Osteopathic medicine and the community are beneficiaries of foundations with roots in Doctors Hospitals.

Osteopathic medicine and the community are beneficiaries of foundations with roots in Doctors Hospitals.

He never would have predicted it, but a stint as US Air Force medic in the late 1960s launched Rick ?Vincent on a career path that has turned into a boon for osteopathic medicine across Ohio and beyond.

The president and CEO of Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, Vincent ran Doctors Hospitals as the health system's last CEO and then leveraged its sale to OhioHealth in 1998 to ramp up the foundations' ability to support the hospitals' founding missions. Doctors Hospital North (now operated as a rehabilitation and long-term acute care hospital), Doctors Hospital West and Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville (now an urgent care center), plus subsidiaries were sold for $142.5 million.

At the time, supporting foundation boards of the Columbus and Nelsonville hospitals determined they didn't need to continue running hospitals to further missions of serving their communities and spreading access to osteopathic medicine, Vincent says.

That insight has played out remarkably well. The two foundations-Columbus-based Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville-began with a combined total of $224.5 million after the sale and have grown to $258.6 million in assets while also making grants of $231 million.

Vincent's 45 years of supporting osteopathic medicine started when his four-year hitch in the Air Force ended and he began looking for work. He was from Bloomingburg, near Washington Court House, but had attended Ohio State University and wanted to live in Columbus. He interviewed with a retired Air Force officer who ran the nursing department at Doctors Hospital on Dennison Avenue and immediately knew he wanted to work for her.

"She called me a unit manager. The people I worked with called me a glorified orderly," Vincent says. He began by troubleshooting management issues in the nursing department. Five years later he returned to the University of Dayton for his master's degree and moved into hospital administration.

Vincent has seen considerable integration between osteopathic medicine practiced by DOs and allopathic medicine practiced by MDs, but he says some differences remain in their approaches. Osteopathic physicians "are taught to look at the whole patient" and receive training in the use of manual manipulation with a perspective that the body has the ability to heal itself if all systems and structures are aligned, Vincent says.

The foundations' largest grant, $105 million in 2011, prompted the renaming of Ohio University's medical school to the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. The gift allowed the school to expand to a new campus in 2014 near OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital.

"Their gift of $105 million has been transformational not only for the college, but also for the university. We would not have been able to open our campus in Dublin without the help of the OHF," says Kenneth Johnson, dean of the OU college. Working also with OhioHealth and the city of Dublin, the university is exploring plans that could expand OU's Dublin presence beyond the medical school, Johnson says.

"We won't see the full impact of the gift that the heritage foundation(s) gave to us for years to come; it's that big of a magnitude of a change for the medical school," Johnson adds.

The grant is intended to increase the ranks of primary care physicians in Ohio, with the majority of students in Athens, Dublin and a third site in a Cleveland suburb-in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic-going into primary care practices after finishing their education and clinical training.

Osteopathic Heritage Foundations also support community needs, such as through a campaign with the Columbus Foundation to provide $3 million over three years in dollar-for-dollar matches for capital needs of nonprofit organizations, leveraging their gift for a $6 million impact.

CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence had applied to one of those capital grants but "we pulled them out of that and gave them money directly. We gave them $2 million as opposed to a piece of a million (dollars) a year," Vincent says. That made the foundations the lead contributor to a $15 million capital campaign CHOICES announced in June to build a new shelter and increase services for victims of domestic abuse. CHOICES plans to replace an overcrowded shelter already serving 33 percent more victims this year than in 2015.

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations are the largest and most comprehensive of similar osteopathic-focused foundations across the country, Vincent says. He credits a strong, dedicated staff-most of whom followed him from the hospital-with enabling the foundations to thrive while also growing the gifts they make. Some 882 grants and event sponsorships have been made since 2000.

"It's been quite a privilege to be able to do this," he notes.