Jay A. Gershen, DDS, PhD

In 2019, Dr. Gershen retired from his appointment as sixth president of the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), formerly Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM).  NEOMED is a community-based medical university, partnering with 24 hospitals, dozens of ambulatory care settings, and several universities in the region.  NEOMED provides interprofessional education and research in selected areas of excellence.    

Dr. Gershen has initiated ‘Education for Service’ in Northeast Ohio, an innovative health workforce development program that reduces student indebtedness, provides health care to underserved rural and urban communities, diversifies the health care workforce and contributes to economic growth.  In partnership with Cleveland State University, Dr. Gershen has also expanded NEOMED’s regional mission to the Cleveland area, working with local hospitals, community health centers and other providers to create an urban primary care training program.  In addition, he has provided leadership to expand NEOMED’s research activities through investments in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, the recruitment of renowned scientists, and growth of commercialization activities.  Furthermore, he has implemented a campus expansion project that includes a research tower, a residential “village,” and NEOMED’s Education and Wellness (NEW) Center. The $166 million campus expansion has transformed NEOMED into a community-based university. New programs include the Bio-Med Science Academy, the first rural STEM+M school in Ohio and the first STEM+M high school on a medical university campus in the nation.  

Dr. Gershen serves as the vice chair of the board of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education and vice chair of the Inter-University Council’s President’s Council. He also serves on the boards of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion, Fund for Our Economic Future, The Ginn Academy, Greater Akron Chamber, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Portage County Development Board, Stark Development Board, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Team NEO and the Ohio Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.  Nationally, he served on the Board of the Association of Academic Health Centers and currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions, and is a member of the Board and Executive Committee of Research!America.  As a member of Research!America’s Executive Committee, Dr. Gershen has led the national effort to encourage the business community in Congressional districts to support medical research funding.  Dr. Gershen also serves as a member of The 50 Club of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Partnership Government Affairs Council.  In addition, he served on the Commercialization Task Force sponsored by the Ohio Board of Regents and was a 2016 graduate of Leadership Cleveland.  Dr. Gershen recently served on the Boards of Akron Tomorrow and NorTech, and the Senior Advisory Council for Team NEO. He has also recently served on the American Association of Public Health Dentistry/Kellogg/Macy Foundation Dental Health Aid Therapists Grant Panel. 

Past Activities

Prior to coming to NEOMED, Dr. Gershen played an active role in the consolidation of the University of Colorado at Denver and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, bringing together an undergraduate/graduate general campus with an academic health center.  In 2006, he was appointed Vice Chancellor for External Affairs for the new university.  He served on numerous business advisory boards including the Economic Development Corporation of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, the Aurora Economic Development Council (Board Chair), and the Colorado Bioscience Association (Founding Board Member).  Dr. Gershen played a leadership role in obtaining $20 million to fund an interchange to provide enhanced access to the Anschutz Medical Campus.  He has also served as chair of the Colorado Colfax Marathon and on the advisory committee to the President of the Community College of Aurora.

From 1997 until 2006, Dr. Gershen served as Executive Vice Chancellor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  He played a leadership role to create the University of Colorado’s 21st Century health sciences center at the former Fitzsimons Medical Army Garrison.  The new campus focuses on patient-centered health care, collaborative research models, and educates health professionals as interdisciplinary teams.  This $4.3 billion project is providing a public/private model for bioscience discovery and emphasizes the commercialization of  basic/translational research.  Dr. Gershen worked to formulate the current vision and strategic directions for the bioscience research park at Fitzsimons.  Fitzsimons is the largest medical construction project in the nation and generates $6 billion per year in economic activity.  In addition to assisting the Chancellor in administering the Health Sciences Center, Dr. Gershen had responsibility for resource development, external and community affairs, and master planning for the new campus.  He played a significant role in raising $202 million from the State of Colorado to fund the educational facilities as well as $65 million in military base closure money from the Department of Defense to fund campus infrastructure.  As Chair of the Governor’s Biotechnology Council, he played the pivotal role in bringing together academic institutions, the business community, and government across Colorado to develop a State-wide bioscience plan.  

