More Medical Professionals to Serve Rural Areas Thanks to State Grant

May 24, 2018

Seventeen health science graduate students from across West Virginia are getting money to help pay for their education.

Why? Because the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has awarded some health sciences grad students a chunk of cash to help pay for their college education – so long as they commit to practicing medicine in a rural or underserved community in West Virginia following graduation.

It’s part of an initiative started by the West Virginia Legislature in 1995 called the Health Sciences Service Program.

This year, seventeen students have received a portion of $360,000 -- receiving between $15,000 and $30,000 per student.

Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement and demonstration of a strong commitment to health in rural areas.

To be eligible, students must be studying fields like dentistry, nurse practitioner, pharmacy, primary care, or other related fields.

Awards:

Dentistry

  • Shawn Ballard from Boone County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • Kelly Lyons from Monongalia County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • Colter Taylor from Roane County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University

Medicine

  • Jenna Barbour from Wayne County, West Virginia, who graduated from Marshall University
  • Zane Dennison from Braxton County, West Virginia, who graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Brandon Merritt from Kanawha County, West Virginia, who graduated from Marshall University
  • Kyle Miller from Roanoke, Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University

Nurse Practitioner

  • Cara Burker from Sharpsburg, Maryland, who graduated from Shepherd University
  • Daonna Fox from Fayette County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • Julie Orr from Mercer County, West Virginia, who graduated from Marshall University

Pharmacy

  • Jessica Barnett from Gilmer County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • James Kincaid from Fayette County, West Virginia, who graduated from Marshall University

Physical Therapy

  • Ashley Gill from Jackson County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • Devin Heitz from Harrison County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University
  • Kristina Hickenbottom from Wood County, West Virginia, who graduated from West Virginia University

Social Work

  • Betsy Coulter from Braxton County, West Virginia, who graduated from Concord University
  • Shane Lightle from Cabell County, West Virginia, who graduated from Marshall University

Since 1995, nearly $3 million in state funding has been awarded to 213 West Virginia students.