OhioHealth's Dublin Methodist Hospital has now spent over a decade serving the medical needs of the city's ever-expanding community, but municipal leaders say the institution plays a significant role in Dublin's economy as well.

OhioHealth is Dublin's second-largest employer behind only Cardinal Health, said Colleen Gilger, Dublin's director of economic development.

More than half of OhioHealth's employment in the city is nonclinical and office-related, Gilger said.

"We take great pride in having health care as one of our top four employment sectors in Dublin and recently identified more than 250 health-care-related companies within the Dublin community," Gilger said.

The hospital, at 7500 Hospital Drive, has 831 medical staff members, 925 associates and 97 volunteers at the main hospital and other associated buildings, said Marcus Thorpe, media relations manager for Dublin Methodist.

The hospital's location also has had an impact on medical offices and support companies that have located in the area of Perimeter Drive, said Margie Amorose, director of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

"It's hard to imagine" what Perimeter Drive would look like, had the hospital not located there, Amorose said.

"Dublin Methodist put us at another level," she said.

For his part, Steve Bunyard, president of Dublin Methodist, said he recognizes OhioHealth is a big part of the Dublin community.

Although Dublin Methodist is a full-service hospital, like other hospitals around the city, the institution doesn't provide everything, Bunyard said.

For example, neurosurgery and cardiac-care surgeries such as open heart and bypass are performed at other OhioHealth locations.

"We sit as a front door to this community for health care with the recognition of where our services end," Bunyard said.

Although Dublin Methodist has been in the city for 10 years, plans for health care in the area date longer.

OhioHealth in the early 1980s purchased more than 100 acres in Dublin and waited for the community to grow enough to warrant a health-care need, said Cheryl Herbert, OhioHealth's senior vice president of regional operations and the first president of Dublin Methodist Hospital from 2004-2011.

Between 2003 and 2004, OhioHealth decided to build a hospital in Dublin, breaking ground in 2005 and opening in 2008, Herbert said.

"OhioHealth had owned the land that the hospital sits on for many years before we decided to build a hospital here," she said.

In building from the ground up -- a rare opportunity -- OhioHealth focused on creating a healing environment for patients, maximizing elements that help people heal faster, decrease stress and prevent infection, Herbert said.

As Dublin Methodist evolved, it also had an impact on a later evolution in Dublin's health-care sector.

Whereas a number of factors played into Ohio University's decision to launch its Dublin campus in 2014, the university's long-standing relationship with OhioHealth, its education partner for the Dublin campus, increased the project's viability and continues to contribute to its success, said Ken Johnson, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine executive dean and Ohio University chief medical affairs officer.

One example of that partnership, Johnson said, is the new family-medicine residency program at Dublin Methodist, under the direction of one of OU's 2005 graduates, Dr. Matt Kunar. It's where one of the first graduates from the Heritage College, Dublin, will continue training.

The relationship between Ohio University and OhioHealth, Johnson said, "just keeps growing and deepening with all the OhioHealth facilities in the area," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah