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NEOMED Awards Honorary Degrees to Two Health Care Leaders

Northeast Ohio Medical University has bestowed honorary degrees upon Daisy L. Alford-Smith, Ph.D., and Ronald Richard, M.A., in recognition of their transformative leadership and years of service in our local health care systems. Dr. Alford-Smith and Richard were both honored during NEOMED’s 41st Commencement ceremony, held virtually Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Dr. Alford-Smith’s career achievements include the implementation of a state-managed comprehensive care program for underserved populations and consultative services for a variety of entities, ranging from a major health maintenance organization to governments in South Africa and Slovakia. Well known for her thought leadership, operational skills and influence in political, business, professional and academic communities, she is a sought-after public speaker and lecturer who has made keynote presentations around the world.

“Dr. Alford-Smith’s background in nursing, education and management has informed her extensive experience in bringing positive change to some of health care’s most critical issues,” said NEOMED President John T. Langell, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

Dr. Alford-Smith served as a member of the Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees from 2009 through 2018. During her tenure, she served as chair of the Academic and Scientific Affairs Committee as well as of the Executive Committee. She currently serves as the chair of the President’s Diversity and Equity Advisory Council at NEOMED.

Ronald (“Ronn”) Richard is president and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation, where his distinguished service over nearly 20 years has included work in launching and implementing the Partnership for Urban Health. He has also championed causes including making medical education affordable via NEOMED scholarships; Say Yes to Education and workforce development; and racial equity and justice.

“Mr. Richard is well-known for his nearly 20 years of servant-leadership at the Cleveland Foundation, which is the oldest community foundation in the world and a provider of more than $115 million in grants each year,” noted Dr. Langell. “He has extensive experience and is widely respected for his efforts in philanthropy, workforce development, racial equity and justice, neighborhood revitalization and sustainable energy.


Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) harnesses diversity, innovation and collaboration to create transformative leaders and improve health through education, discovery and service. The University values leadership, excellence, advocacy, diversity, equity and respect 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 and life science areas.

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