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Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation Reports Successful Year, Welcomes New Board Members and Officers

August 28, 2014 12:00 AM — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact: Heather Griesbach, , 330.325.6675

The Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) Foundation continues to demonstrate success in its efforts to strengthen the financial capacity of the University, announcing a banner fundraising year and welcoming new members and officers to its 26-member volunteer Board of Directors.

The Foundation reported a one year 248 percent increase in overall contributions, raising $2.95 million for the University during the 2014 fiscal year. This substantial increase resulted from major gifts for student scholarships, research focus areas and capital needs. Among these major gifts was a $1 million commitment from two local donors in support of NEOMED’s Parkinson’s disease research, which attracted additional attention and funding from the national Michael J. Fox Foundation.  

In addition to major gifts, the University’s annual Blue Fund campaign raised $328,000 toward the year-end results with both alumni and employee participation more than doubling.

“Northeast Ohio Medical University continues to transform, and the growth of our programs, initiatives and facilities are key areas of focus for our fundraising efforts,” said Daniel Blain, vice president for advancement and president of the NEOMED Foundation. “We had a remarkable year thanks to the generosity of our donors, partners and friends, and their investment in our students and support of our mission allows us to continue to educate the next generation of health care professionals, achieve ground-breaking research in areas of critical medical importance and serve this region to the best of our ability.”

Continuing to enhance its efforts, the NEOMED Foundation Board of Directors recently welcomed several new members, approved a new slate of officers and thanked its outgoing chair for his significant leadership and service.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Foundation announced the addition of six new members: Myah Moore Irick, M.B.A.; Venera F. Izant, CRPC, CSNA; Cindy S. Johnson, CPA, CIT; Richard Nicely; Ian S. Oppenheim, J.D., CELA; and, Munir P. Shah, M.D.

  • Myah Moore Irick, M.B.A., serves as vice president at J.P. Morgan Banker in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is responsible for evaluating strategic resources for clients, including financial planning, trusts and wealth transfer strategies, private banking and investment management. She previously served as a relationship manager for PNC’s Wealth Management team and also held several senior roles in the Development Office at Columbia University.
  • Venera F. Izant, CRPC, CSNA, is a financial advisor for global wealth management at Merrill Lynch in Pepper Pike, Ohio, where she develops strategies and solutions for high net-worth individuals, their families and their businesses. She has served the financial services industry since 1980 and is adept at providing a variety of financial products and services. Izant is involved in numerous community organizations and has served on several boards.      
  • Cindy S. Johnson, CPA, CIT, is a partner at Bober, Markey and Fedorovich in Akron, Ohio, where she focuses on serving privately held middle-market and high-growth clients. In addition to focusing on assurance and advisory services, she oversees the firm’s Small Business Services Group, which provides review and analysis of financial information, tax planning and business advisory services. She joined the firm in 1987 and was elected partner in 2001.
  • Richard Nicely is president of the R.G. Smith Company, Inc. in Canton, Ohio, which specializes in industrial construction with more than $70 million in annual sales. A registered professional engineer, he has been employed with R.G. Smith since 1972, following employment at ODOT in Columbus, Ohio, and service as a captain in the U.S. Army. Nicely is involved in numerous local and national civic organizations, including the Canton Rotary and Michael J. Fox Foundation.
  • Ian S. Oppenheim, J.D., CELA, is a certified elder law attorney with Oppenheim & Cole, LLC where his practice focuses on estate planning and elder and special needs law. He also serves as adjunct professor of law at Western New England University where he plays a role in the School of Law’s Graduate Program in Estate Planning and Elder Law. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work at the state and national level.
  • Munir P. Shah, M.D., is an infectious disease specialist who practices at Northeastern Ohio Infectious Diseases in Youngstown, Ohio. He is board certified in infectious disease and internal medicine and maintains hospital affiliations with Northside Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center and Salem Community Hospital. He is a graduate of Bj Medical College at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, India.


New officers include Albert J. Cook II, M.D. (’90), chair; Judith E. Barnes Lancaster, Esq., vice chair; Nicholas R. Sucic, CPA, treasurer; and, Ann M. Klein, R.Ph., secretary.

James E. Merklin, CPA, CFF, CFE, M.Acc., partner at Bober Markey Fedorovich and outgoing Foundation Board of Directors chair, was honored for his service to the Board and presented with a gift of appreciation. Merklin served as chair from July 2012 to July 2014 after having served as a member of the Board for seven years.

Founded in 1978, the Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation comprises health care, community and business leaders and is led by a 26-member volunteer Board of Directors. The Foundation aims to strengthen the financial capacity of the University and to broaden access to high quality medicine and pharmacy education.

Northeast Ohio Medical University is a public, community-based medical university and academic health center with a mission to improve the health and economy of Northeast Ohio. For 40 years, NEOMED has worked in collaboration with its educational, clinical and research partners to successfully train health professionals and medical researchers who serve and impact the region and beyond. The University trains students in a team-based, interprofessional environment and offers doctor of medicine (M.D.) and doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degrees, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees and research opportunities in other medical areas. Still burning bright after 40 years; visit