CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine held an event Wednesday as part of a series of receptions marking the institution’s 50th anniversary of its founding.
The school, which describes itself as West Virginia’s largest medical school, was founded in 1972 with the goal of training osteopathic physicians to establish offices and administer health care services across the state.
“We are the leading producer of physicians, especially in primary care for West Virginia,” President James Nemitz told MetroNews. “We lead in primary care docs, we lead in rural placement. In fact, we’re so successful, we’re the leading provider of rural docs in the Appalachian region and the nation.”
Nemitz said the institution is a success story for not just West Virginia, but rural America.
“It’s important to celebrate that,” he added. “The school is so much more than the production of osteopathic physicians. Our work in the areas of our research enterprise and our work in the areas of community engagement are really becoming significant.”
Nemitz noted there are ongoing challenges in health care, including ensuring communities have access to physicians and facilities.
“Health care is one of the most important factors in being a desirable place to live,” he added. “We’re part of that solution in the state of trying to improve health care, and it’s more than just creating physicians. It’s about improving the health of our communities.”
The institution will hold similar celebratory events at its other base sites in Lewisburg, Charleston, Wheeling, Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Bridgeport.