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