From 2000 to 2002, Dr. Gershen concurrently served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research for the University of Colorado.  He served as the principal academic affairs and research officer for the CU system and was responsible for coordinating the development and review of undergraduate and graduate/professional programs.  His responsibilities also included technology, diversity, external affairs, and partnerships with the business sector.  Dr. Gershen played a leadership role in establishing the Tobacco Settlement Research Program for Colorado as well as the University of Colorado Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities which was funded from a $250 million gift to the university.  In addition, Dr. Gershen was responsible for initiating the reorganization of the technology transfer program at the University of Colorado.  During the time of these administrative appointments between 1997 and 2010, Dr. Gershen was a Professor in the School of Dentistry.  

Prior to his work at the University of Colorado, Dr. Gershen was a member of the faculty in the School of Dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1976-1997.  He directed the UCLA Mobile Dental Clinic serving children of migrant workers in rural California until 1982 when he was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship, sponsorship by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.  In this capacity he worked on health policy issues and legislation in the Full Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Gershen served as Associate Dean for Policy and Program Development (1983-1984) for the School of Dentistry and chaired the Section of Public Health Dentistry from 1988-1995.  As Acting Dean of the dental school (1995-1996), he was the first dental dean in the nation to gain Graduate Medical Education (GME) support funds for all of the postdoctoral programs in the school.

Before assuming full-time administrative positions, Dr. Gershen conducted research on issues relevant to dental education, health services and behavioral sciences, and he developed innovative teaching methods for behavioral science curricula.  He was Co-Principal Investigator on a grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop instructional materials for dental providers on cultural diversity and health care delivery.  Dr. Gershen conducted research regarding dental delivery systems and third party financing and their effect on the quality of dental care.  He was a consultant and evaluator of dental care programs for a variety of public and private sector entities including the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the Federal Trade Commission, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the California Department of Corporations, Blue Cross of California, General Motors/United Auto Workers, and several union trust funds.  He is credited with developing the first empirically derived outcome measure of oral health status for children. Dr. Gershen has delivered presentations to health-related and higher education organizations, and he has authored numerous research articles and policy papers.

Dr. Gershen served as President of the American Association of Dental Schools and Chair of the National Affairs Committee of the American Association for Dental Research. He was influential in the authorization and appropriation of numerous programs supporting dental education and research in the U.S. Congress.  Dr. Gershen was responsible for initiating the major study of dental education conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy  of Sciences, and he initiated the effort in the early 1990s to include dental education in the movement to reform the U.S. health care system.  He has served on the Dental Advisory Panel of the Pew Health Professions Commission and on the Task Force on Building Capacity in Primary Care Research of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.  Dr. Gershen served on the board of Oral Health America (formerly American Fund for Dental Health).  He also chaired the Health Sciences Committee of the University of California’s President’s Office for three years in the mid 1990’s.

Dr. Gershen has made significant contributions to national policy making and advocacy regarding research, education, and health issues.  He served as a member of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council of the National Institutes of Health from 1998-2002.  Also, Dr. Gershen served on the Board of Directors of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships program.  Dr. Gershen was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Institutional and Policy Strategies for Increasing the Diversity of the Health care Workforce.  He was also a member of the American Dental Education Association’s Advisory Committee for the Center for Educational Policy and Research as well as the National Oral Health Advocacy Committee.  


Jay Alan Gershen holds a B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1968) and a D.D.S. from the University of Maryland (1972).  After a one-year General Dentistry Internship at Eastman Dental Center, Rochester, New York, he completed both a clinical specialty in Pediatric Dentistry and a Ph.D. in Education at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1976.  Concurrently, he served as a Postdoctoral Scholar in Child Psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.