Foundation History


Doctors Hospital - 1940



Doctors Hospital was founded at 1087 Dennison Avenue in Columbus, Ohio by James O. Watson, DO, Harold E. Clybourne, DO and Ralph S. Licklider, DO to serve the community by providing accessible, affordable, quality and holistic health care, as well as programs and facilities for the training of osteopathic physicians and other health professionals. From its beginning, Doctors Hospital has been a teaching hospital, with physician graduates recruited to populate the medical staff and remain in the community to enhance access to osteopathic medical care.



James O. Watson, DO

James O. Watson, D.O., a distinguished surgeon, medical educator, and advocate for osteopathic medicine and research, was central to the growth of osteopathic medicine in Ohio. A graduate of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1926, Watson served as chair of the Department of General Surgery until his retirement.

Harold E. Clybourne, DO

Harold E. Clybourne, D.O. an orthopedic surgeon, an educator and a 1923 graduate of Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine. In the early 1940s, he established the Doctors Hospital orthopedic residency training program, one of only four in the nation at the time.

Ralph S. Licklider, DO

Ralph Licklider, D.O. specialized in Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology and served as chair of the Department at Doctors Hospital from 1940 until 1973. Dr. Licklider worked tirelessly to raise the status of osteopathic medicine, and to ensure equity and financial support for osteopathic physicians.


Expanding Facilities & Training - 1958


With expanding facilities, a growing medical staff and post-graduate teaching programs, the education council became supported by the newly established Office of Medical Education. Dr. Robert Steen was appointed Doctors Hospital’s first Director of Medical Education and Dr. Ruth Steen was appointed Secretary to the medical staff. They served in these positions until their retirement in 1981. The teaching programs continued to grow and the quality of the education enhanced under subsequent Directors of Medical Education.


Doctors Hospital Foundation - 1961


The Doctors Hospital Foundation was established as a supporting and controlling organization of Doctors Hospital. Its Board elected the Doctors Hospital Board of Trustees and worked to perpetuate the growth of Doctors Hospital and support osteopathic medical and allied health education.


Osteopathic Education Enhanced in Ohio - 1970


The Hospital and osteopathic medicine continued to grow in size, service and reputation. In the early 1970s, supported by the teaching hospitals, ohio osteopathic association and osteopathic physicians in the State, the Ohio State Legislature established a tax-supported college of osteopathic medicine at Ohio University. This transformed the education and training programs in Ohio and at Doctors Hospital, which became an affiliate and the largest training site for the new college.


Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville - 1980


Doctors Hospital Columbus acquired corporate control of Mount Saint Mary’s Hospital in Nelsonville, Ohio and changed its name to Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville. The Hospital had served the community since 1950 and was an important asset in southeast Ohio.


A New Vision & Strategy - 1990s


The Foundation and Hospital boards of directors in Columbus and Nelsonville determined the communities-at-large and osteopathic medicine could be served through philanthropic organizations with the financial strength and commitment to improve health and quality of life locally, and to advance the principles and practices of osteopathic medicine locally, statewide and nationally. For this direction to be pursued, it was vital that the traditions and successful programs provided through the hospital system be retained.

The process to communicate this vision was initiated to solicit input on the strategy and identify the highest priorities for the vision should it be pursued. The vision and strategy were accepted and the process began to select an appropriate entity to continue the work of the Hospitals in serving the communities and committing to the perpetuation of the osteopathic medical education programs.

As the Doctors Hospital Foundation served as the supporting organization for Doctors in Columbus, a supporting organization for Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville was established and the foundations for the stewardship of the funding resources were solidified.



Hospital Expansion - 1996


The Hospital expanded a number of times and in the early 1960s the Doctors Hospital West facility was opened. In March of 1996, a major expansion and renovation project, Family Health Focus, was completed at both facilities, Doctors Hospital North and Doctors Hospital West. The physician teaching program at this point had grown to sponsoring 14 resident and fellowship programs, with over 160 total post-graduate physicians on staff.


Asset Sale Approved - 1998


The Boards of Directors approved the asset sale of the Hospitals to OhioHealth, a large, highly respected, nonprofit healthcare system that committed to retain the community services and osteopathic traditions upon which the hospitals had been established.


First Funding Awards Approved - 1999


The Foundation names were officially changed to reflect the recognition of the osteopathic heritage and to demonstrate independence from any hospital system. The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville recognized the exceptional opportunity to improve health and quality of life in their respective communities, as well as to enhance osteopathic medicine, its educational programs and medical research.

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations approved their first funding awards as independent foundations. These initial awards were designed to improve quality of life, including diabetes outreach and education, meals on wheels, elderly health access, vision care outreach and violence prevention.


Commemorating 10 Years - 2009


Ten years of philanthropic funding was commemorated. The Foundations, at this point, had approved over $111 million in support of 650 programs and services to improve health and quality of life and enhance osteopathic medical education and research.


Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine - 2011


The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation approved a transformative gift, impacting medical care delivery in Ohio for generations: a $105 million award was approved to support growth and enhancements to the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. In recognition of this gift, Ohio University changed the name of its medical school to the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. The gift spurred significant growth for the Heritage College in medical student matriculates at three campuses and supports a number of other enhancements to the College’s curricula and community services.


Sustaining Success: 20 Years


By 2018, the Foundations had approved over $240 million in support of 381 organizations and 1,419 programs – impacting tens of thousands of lives. As the nation’s largest, private foundations committed to osteopathic principles and philosophy, and Ohio’s largest health-supportive private foundations, the Boards and staff recognize the exceptional opportunity to positively impact communities across central and southeastern Ohio.