June 12, 2013


Message from the President

I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Sonja Harris-Haywood, an award-winning family medicine educator, physician and researcher specializing in health disparities and cultural competency, has been appointed Director of the Northeast Ohio Medical University-Cleveland State University Partnership for Urban Health. Her title at Cleveland State will be Associate Vice Provost for Health Affairs, and she will begin July 1.

To oversee this trailblazing joint venture aimed at yielding primary care physicians specifically trained to address underserved urban communities, you would be hard-pressed to find a more qualified candidate than Dr. Harris-Haywood. She will lead our efforts in refining and advancing a unique approach to interprofessional education, with physicians learning side-by-side with other health professionals, and providing increased opportunities to underrepresented groups in medicine in an effort to diversify the workforce and establish a nationally-recognized model in urban health.

Dr. Harris-Haywood's proven expertise in family medicine and health disparities fit perfectly with the mission of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health. She comes to us from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, where she spent the past nine years as an assistant professor of family medicine as well as a medical staff physician and preceptor.

Previously, Dr. Harris-Haywood taught family medicine at New Jersey Medical School and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Her extensive clinical experience also includes a position as an emergency-room physician at University Hospitals, as well as positions at community health centers in Washington, D.C., and in New Jersey.

Dr. Harris-Haywood is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Cleveland Medical Association, among other organizations. She has conducted research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. Her work has been published in Archives of Internal Medicine, Medical Care, Journal of the National Medical Association and other peer-reviewed publications.

In 2010, Dr. Harris-Haywood won the Edgar Jackson Jr., M.D., Faculty Mentor Award from University Hospitals Case Medical Center Minority House Staff and the Family Medicine Mentorship Award from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her other honors include a Minority Faculty Development Award from University Hospitals.

Dr. Harris-Haywood holds a Master of Science degree in clinical investigation from Case Western Reserve University. She earned a Doctor of Medicine degree at New Jersey Medical School and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Seton Hall University.

The NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health encourages economically disadvantaged youth from the Cleveland area to complete undergraduate coursework at CSU, enroll in the College of Medicine at NEOMED to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree and return after residency to work in medically underserved areas in Northeast Ohio. At least half of the students' training will take place in Cleveland, including clinical work at community health centers.

The NEOMED-CSU Partnership has been selected to participate in the Urban Universities for HEALTH Learning Collaborative, a national academic initiative that aims to investigate approaches to improve the health of urban communities by developing their health care workforce. A grant totaling more than $400,000 over a four-year period recently was awarded to NEOMED and CSU in support of their partnership by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.

With headquarters currently in the Union Building on CSU's campus, the NEOMED-CSU Partnership will eventually be housed in CSU's new Center for Innovation in Health Professions, scheduled to open in 2015.

A rigorous search led us to Dr. Harris-Haywood, and I am thrilled to have her join our team. Please join me in welcoming her.

Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University


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