Exploring a College of Osteopathic Medicine
The University of Northern Colorado is creating a College of Osteopathic Medicine – a project that will expand our program offerings in the health sciences and position the university to better meet the workforce needs of the state and region. A College of Osteopathic Medicine at UNC will greatly enhance the strength, health and prosperity of our people and our communities.
Meet Founding Dean: Beth Longenecker, DO, MS, FACOEP, FACEP
Dr. Longenecker received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. She completed a one-year rotating internship at Doctor's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in 1992 and subsequently a residency in emergency medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She continues to be certified in this specialty by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Longenecker is 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. She received a master’s degree in medical education and leadership from the University of New England in 2016. She is a 2017 AACOM Health Policy Fellow.
Dr. Longenecker brings 20 years of experience in medical education to her leadership role. She began in her position as founding dean of the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado (COM-UNC) in June 2022.
Prior to arriving at UNC, Dr.Longenecker served as the Athens Campus Dean at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Her previous experience focused on graduate medical education (GME), serving as emergency medicine residency program director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, New York.
Dr. Longenecker is a member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). She served as President of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS), holds an appointment on the Bureau of Education of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and serves as a Site Inspector for the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
Dr. Longenecker served as a trustee on the board of the Foundation for Osteopathic Emergency Medicine (2015-21) and a member of the board of directors of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians from 2005-14 and as treasurer in 2011-12. She was a delegate for the state of Illinois at the 2016 and 2017 AOA House of Delegates and served as a delegate for the state of Colorado at the AOA business meeting in July 2022.
An osteopathic medical college at UNC will be the third medical school in Colorado and will help the state alleviate its shortage of physicians, particularly in rural and underserved communities. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), only 34.6% of the state’s need for physicians is met. The HRSA also identifies that 59 of the 63 counties in the state contain regions designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSA) in primary care. Launching an osteopathic medical college will help address shortages that affect access to and the overall quality of healthcare service that is available in the state and region.
The University of Northern Colorado will meet this challenge and is uniquely positioned to leverage existing programs to amplify positive outcomes for healthcare access and quality across the state. Of tremendous benefit to the success of the project, UNC has long had strong programs in the sciences and health sciences, including nursing, public health, behavioral sciences, biology, chemistry, audiology, speech-language pathology, and other fields. UNC is already exploring ways to leverage synergies among programs to enhance the osteopathic medicine curriculum and students’ academic experience in these other fields. UNC will also leverage revenues to reinvest in growing existing programs to amplify its capacity to support the health and strength of communities across Colorado.
By proceeding on a well-organized timeline from this point through to completion,
it is anticipated that the first class of students will begin instruction as early
as fall 2025 and no later than fall 2026. With 40 accredited colleges of osteopathic
medicine in the United States – only seven of which are at public colleges and universities
– UNC-COM would be joining a select group of D.O. colleges that will attract students
from not just Colorado and the region, but across the country.
Andy Feinstein – President, University of Northern Colorado
“I am excited about the possibility of UNC stepping up to meet the need of producing more physicians in service to our community and region. The creation of an osteopathic medical college at UNC would establish a pipeline of additional physicians to provide high-level care to others, including to individuals in underserved areas. A new medical college would be a win for Greeley, Weld County, the State of Colorado, and UNC.”
John Gates – Mayor, City of Greeley
"I am very excited about the possibility of UNC creating a College of Osteopathic Medicine and fully support the university’s efforts. UNC’s capacity to support the health and economic prosperity of the community, region, and state is only enhanced through the creation of an osteopathic medical school. Greeley, along with other communities in Weld County and Northern Colorado, would benefit from a robust pipeline of well-trained healthcare professionals who are prepared to serve the needs of a rapidly growing region."
Brian Davidson, MD – 1999 UNC graduate,
Physician Executive of Banner Health’s Western Division
"With UNC’s strong reputation in education and health sciences, it is only natural that the university applies these areas in the bold development of Colorado’s next public medical school. It is a true honor to be part of the team that will take UNC to the next level of education and service for the Rocky Mountain region by training the physicians of the future."
To provide a transformative education in a culture that cultivates proficiency, inclusion, collaboration, mentorship and professionalism. We inspire our students to become caring physicians who embrace their identity, deliver patient-centered care, promote health equity and positively impact the patients and communities they serve.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine at UNC is committed to achieving its vision of:
- Being a national leader in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in medical education.
- Positively impacting the physician workforce in Colorado and the High Plains region.
- Graduating students who are highly regarded by fellow physicians, health care teams and patients.
- Being an innovator in interprofessional medical education.
- Preparing graduates for opportunities to practice in rural and underserved communities.
- Ensuring graduates understand the critical role the primary care physician plays in patient wellbeing.
- We recognize that people are comprised of mind, body and spirit and seek ways to foster wellness across this spectrum, not just for our patients but for our students, faculty and staff.
- We integrate the tenets of osteopathic medicine within the full spectrum of the curriculum.
- We value and respect all perspectives and experiences as we acknowledge that these are shaped by the identities that we hold as individuals.
- We foster a culture of inclusion.
- We actively seek diversity and promote equity and social justice.
- We actively partner with our colleagues across the university to create opportunities for cross-disciplinary teaching, learning and innovation.
- We work with our healthcare partners in ways that provide value to both our students and to those engaged in clinical teaching.
- We recognize the impact of the community on individual wellbeing and educate our students on the principles of community-focused care.
- Our students, faculty and staff advocate for social change that will improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.
- We prepare our students for a career that requires them to continually learn and apply
evolving concepts and new discoveries.
Our faculty and staff participate in learning experiences that allow them to further develop their skills and explore their career trajectory.
- We support graduate medical education (GME) programs within our community and assist in the development of new GME programs.
- Our students, faculty,and staff serve others through participation on university and community committees, mentorship and engagement with service projects.
- Our students, faculty and staff serve their profession through active membership and leadership roles in professional societies.
October 10, 2023
April 17, 2023
Launched a grassroots fundraising campaign Doctors for DOctors
March 3, 2023
October 28, 2022
Press Release - Is there a Doctor in the House?
April 12, 2022
March 17, 2022
November 15, 2021
November 14, 2021
November 8, 2021
Message to UNC community – An Update on UNC's Exploration into Developing an Osteopathic Medical School
July 19, 2021
Message to UNC community – UNC to Conduct Feasibility Study Looking Into Osteopathic Medical School
October 10, 2023
Greeley Tribune - The Weld Trust gives $25 million to UNC for college of osteopathic medicine. The gift is the largest in UNC history, according to a joint news release from the university and The Weld Trust.
November 26, 2022
June 26, 2022
March 17, 2022
March 17, 2022
Colorado Politics – Polis: Full steam ahead on new University of Northern Colorado medical school
January 11, 2022
Colorado Politics – University of Northern Colorado Seeks Legislative Approval for Medical School
December 4, 2021
November 19, 2021
Loveland Reporter-Herald – UNC Decides to Move Ahead with Osteopathic Medical School at Greeley Campus