Premier Health, Wright State form new academic affiliation

Dr. Amaal Salhieh, 3rd year physician resident; Dr. Eneyew Tilahun, 1st year physician resident; Dr. Anna Moore, 2nd year physician resident; and, Dr. Hannah Brinkman, 1st year physician resident.
Dr. Amaal Salhieh, third-year physician resident; Dr. Eneyew Tilahun, first- year physician resident; Dr. Anna Moore, second-year physician resident; and, Dr. Hannah Brinkman, first-year physician resident working at Miami Valley Hospital. CONTRIBUTED

Wright State University and Premier Health have an official academic affiliation agreement that both said will help strengthen training and retain new doctors and nurses in this region.

The two major institutions have worked together for years, and many of the physicians and nurses now caring for Dayton-area patients got their start learning at Premier hospitals and medical offices.

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Leaders hope that their behind the scenes work of becoming formally affiliated will mean more of this, with a stronger and clearer pipeline from the classroom to health workers rooted in the Dayton region.

“This agreement takes it beyond the relationship that we’ve had in the past ... looking more holistically at how do we provide the workforce and the quality of those medical professionals that is needed in our region to support the health care industry,” Wright State President Sue Edwards said.

The agreement includes Boonshoft School of Medicine programs and Wright State’s nursing and health sciences programs.

This agreement “frames Wright State and Premier Health as preferred partners” and the two institutions will prioritize working with each other on new initiatives, they stated in a joint announcement on Tuesday.

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The Boonshoft School of Medicine is a community-based medical school, which doesn’t have an attached university hospital. Premier Health trains most Boonshoft School of Medicine residents and medical students. The Boonshoft School of Medicine will continue to sponsor the residency program at Premier Health facilities.

This new affiliation agreement is still distinct from a university hospital relationship.

The organizations now have a Joint Strategic Planning Committee to communicate and steer joint decisions.

Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Premier Health, said a difference with the new affiliation is they are now doing more at the committee level to track data and outcomes. They can look at demand for positions and specific shortages, and the two can long-term plan.

“Nothing is stagnant in our industry. So we have to be on top. It’s not just the data, it’s the expertise around the table,” Boosalis said.

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The ongoing collaborative relationship between Wright State and Premier is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy through a commitment to train students from Ohio and out of state to remain in the state, Edwards said.

“As one of the largest employers in the region, Premier Health is providing career opportunities for our students,” she said. “Our job is to support them in this mission, and at the same time provide our students with high level experiential learning opportunities so that following graduation they are employed and remain in the region.”

For Premier Health, it’s a pipeline strategy, Boosalis said. “We want to be able to recruit and retain the best possible doctors and nurses for our communities,” she said.

Premier Health operates its flagship Miami Valley Hospital, Miami Valley Hospital North and South hospital campuses, Upper Valley Medical Center and Atrium Medical Center. The health network also has outpatient services and a network of specialty and primary care physicians.

The health network employs more than 13,000 and recruits heavily from Wright State.

The Boonshoft School of Medicine and Premier Health said they share key faculty and clinicians. They are creating a rural family medicine residency program to train physicians.

The Wright State University and Premier Health Clinical Trials Research Alliance conducts clinical trials throughout Southwest Ohio in a variety of health care areas.

Wright State’s Institutional Review Board provides approval for Premier clinical trials and studies involving people as the research subjects.

The nursing program at Wright State provides scholarship assistance for Premier Health nurses to pursue a bachelor’s degree through the university’s RN-BSN completion program.

By the numbers: Boonshoft School of Medicine and Premier Health

  • Boonshoft has about 460 medical students
  • Boonshoft has about 460 resident physicians and fellows
  • Premier Health employs more than 13,000