We learned late last week that George Dunigan, longtime lobbyist for the Ohio Osteopathic Association, died on September 11, 2023. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues.
George grew up on Staten Island in New York City. At the age of fourteen he attended Staunton Military Academy where he made lifelong friends. His education continued to Marshall University where earned his degree. After graduating he moved to Logan, Ohio where he was a teacher, coach and City Councilman. Bitten by the political bug, he became the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Ohio Osteopathic Association and the Medical School at Ohio University.
George considered the passage of HB 229 (111th General Assembly) his greatest accomplishment because of its impact on health care in Ohio.
On August 18, 1975, Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes signed HB 229. The bill, introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives in January that year, created an osteopathic college that would emphasize the training of family physicians for underserved areas of the state. It was later amended to specify the osteopathic school would be a “component part” of Ohio University.
With powerful support from a handful of key legislators, the bill passed the House overwhelmingly two months after its introduction. It was a different story in the Senate. It was a tough battle, particularly with opposition from the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio State Medical Association, and others. But Dunigan and the team of proponents pressed on, enlisting Sen. Nick Zimmers to carry the bill and working with Sen. Harry Meshel and others to show legislators the value the osteopathic medical school—and the primary care physicians it would produce—would bring to their districts. During the 2-1/2-hour debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Bob Secrest, of Cambridge, delivered a rousing speech in support of the bill, noting that if just two doctors moved into his district, it would be worth it. The bill passed 24-6.
Today, over 1,000 students are enrolled at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s three campuses in Athens, Dublin, and Cleveland. The College alumni totals 4,500+, with 53% of graduates practicing primary care and 60% practicing in Ohio.
George received many deserving awards in his career but the latest was "The Dunigan Award for Osteopathic Advocacy" which will be presented to a student yearly at graduation. He learned of this before he passed and was so honored. (of course, if you knew George then you already knew all this!!) George was a consummate people person. George's heart was as big as his persona. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Doris, and stepson, Casey. George is survived by his loving wife Pam; sister, Patty; brother, Bobby (Judy); special cousin, Wayne (Donna); children, Tracey (Tab), Kevin, Tracie (Tim), Stephanie (Fred); and his partner in crime Bob McEaneney! He was also special "PopPop" to Sam, Tessa, Erin, Ryan, Max, and Sarah. A visitation was held on Friday Sept 15, 2023, at the John Quint Treboni Funeral Home, 1177 W 5th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212. Contributions can be made to "The Casey Mentel Memorial Fund" at St. Charles Prep School. 2010 E. Broad St. Bexley, Ohio 43209