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Dr. Beth Longenecker named Founding Dean of UNC’s College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr. Beth Longenecker

April 12, 2022

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Beth Longenecker as the founding dean of the university’s proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNC-COM). Longenecker, who was hired after the university launched a national search in January, will start her position in June.  

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Longenecker join UNC as the founding dean of our new osteopathic medical college,” said UNC President Andy Feinstein. “This is a monumental day for the university and our community. The experience, wisdom and insight Beth brings from serving in leadership positions at various colleges of osteopathic medicine will be very beneficial for us as we look to get our medical college off the ground and running. I want to thank everyone who participated in the search process for this position – we took our community’s feedback to heart and could not be more excited with the end result, to name Beth as our founding dean.” 

Longenecker brings a wealth of experience in osteopathic medicine to UNC, both as a physician and administrator at higher education institutions. She is currently the dean of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (OU-HCOM) Athens Campus, serving in that role for the last three years. Prior to working at Ohio University, she was the associate dean of Clinical Education at Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (2015-19) and the associate dean of Clinical Sciences at William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (2013-15). Longenecker also served as a program director of the Emergency Medicine Residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Miami Heart Institute (2005-12) and program director of the Emergency Medicine Residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, New York (2002-05).  

“I am thrilled to be joining the University of Northern Colorado in developing a new college of osteopathic medicine,” Longenecker said. “It is evident that we have the support of regional partners such as Banner Health, fellow osteopathic physicians, members of the Greeley community and colleagues across the university. This sets the stage for us to create a program that will inform and empower the next generation of physicians, enabling them to join the team of healthcare professionals in serving the people of Colorado with empathy and compassion.” 

As founding dean of UNC-COM, Longenecker will lead the medical college through development, accreditation and on to the goal of becoming a world-class center of medical education. She will be a foundational leader in building the college’s programmatic offerings in the health sciences.  

During her time as dean at OU-HCOM, Longenecker served as the chief operating and academic officer for the campus. She made community outreach a priority, facilitating the expansion of the college’s community health services to meet local needs during the pandemic. She also led efforts to create a partnership between Buckeye Healthcare and OU-HCOM that resulted in a $750,000 grant to expand community nurse navigator programs within the college that focused on healthy pregnancy and infant vitality. A student-led clinic providing free primary care to qualifying adults who are uninsured or underinsured also opened under Longenecker’s leadership. She was just the second female dean at OU-HCOM since its creation in 1975.  

Longenecker received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991 and a master’s degree in medical education and leadership from the University of New England in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in musicology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1987. She became board certified in emergency medicine in 2000. Longenecker is also a member of the inaugural class of the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators (2005) and completed the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Healthcare Professions in 2008. 

As the university’s exploration into developing a college of osteopathic medicine furthers, Longenecker will be building out her team to support the university’s foundational efforts. By proceeding on a well-organized timeline from this point through to completion, UNC is hopeful to have its first class of students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine as early as fall 2025.

—written by Ryan Mueksch

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