The health and science research community mourns the loss of Jay Gershen, DDS, PhD who died on November 12, 2020. Jay was a valued and active member of Research!America’s Board of Directors since 1996, as well as a personal friend and ally in our shared aspiration of elevating medical progress and promoting the importance of scientific discovery. Jay provided superb leadership for Research!America’s membership committee, working tirelessly to expand our organization’s membership base. He also served on the Executive Committee and most recently as co-chair of the Resource Development Committee.
As President of Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) for 10 years, Jay led the university through remarkable growth. Jay was a champion and proponent for engaging the community and policymakers at all levels in research, as exemplified by his hosting of the Ohio Research Forum at NEOMED. His leadership at NEOMED was only one chapter of his more than 40-year career in higher education, which was preceded by faculty and executive roles at UCLA and the University of Colorado at Denver.
Jay’s passion for research as a path to enduring societal benefit has left a profoundly important imprint. His gift for compelling advocacy, his thoughtful input into key policies, and the trust he earned and commanded as a spokesperson for the power of science were evident not only in his professional role but in many other activities. For example, Jay served as a member of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council of the National Institutes of Health and on the Board of Directors of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships program.
Jay celebrated diversity and collaboration and insisted on putting others first — with an emphasis on the underserved. He loved working with students and next-generation leaders. We will miss his optimism, his energy, his kindness, and his smile.
If it’s true that energy transfers, Jay’s extraordinary spark is still here, powering the good. He is an unforgettable and enduring force, and we are so fortunate he chose to engage in our work.
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