from across the university have established pelotons under Team Buckeye. I invite you to consider supporting Pelotonia as either a rider, challenger, or volunteer, or by donating. New this year, Pelotonia has added a “gravel day” on September 30 that includes three additional ride options.

I am proud of the many ways our university supports the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, and community. Summer’s warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to spend time on our physical and mental health. Walking, running, riding a bike, or simply being outside help us to improve our fitness and reduce stress. Have an enjoyable summer.