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Dr. Sonja Harris-Haywood Appointed Director of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health

Award-Winning Educator, Physician and Researcher to Lead College of Medicine Partnership that Will Produce Primary Care Physicians

Cleveland – Sonja Harris-Haywood, M.D., M.S., 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 (NEOMED)-Cleveland State University Partnership for Urban Health.

The NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health was created to yield primary care physicians specifically trained to address underserved urban communities. At least half of the students' training will take place in Cleveland, including clinical work at area community health centers.

Dr. Harris-Haywood will lead the efforts in refining and advancing NEOMED and CSU's unique approach to interprofessional education, with physicians learning side-by-side with other health professions, providing increased opportunities to underrepresented groups in medicine in an effort to diversify the workforce and establish a nationally-recognized model in urban health. Her anticipated start date is July 1.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Dr. Harris-Haywood and look forward to working with her to build upon the strengths of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health. Her background in practicing medicine coupled with her experience in academia will lend to our mission of educating the next generation of urban primary care physicians who have a strong commitment to Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED. “Dr. Jeffrey Susman, College of Medicine dean, has done a phenomenal job in working with the College of Medicine and our colleagues at CSU to lead the efforts in building the Partnership and recruit Dr. Harris-Haywood to take the helm.”

“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,” said Ronald Berkman, president of Cleveland State University. “A rigorous search led us to Dr. Harris-Haywood, and we are thrilled to have her join the NEOMED-CSU team.”

Dr. Harris-Haywood comes to the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health 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.

With an emphasis on health disparities and cultural competency, Dr. Harris-Haywood 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. It is recognized as the lead program for the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions, a national organization devoted to improving health care education and increasing diversity in health professions.

The NEOMED-CSU Partnership also 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, administered through a collective effort between the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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 Health Innovation, scheduled to open in 2015.

About Northeast Ohio Medical University

Northeast Ohio Medical University is a community-based, public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in Northeast Ohio working in collaboration with its educational and clinical partners. With a focus on scientific and medical research, and the interprofessional training of health professionals that is unique to the state of Ohio, the University offers a doctor of medicine (M.D.) and a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, in addition to graduate-level coursework and research opportunities leading to master's and doctoral degrees in other medical areas. Northeast Ohio Medical University is a founding member of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Visit www.neomed.ed.