Talks with Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine making ‘significant progress’

Daniel Moore

Kent State will soon partner with the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine to emphasize research and feed the needs of the job market. 

In a joint statement Tuesday, the university and podiatry college acknowledged they are making “significant progress in talks designed to merge OCPM into Kent State.” 

President Lester Lefton said in a statement the merger would have strategic impacts on research and teaching within Kent State’s health and science departments, while taking the podiatry school to the next level of research capabilities.

“Kent’s a great university. We’re very pleased to be working with them, and we’ll see what happens.” – Dr. David Nicolanti

“As there continues to be strong demand for podiatric medicine, this move fits with our university’s goals of preparing professionals in high-demand fields,” Lefton said. “(It provides) more opportunities for our undergraduates to move seamlessly into programs that align with needs of the job market.”

Podiatry is the study, diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions.

OCPM is the only accredited podiatry school in Ohio, and one of eight in the country. The private, four-year school has granted doctorates to more than 5,000 podiatrists since its founding in 1916.  The school has an average enrollment of 430 graduate students.

OCPM Executive Vice President David Nicolanti said talks about a possible partnership began about six months ago. 

“We’re always pursuing beneficial relationships with other colleges and universities,” Dr. Nicolanti said. “We have not historically had a significant relationship with Kent, and we are interested in growing that.”

Nicolanti said the college has had similar talks with other institutions in the education and health care industry.

“The discussions we’re having with Kent are not exclusive,” he said. “For years we’ve been working with Case Western Reserve. Same thing with the Cleveland Clinic. We’ve got some great programs there that we’re interested in.”


new TWTR.Widget({

version: 2,

type: ‘search’,

search: ‘#KWpodiatry’,

interval: 6000,

subject: ”,

width: 240,

height: 300,

theme: {

shell: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#66a9c5’


tweets: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#444444’,

links: ‘#1985b5’



features: {

scrollbar: true,

loop: true,

live: true,

hashtags: true,

timestamp: true,

avatars: true,

toptweets: true,

behavior: ‘default’



He said Kent State’s partnership would be another step in the process of strategically expanding his college. 

“I know your faculty likes our anatomy lab and would love some opportunities to do that,” Nicolanti said. “I think we’re using one of your graduate students in a TA program for our students.”

Sonia Alemagno, dean of the College of Public Health, said positive discoveries will emerge from the integration of her students with those in podiatry. 

“It’s not that uncommon for podiatric students to take courses in health care system,” Alemagno said. “Certainly we are happy to potentially have our students interact with the podiatry students in their college, and there’s certainly research potential. There are many reasons why we’d be happy.”

For example, she said, podiatrists are sometimes the first to diagnose diabetes because early symptoms include problems with feet and wound care. With the partnership, her college would be able to help podiatrists earlier detect the disease that affects about 18 million Americans.  

“I’m very positive about the collaboration,” Alemagno said. “We look forward to it.”

Tuesday’s statement said both sides are motivated to quickly bring a full proposal to its boards for final approval, but they have no specific deadline. 

Nicolanti said regardless of the timeline, he expects the merger with a research-driven university like Kent State to be fruitful. 

“Kent (State) would certainly be a good partner,” Nicolanti said. “Kent’s a great university. We’re very pleased to be working with them, and we’ll see what happens.” 

Kent State Provost Robert Frank declined to comment. 

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].