Ohio Dominican University (ODU) and Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) celebrated the official grand opening of COPC’s new Care Forward Center on April 29 outside of the center’s location in ODU’s Peace Hall at 2600 Airport Drive, Columbus, 43219. The center will open to patients on May 3.

Dozens of representatives from COPC and ODU attended the event, including both organizations’ leadership teams as well as ODU trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students in its Physician Assistant Studies master’s program. Members of Ohio Dominican’s founding congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace, also participated in the event.

The Care Forward Center features eight exam rooms, two conference rooms as well as offices for physicians. In addition to treating patients, the center will provide ODU students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a health care setting. As many as two students in ODU’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program will have access to clinical rotations in the center, and two additional students who are studying other aspects of the health care industry will have an opportunity to amass observation and internship hours.

“Ever since Ohio Dominican’s founding more than a century ago by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, ODU has been focused on serving the needs of our students as well as those of our community,” ODU President Robert Gervasi, Ph.D. said. “This innovative partnership with Central Ohio Primary Care allows us to further enhance the education and opportunities available to our students, helping to prepare them for professional success in health care. Just as important, the establishment of the Care Forward Center will help to improve access to quality care for those who live and work in northeast Columbus. I am proud that ODU is home to this important community resource and I am grateful to the leadership of COPC for their willingness to engage with Ohio Dominican so that, together, we continue to serve the educational and health-related needs of our community.”

“COPC and ODU are both deeply committed to the health of ODU students, faculty, staff and members of the neighboring community. We are excited to have a new partner who shares our vision to deliver exceptional care to the members of our community but also to educate the next generation of health care providers to deliver the highest levels of care,” said Dr. Bill Wulf, Chief Executive Officer of COPC. “We look forward to working in partnership with the ODU team and the community to support the best possible patient outcomes.”

The Care Forward Center is the fourth element of a comprehensive and multifaceted agreement to enhance the academic opportunities available to students and provide care to members of the campus and neighboring communities.

Elements of the partnership were established in fall 2020 when COPC opened a drive-up COVID-19 testing site outside of Peace Hall. Throughout the academic year, the testing site was available to students, faculty and staff, as well as patients referred by COPC physicians. The site also recently hosted vaccination clinics for ODU students.

COPC also has provided a physician assistant to serve alongside staff in ODU’s Wellness Center on a part-time basis, which is available to treat the mental and physical health needs of the campus community. Concurrently, ODU academic leaders worked closely with COPC to develop the curriculum for, and create a course focused on population health, which launched in fall 2020 under the instruction of an ODU faculty member. Additional academic offerings are currently under consideration.