Emily Rice Published

Fairmont State University Students Provided ‘Pipeline’ To Pursue Medical Degrees

A child wearing a red shirt is seen getting a physical exam from a physician.iStockphoto

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) and Fairmont State University signed a memorandum of understanding Friday for a program that will better prepare Fairmont State students interested in pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine.

Students who successfully complete all program requirements will receive guaranteed acceptance to WVSOM.

James Nemitz is the president of WVSOM. He said the path to medical school is challenging.

“This gives them an advantage where it sort of takes some of the stress off of them,” Nemitz said. “In terms of getting in, medical school admissions are still very competitive. And so they land their spot, and then they can just focus on their grades and maintaining good grades and then move on into medical school once they graduate from Fairmont State University.”

Nemitz said WVSOM has partnered with other state institutions to help fill health care vacancies across the state.

“We’ve established similar pipelines at other institutions around the state,” Nemitz said. “We call it our pre-osteopathic medical program, to basically offer students guaranteed admission and guidance in the medical school process while they’re going through college.”

While there is a focus on osteopathic medicine at WVSOM, Nemitz said it is important to understand a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, DO, degree is equivalent to a Doctor of Medicine Degree, or MD.

“It isn’t just Family Medicine and Pediatrics,” Nemitz said. “We have DO neurosurgeons, DO orthopedic surgeons, DO dermatologists, and ophthalmologists all serving within the state as well, in addition to our family medicine doctors, our pediatric doctors and our internal medicine doctors.”

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.