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NEOUCOM cuts 8 workers, plans to add more for strategy’s sake

In what it’s calling a strategic — and not financial — move, the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) has laid off eight workers. NEOUCOM has also eliminated five vacant positions, but is recruiting to fill six others.

In what it’s calling a strategic move — and not a financial one — the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) has laid off eight workers.

NEOUCOM also has eliminated five vacant positions but is recruiting to fill six others, spokeswoman Cristine Boyd said. The laid-off workers’ jobs were concentrated in student and academic affairs, she said.

Boyd characterized the moves as intended to support a new strategic plan by NEOUCOM, a reference to several recent changes the university has made. NEOUCOM split the jobs of president and dean of medicine, and hired its first-ever dean of graduate studies.

The latest job cuts and planned hires are meant to support this new structure. “What we did we probably would’ve done regardless of our financial situation,” Boyd said.

Still, NEOUCOM’s financial situation could become a problem for the university.

As the state faces a budget crunch next year, NEOUCOM’s $14.5 million state subsidy could be cut by as much as half. That would take a substantial bite out of the university’s $42 million annual budget.

“We’re just waiting to see what will happen, and what constraints we’ll have to work within,” Boyd said. “We do anticipate losses.”

To that end, NEOUCOM is placing a greater emphasis on revenue-generating endeavors, such as fund-raising and attracting research grants. The university typically raises tuition about 3 percent annually and is hoping to maintain that modest annual increase in the future, Boyd said.

News of the layoffs began spreading primarily from the Doctor Anonymous blog, which is maintained by Youngstown-area family physician Dr. Mike Sevilla, a NEOUCOM graduate.