Dr. John Langell

John Langell Appointed as NEOMED’s Seventh President

U.S. veteran, surgeon, educator and appreciative leader promises to build on student success, community base, innovation and inclusion.

The Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees appointed John Langell, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., as the University’s seventh president. The appointment was made official during a special board meeting held today in the Signet Board Room on the University’s campus.

Dr. Langell will succeed Jay Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., who announced last year that he will retire September 30.

Dr. Langell has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and has served in senior leadership positions in academic health care, industry, nonprofit organizations and the federal government.

In his most recent position, Dr. Langell served as vice dean for the School of Medicine as well as founder and executive director of the Center for Medical Innovation, both at the University of Utah. He was recruited to the University of Utah’s Department of Surgery in 2006 as its director of acute care surgery and not long afterward also served as chief of general surgery at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

While serving as a senior leader at the University of Utah, the U.S. Air Force veteran also maintained his reservist status as CEO (Commander) of Air Force Health Care Facilities. From 2006 to 2018 Dr. Langell led four separate Air Force Reserve medical facilities. He was responsible for the leadership and management of all medical and allied health professionals as well as administrators.

“With such a great foundation laid by Dr. Gershen, we were challenged to find someone with proven effective and diverse experiences in health care, medical education, leadership, operations and innovation to keep us on an upward trajectory,” said Robert J. Klonk, CEO of Oswald Companies, who serves as chair of NEOMED’s board. “But we also needed someone who was up to the challenge to accelerate the University even further. Dr. Langell has the business acumen, leadership skills and innovative mindset to do just that.”

‘Extraordinary qualities’

Dr. Langell is well known for his work as a minimally invasive gastrointestinal and endocrine surgeon, tenured educator, developer of advanced medical education programs, and federally funded researcher. But he is equally known for his effective, appreciative and inclusive style as a leader, his expertise as an innovator and operator; and his forward-thinking approaches as a change agent and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

“Dr. Langell has some extraordinary qualities as a physician, educator and leader,” noted Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED. “To possess the triple threat of excellence in business processes, education models and people skills is exactly what NEOMED needs. I’m excited about the University’s future.”

Dr. Langell earned Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees from  Drexel University. He completed his surgical residency at Stanford University Medical Center and a residency in Space and Aerospace Medicine at NASA/University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). He also holds Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degrees. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Langell is married to Dr. Sara Whittingham, a former active duty flight surgeon, who currently practices anesthesiology at the University of Utah and the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The couple has two daughters, Sydney and Grace.

“I am extremely grateful to the NEOMED Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee for the opportunity to serve this outstanding university,” said Dr. Langell. “I am both humbled and excited to join the talented team of students, staff, faculty and alumni that makeup the NEOMED family.

“In collaboration with our community and academic partners, we will continue to build upon NEOMED’s strength as a community-based academic health care institution, while innovating to build a vibrant and sustainable future.”

Dr. Langell’s official start date at NEOMED is October 1.


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