Xavier dean of students to head partnership with TriHealth

Xavier University’s dean of students is set to take a new executive role supervising the university’s long-standing partnership with TriHealth.

On Wednesday, the organizations announced Jean Griffin as the head of the TriHealth/Xavier University Strategic Alliance. She’ll oversee programming ranging from student, faculty and employee health to the launch of XU’s medical school. She’ll also manage what the parties referred to as Xavier’s “workforce pipeline” for medical professions.

Jean Griffin, new head of the Xavier/TriHealth Strategic Alliance

Griffin starts her new position in mid-March. When she does, she’ll be a full-time TriHealth employee. However, she’ll continue to work closely with her former team at Xavier.

Rachel Chrastil, the university’s provost and chief academic officer, described the position as crucial to establishing a “model of collegiate health” to advance student learning and health care innovation.

“With over 20 years of higher education experiences focused on student success, Jean was exactly the right person for this role,” Chrastil said.

A role two decades in the making

Griffin’s hiring is the latest investment in a two-decade-old partnership between TriHealth and Xavier. It began with TriHealth providing services to the Musketeers athletic programs but soon evolved into more comprehensive medical support for all students, faculty and staff.

Over the past 20 years, additional collaborations have included the creation of Xavier’s Health United Building, which provides fitness offerings, medical services and academic classes in nursing, physical therapy and health care management.

TriHealth President Mark Clement

The alliance has also worked on strengthening existing and creating new academic programs for XU students in health-related majors. TriHealth staff also tap into the university’s academic resources for research or to develop ideas on health care delivery.

“Jean’s new role along with her previous experience at Xavier will enable her to continue serving the health care needs of the university community while also empowering the next generation of Cincinnati’s health care workers,” said Mark Clement, TriHealth’s president and CEO. 

A first-of-its-kind position

As Xavier’s dean of students, Griffin was in charge of initiatives such as health and counseling, psychological services, and care management. She also handled student conduct matters.

At TriHealth, Griffin said, she plans to use that experience to develop things like new health equity and inclusion initiatives and novel models for behavioral health care.

A focal point will be recruiting students who want to go into medical professions. She’ll also work with TriHealth to develop strategies to retain health workers.

TriHealth noted that Ohio alone will need to add roughly 700 primary care doctors within the next six years to catch up with patient demand.

A rendering of the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine on Xavier University’s campus.

One way the Xavier-TriHealth team plans to achieve that goal is through the creation of the nation’s first Jesuit-Catholic college of osteopathic medicine. Students will receive real-world, patient-first experiences provided by TriHealth’s team members and physicians.

In late October, Xavier hired Dr. Steven Halm to serve as the college’s dean. Griffin will work with him to recruit students for the inaugural class in 2027.

Xavier’s most popular undergraduate major by far is nursing, according to U.S News and World Report. The school also offers bachelor degrees in biology, biomedical sciences, psychology, exercise science, health services administration and occupational therapy. It offers pre-professional programs for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in dentistry, medicine, pharmacology and veterinary science.

“[T]ogether our organizations have tremendous opportunities to enhance the lives of our employees, students and community members,” Griffin said. “I am grateful that I will do this new work alongside trusted Xavier colleagues as I get to know and collaborate with members of the TriHealth team.”

Xavier University

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