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West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine celebrates 50th anniversary in Shepherdstown, announces scholarship endowment

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LEWISBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding with an Aug. 2 reception at the Bavarian Inn, a resort and brewing company in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The reception was the latest in a series of events around the state in which school officials commemorated the institution’s founding to increase awareness of WVSOM’s impact on the state and region and to generate excitement among supporters that could lead to philanthropic support. WVSOM’s overall economic impact is $133.6 million.

The celebration was one of many visits by WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., and other school staff with stakeholders, alumni, students, faculty and friends of the school in WVSOM’s Statewide Campus system, which is made up of seven designated regions in West Virginia, with offices in Martinsburg, Lewisburg, Wheeling, Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg and Bridgeport.

WVSOM’s Eastern Region Statewide Campus site is located at 2500 Foundation Way, in Martinsburg.

The event was also attended by WVSOM alumni Joseph Cincinnati, D.O., and Troy Foster, D.O., of the Martinsburg.-based Center for Orthopedic Excellence. Nemitz announced at the celebration that the physicians have committed to establish a scholarship endowment through the WVSOM Foundation.

The endowment will be known as the Patricia Louise McClung Nemitz Memorial Scholarship, named for Nemitz’s late wife, who passed away in 2009 of complications from multiple sclerosis. The scholarship will be awarded to exemplary WVSOM students, with preference given to students from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia and alumni of Concord University and West Virginia University — where Cincinnati and Foster, respectively, received their undergraduate degrees.

At WVSOM, a student’s first two years of a four-year program are spent on campus in Lewisburg, W.Va. The latter two years are spent on medical rotations in clinics and hospitals in WVSOM’s Statewide Campus, where students provide about 1,050,000 health care hours each year.

A total of 39 WVSOM graduates currently practice in the areas included in the Eastern Region of the Statewide Campus.

“We have much to celebrate this year,” Nemitz said. “I want to be sure everyone knows the value WVSOM brings to West Virginia. Not only do we have a tremendous economic impact in the state, but WVSOM is the state’s largest medical school, with about 800 students enrolled each year. WVSOM is also the No. 1 medical school in the state providing primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas. We want to share our incredible message and celebrate the school’s founding.”

Zachary Bloom, a fourth-year student who hails from New Jersey, attended the reception and shared his experience at WVSOM.

“The school makes abundant resources available to us, whether that means a professor comes in on the weekend or we seek out the ASPIRE (Academic Support and Intervention Resources) program, which helps us cope with the demands of medical school by providing resources to maintain our mental and emotional health,” Bloom said. “It’s a pretty unanimous opinion among students that WVSOM provides a healthy balance for learning.”

Bloom also pointed out the advantages of WVSOM’s Statewide Campus.

“It’s unique, and it helps students experience the diversity of different geographic regions,” Bloom said.

Andrew Colebank, a fourth-year student from Pennsylvania, discussed the school’s community engagement efforts.

“WVSOM not only provides extraordinary assistance to students, it also helps tremendously in the community,” he said. “I plan to go into rural medicine and family medicine, and it’s been refreshing to watch President Nemitz’s humanitarian efforts.”

A yearlong schedule of events will take place on WVSOM’s campus in Lewisburg, throughout the state and at national conferences in 2022. A list of events can be found on WVSOM’s 50th-anniversary webpage at www.wvsom.edu/50-years.

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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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