South County Family Man
Dr. David Lenihan has overcome obstacles throughout his entire life by turning them into opportunities. He is a proven problem solver who has never backed down. At a young age, David had a spinal injury that threatened to ruin his life. He took this challenge and decided to pursue medicine, working hard to pay for his own education at Palmer College of Chiropractic. He dedicated himself to helping people like him overcome medical difficulties.
He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Peripheral Neurosurgery from the University of Edinburgh, where he was also a peripheral nerve surgical fellow, working long hours while he and his wife raised two sons. He then got an MBA from the University of Cambridge Judge School of Business.
While in Scotland, his wife went into labor and had complications due to a lack of anesthesiologists, causing his son to have a stroke during birth. While his son fully recovered, the incident exposed the failures of socialized medicine.
After 9/11, David returned to the United States as a research associate at Washington University St. Louis. Soon he was offered the position of Dean at Touro’s Medical School in Harlem, NY, one of the largest medical schools in the United States. The college had experienced a dangerous drop in students as many were failing the medical boards required to become a doctor. Under David’s leadership, he turned around declining scores, which were 20 points lower than the national average. While he served as Dean, he pursued a law degree and flew home multiple times a week to St. Louis to coach both his sons’ football teams.
David moved on from Touro College and University System and used his entrepreneurial spirit to create Tiber Health, a global network of innovative medical universities. He soon bought Ponce Health Sciences University, which was struggling with low board scores, serious financial distress, and was faced with losing their Accreditation. He raised the Board pass rate from 62% to 93% while increasing medical degree applications by 30.4%. At the same time, David decreased annual operating costs by $7 million while creating new jobs. His medical school costs students 40% less than other private medical schools.
At Ponce Health Sciences University, Dr. Lenihan searches for students like himself – fighters, hard workers, and those who have overcome obstacles looking for an opportunity to better themselves and community. Many of his students do not have the highest admission test scores, or they were turned away from other medical schools. Using his patented and highly-innovative approach to teaching with predictive algorithms, he is able to track and uncover student insights to consistently monitor and personalize each student’s education. Put simply, he used data modeling to open up possibilities for lower-income students and considered character over grades to decide students’ eligibility.
His approach reduces drop-outs, identifies future superstars, and uniquely matches students to the best career paths. Most importantly, his approach has led to creating highly qualified doctors from students who otherwise would not have doctoral opportunities. As a result, Dr. Lenihan is a respected thought-leader in the global medical education and technology community.
David is committed to St. Louis. Recently, he has begun the process of building an $82 million medical school in St. Louis that will create over 483 permanent jobs and 165 construction jobs. Every physician trained who remains in St. Louis will generate $2.2M of economic impact or benefits. Upon completion it will be one of the largest medical schools in the country. David’s goal is to make St. Louis a culture-changing capital by giving lower-income students access to quality healthcare careers to support themselves, their families, and their communities.
David’s family has deep roots in the South St. Louis County community. He married Karen Ahlemeyer, a graduate of Oakville High School, whose family has been active in our community, including being founding parishioners of Queen of All Saints. David and Karen have two sons: Sean, who is at Rockhurst University, and Connor, who attends the Royal College of Surgeons.
He has dedicated his life to challenging himself, his students, and the community to create better opportunities. In Jefferson City, he will challenge his colleagues to find solutions to improve our schools, healthcare system, and remove obstacles to creating higher-paying jobs for Missourians.