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The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), was founded in 1972 and celebrated its anniversary at the Frederick Building in Huntington on Wednesday
“We’re now the largest med school in this state with 800 plus students,” president of the school, James Nemitz, said in a speech.
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O.s, are trained in the same services as other doctors, but take a more holistic approach to a patient’s wellness.
The WVSOM has a main campus in Lewisburg, and campuses in Huntington, Charleston, Martinsburg, Clarksburg, Wheeling, and Parkersburg.
So students have access to hands-on experience, the school has partnerships with 59 clinics and hospitals across the state for their required clinical rotations.
“We expose our students to the entire state; we expose them to rural medicine,” Nemitz said. “A significant number of them are saying, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”
Students with the WVSOM spend their first two years at the campus in Lewisburg. Starting their third year, the students disperse out into the rest of the state for their clinical work during their third and fourth years.
Third year student Priyanka Pandey hails from Columbus, Ohio. She is doing her first clinical rotation in Huntington, working in inpatient psychiatric care.
“A lot of the people that are there, their psychosis is due to drug addiction over like multiple years,” Pandey said. “It’s kind of really nice to see that there’s so many different social services that are in place to make sure that these people are either with family or they’re in a group home, or they never just let them out onto the streets. That’s kind of why I wanted to be a D.O. in the first place.”
One of the major issues facing medical schools is the limited number of residencies available for graduates. The school reports that 99 percent of their graduates were able to match into a residency program this year.
“If you have a person go into a residency, more than likely when they’re finished with their residency, at least for their first job, they will stay within 50 miles,” Nemitz said. “So one of the key things of keeping doc’s in the state is growing residency and fellowship programs.”