Xavier names founding dean for future College of Osteopathic Medicine

Xavier University selected a longtime physician and higher education administrator to serve as the founding dean of the school’s proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Steven Halm is coming to Cincinnati after serving four years as dean of the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, one of the strongest osteopathic medicine schools in the nation.

In its 2023-24 rankings, U.S. News and World Report listed Des Moines University as having the most graduates practicing in primary care fields among all medical schools nationally.

Xavier University President Colleen Hanycz described Halm as a proven leader and dedicated educator. She referred to him as a “student-centered professional who has demonstrated exceptional innovation throughout his career.”

Dr. Steven Halm
Dr. Steven Halm

Halm’s career in medicine includes leadership roles at the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and Cone Health in North Carolina. He’s been practicing as a physician for more than 20 years.

Calm earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Osteopathic Association specialty boards. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American College of Osteopathic Internists. 

“Dr. Halm’s deep understanding of the complexities of medical education, the opportunities that this college will present for our region, and in how these opportunities align with our Jesuit Catholic mission and identity make him an excellent choice to head our College of Osteopathic Medicine,” Hanycz said.

“We are thrilled that he has accepted this opportunity to affirm Xavier University as a national leader in mission-driven, health sciences education.”

Colleen Hanycz, President, Xavier University
Colleen Hanycz

Halm will officially assume his role as founding dean on Feb. 1. He’ll be charged with laying the foundation for the launch of the first Jesuit osteopathic medicine school over the next few years.

Xavier’s board of trustees unanimously approved plans to establish the College of Osteopathic Medicine in May. The school plans to construct an on-campus complex to house it. The college’s inaugural student class will begin in 2027. If all goes as planned, the group will graduate in 2031, coinciding with Xavier’s bicentennial celebrations.

In a statement, Halm promised to be a “pragmatic, thoughtful, engaging, and collaborative leader.” His goal, he said, is to prepare future doctors for lives of “honesty, character and service to others.”

“The opportunity to lead and educate future generations of physicians has brought me incredible meaning and fulfillment throughout my career. Today, I am inspired and excited to take on that mission here at Xavier,” he said.

Osteopathic doctors, or DOs, apply a holistic, patient-centered approach to medicine that focuses, primarily, on preventive health care. They’re trained to look beyond your symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors impact a person’s physical well-being. 

DOs practice medicine according to the latest science and technology, but also consider options to complement pharmaceuticals and surgery. They practice in all medical specialties, including primary care, pediatrics, OBGYN, emergency medicine, psychiatry and surgery. 

Approximately 11% of all physicians in the United States are DOs, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

A rendering for a medical and sciences complex to house the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The DOs Xavier trains may have an immediate impact in Ohio, which must add nearly 700 primary-care physicians to its workforce by 2030 to meet demand, according to forecasts from the Robert Graham Center, a Washington-based research organization focused on family medicine and primary care.

The medical college aims to complement Xavier’s existing programs in health sciences, health services administration and nursing, the university’s most popular major by enrollment. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, as well as certificates, Xavier’s College of Nursing develops holistic health care delivery with an educational foundation grounded in Jesuit values.

Rachel Chrastil, Xavier’s provost and chief academic officer, said she views Halm’s background and “motivations” for becoming a physician and an educator as aligning perfectly with the school’s “value of caring for the whole person.”

“(Halm) is the right person to lead this effort as we prepare to provide students with the wrap-around services and world-class care that will help them become great physicians,” Chrastil said.

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