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Open house for WVSOM Testing Center set for June 25

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) is preparing to celebrate the opening of the newest addition to its Lewisburg campus.

From 5 to 7 p.m., June 25, WVSOM will host an open house for its 26,756-square-foot Testing Center. The first new construction on the school’s campus since the WVSOM Student Center opened in 2016, the Testing Center will serve as a central location for first- and second-year medical students to take course quizzes and exams and practice for national board exams.

The centerpiece of the building, which connects the existing Center for Technology and Rural Medicine to the Clinical Evaluation Center, is a 234-seat testing hall filled with partitioned, three-feet-wide carrels designed to give students privacy and to ensure the integrity of the examination process.

Linda Boyd, D.O., WVSOM’s vice president for academic affairs and dean, shows students the new testing center during a campus event earlier this year.

In the past, WVSOM administered exams in two classrooms. David Meadows, MBA, WVSOM’s chief financial officer, said the school has outgrown its previous testing environment and that the Testing Center will make WVSOM’s testing process more efficient.

“The new building provides a more secure and individualized testing environment for students than the current classroom functionality,” Meadows said. “A facility that provides singular testing spaces, as opposed to separating students in a large classroom, is the optimum process.”

Raeann Carrier, Ph.D., WVSOM’s director of National Boards Office and Exam Center, helped plan the center. She said its configuration is designed to reproduce the experience of taking national board exams at external locations, giving students a sense of familiarity when they take the COMLEX, a series of standardized examinations required for licensure for the practice of osteopathic medicine.

“When it’s time for board preparation, students will have practice exams in the facility,” Carrier said. “Taking practice assessments in the testing hall will help them get used to sitting in a place for four hours, buffered by walls, having somebody on either side of you, in an environment that’s similar to the Pearson VUE or Prometric sites where they take their licensing exams.”

The Testing Center has six “accommodation rooms” for testing students who have additional needs — for example, students who have health conditions that require them to eat or drink while taking an exam — or who require isolation due to illness. Additionally, the center contains offices for staff of WVSOM’s National Boards Office and Exam Center and for selected employees of the school’s Information Technology Department.

The building also includes spaces where students can gather to study or socialize.

“We’ve put in place ‘soft seating’ in non-testing parts of the building designed for students to congregate, relax and create a community environment. We expect that these areas will become hangout spaces,” Meadows said.

WVSOM is working with CAMC Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, in Ronceverte, W.Va., to allow the hospital to use the facility as a secure place to administer benchmark exams required of resident physicians. Carrier said the school also may partner with other outside organizations in the use of the building.

The completion of the Testing Center provides WVSOM with an amenity often reserved for medical schools that are linked with universities, she explained.

“WVSOM is a free-standing medical school that recently also established a master’s program in biomedical sciences, so the value of this addition lies in the opportunity for all students to test in a facility that is solely dedicated to that purpose,” Carrier said. “As future physicians, our students are going to be assessed periodically for years to come. If we can establish a way for them to feel more comfortable with the experience of testing, the hope is that they will be more successful.”

ZMM Architects and Engineers, headquartered in Charleston, W.Va., served as the building’s primary architect, and DCI Shires, based in Bluefield, W.Va., was the general contractor for its construction.

On June 25, WVSOM will host a community open house for its 26,756-square-foot Testing Center, the first new construction on the school’s campus since 2016.

WVSOM is a national leader in educating osteopathic physicians for primary care medicine in rural areas. Visit WVSOM online at www.wvsom.edu.

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