The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association Board of Directors has authorized a donation of $500,000 to IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine project.

In December 2022, IUP’s Council of Trustees endorsed the exploration of a possible development of a college of osteopathic medicine at IUP. The university chose to explore a proposed college of osteopathic medicine based on several factors, including the critical need for rural health care: there are not enough trained physicians to provide care to Pennsylvania’s citizens: the ratio of patients to available primary care physicians is 1,367 to 1, according to the United Health Foundation.

There are only three colleges of osteopathic medicine in Pennsylvania, all at private universities; IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine would be the only college of osteopathic medicine at a public university. National studies show that osteopathic medicine graduates are more likely to pursue primary care in rural and underserved areas—57 percent of all doctors of osteopathic medicine practice as general practitioners, and more than 20 percent of DO graduates practice in rural areas.

Demand is high for osteopathic medicine training: in 2021, 22,708 applicants competed for 8,280 seats at schools of osteopathic medicine.

IUP 2023–24 Alumni Association Board of Directors and IUP Graduation Year
Front row, from left: Scott Rhoades 2006 (master’s degree); Aaron Felter 2001; Marc Hutzell 1997; George Kelly 1982; Chad Jurica 2007, 2009 (master’s degree); Kevin Bailey 1986, 1990 (master’s degree), Interim Vice President for University Advancement Jenn Dunsmore 1998 (ex-officio)
Back row, from left: Kathie Basehore 1971; Tina Steffy 2003; Sara Lawer 2006, 2008 (master’s degree); Heather Reed 2013 (master’s degree), Leslie Purser 1980; Emily Smeltz 2001, 2002 (master’s degree); Lisa Schlosser 1986; Debra Evans Smith 1981; Mary Morgan 1991

“Establishing a college of osteopathic medicine at a public university is an incredible opportunity, one that is long overdue for Pennsylvania,” IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors President Leslie Purser said. “In addition to addressing the urgent need for health care in our state and nation, especially rural health care, it will reinforce IUP’s reputation for academic excellence and its role in educating leaders for the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”

The IUP Alumni Association is an independent, nonprofit corporation governed by an elected board of directors. Every IUP graduate is a member of the IUP Alumni Association. The Association’s mission is to create and enrich relationships to engage current and future alumni in the advancement of IUP. 

While the IUP Alumni Association does not solicit or fundraise on behalf of IUP, it is the owner of an endowment built from several affinity programs. Members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors make decisions about spending of endowment funds.

Over the past 30 years, the Association has donated $1.7 million to support several areas across campus, including the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, which supports incoming students who are children, stepchildren, or grandchildren of IUP alumni.

“The Alumni Association Board of Directors is fully supportive of this important initiative and excited about the impact it can make, and we are very proud to make this commitment to help to move this project forward,” she said.

“IUP has so many important foundational pieces in place that complement this proposed college: nationally recognized research and strong STEM disciplines; the opportunity of a pipeline of talented students from IUP and from universities throughout the State System; a well-established fundraising infrastructure and solid relationships with alumni and friends; and robust and growing partnerships and alliances with regional health care systems, including Indiana Regional Medical Center.

“This proposed college of osteopathic medicine not only fits the mission of IUP, but it meets our mission and goals for the Association,” Purser said. “Our alumni are already leading the way with some very significant gifts for the proposed college of osteopathic medicine, and we are pleased to join them with our financial support for the project,” she said.

In May 2023, Rich Caruso, a 1983 accounting graduate from Meadow Lands and 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, announced a pledge of $1 million for the project.

In July 2023, IUP graduates Nick Jacobs and Mary Ann Hoysan Jacobs donated $40,000 to advance the project. Nick Jacobs is a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient who has a 1969 bachelor’s degree in education and a 1972 master’s degree in music education; Mary Ann Jacobs has a 1968 bachelor’s degree in music education and a 1993 master’s degree in adult and community education.

“IUP is incredibly fortunate to have alumni who care deeply about their alma mater and who see IUP’s potential for the future, including opportunities like a college of osteopathic medicine,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said.

“Our alumni and friends continue to ‘pay it forward’ in all possible ways, and we are very grateful. On behalf of the university, and especially on behalf of our students present and future, I thank the Alumni Association and its Board of Directors for this generous gift, for the ongoing wise counsel they provide to me and to university leadership, and for their continued confidence in IUP to impact the future of health care in our commonwealth and our nation.”


Dr. Miko Rose

Following a national search, in November 2023 Miko Rose, a board-certified physician in psychiatry and neurology who is nationally known for wellness programming, was selected as the founding dean for IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine.

“We also fully support Dr. Rose’s selection as the founding dean,” Purser said. “Her commitment to wellness and to serving the underserved is the right fit for this project, and we look forward to working closely with her as this proposed college of osteopathic medicine moves forward,” she said.

Rose comes to IUP from Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she is associate professor and chief of the Division of Psychiatry in the Department of Clinical Medicine and assistant dean for clinical education.

She is also an associate professor and director of the Joy Initiative Wellness Program at Michigan State University. She founded and started the Joy Initiative at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine schools. She completed her medical training at Michigan State.

Rose’s appointment was announced during the second annual Pennsylvania Mountains Rural Health Conference, cosponsored by IUP and Indiana Regional Medical Center and hosted by IUP to mark National Rural Health Day.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for this project and the warm welcome I have received from the IUP and Indiana area communities,” Rose said. “This donation is a clear vote of confidence in this project and speaks volumes about the confidence that IUP alumni have in the university’s ability to move this project forward. I join President Driscoll in thanking the Alumni Association as well as individual alumni who have come forward with generous donations, advice, and support for my role as founding dean.”

“Serving the health care needs of disadvantaged communities has been my lifelong passion. I know there will be challenges, but being part of the team working to establish Pennsylvania’s first college of osteopathic medicine at a public university is both an incredible opportunity and a privilege,” she said.

The hiring of a founding dean for IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine is one of the first steps to establishing the college. Next, IUP will seek accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, a three- to five-year process that includes submission of self-studies and a feasibility study, along with site visits.