NEOUCOM tries to rebrand itself with update image.

Bethany English

Northeast Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, better known as NEOUCOM, is seeking a new name.

Northeast Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, better known as NEOUCOM, is seeking a new name.

The medical school in Rootstown is planning to change its name to Northeast Ohio Medical University.

“One of the reasons is because we’ve changed so much in scope,” said Cristine Boyd, director of public relations and marketing.

Throughout the past five years, NEOUCOM has branched off to include a graduate school and pharmacy program. Boyd said the old name doesn’t reflect everything the institution now has to offer.

In addition to Kent State, NEOUCOM works with the University of Akron, Cleveland State University and Youngstown State University to provide training for students pursuing medical degrees.

Though Boyd said she is confident the name change will bring positive results for NEOUCOM, some are not convinced.

Vishvas Hegde, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, said he understands the desire for a change but sees it as a waste of money. Instead, that money could be used for scholarships because most students graduate with debt.

If a name change is inevitable, Hegde said he would rather see the Northeast Ohio Medical University as an umbrella organization with NEOUCOM, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Graduate Studies as separate entities within it.

A medical school in Toledo underwent a similar process when it changed its name from Medical College of Ohio to the Medical University of Ohio. According to a Toledo Blade article by Luke Shockman, this name change ended up costing more than $300,000 in new signs, letterheads and displays.

In order to understand the opinions of faculty, staff, alumni and current students, NEOUCOM has already invested $40,000 in research with the marketing agency Fleishman-Hillard. Various surveys, focus groups and requests for name suggestions were sent out to gauge the majority’s opinion.

Hegde, also an alumus of the NEOUCOM program, said he is hesitant to see the name change because the school has been around for more than 30 years and has finally established itself as a recognized brand outside of Northeast Ohio.

“If your goal is to become a nationally know institution, the name change doesn’t make sense right now,” Hegde said.

A shorter name, Boyd said, would be easier for people to remember, and it offers an opportunity to rebrand NEOUCOM as it is now, including all its additions.

Though Boyd said the name change has been a discussion topic for years, there are still more steps before it can go forward.

The name change must go through the Ohio General Assembly. Once it clears the assembly, Governor Strickland must sign it into law, making the name change official.

Contact Bethany English at [email protected].