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Agreement May Result in More Doctors in Rural Areas of West Virginia

Agreement May Result in More Doctors in Rural Areas of West Virginia

Athens, W.Va. - Concord College, in cooperation with the Marshall University School of Medicine (MUSOM), announced its new “Students of Excellence (in Pre-medical Studies) Medical School Program,” Wednesday, March 22, 2000.

Qualifying graduates of Concord College who major in a pre-medical field of study (i.e. biology, chemistry, or other related health science discipline) with a minimum overall 3.5 GPA, and who score at least an 8 composite on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT exam), will receive facilitated admission into MUSOM, pending final review and approval of the Medical Careers Committee. Several Concord students currently have the credentials and test scores to qualify.

Pre-med/biology is one of the most popular degree programs at Concord College. “Concord’s pre-med/biology program is well respected by the medical schools of Marshall, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and West Virginia University,” stated Roger Sheppard, department chairperson and professor of biology. “In fact, there are several physicians in this area who earned their undergraduate degree from Concord. Our faculty is proud of this agreement because MUSOM is telling us our students are well prepared. And, the agreement takes some pressure off our students because they know they will likely be accepted at MUSOM, as long as they meet the admissions criteria.”

Michael Curry, Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid for Concord said, “We are fortunate that MUSOM wants to provide this opportunity for our students. All of West Virginia will be served by this agreement. Both Concord and MUSOM want physicians that are educated in West Virginia to stay in West Virginia. This is an incentive for that to happen.”

“My passion is rural health,” stated Robert Walker, M.D., professor and chair of family and community health and associate dean for clinical affairs of MUSOM. “And, that’s the reason I came to West Virginia. West Virginia is the second-most rural state in our nation (the first is Vermont, based on the percent of people who live in rural areas). In 1977, our state legislature started the medical school at Marshall. And, we have a mission to turn out good doctors that can practice anywhere in the nation, but we do specialize in rural health care.”

“We will be acting as supporters and mentors to Concord students,” continued Walker, one of the two designated mentors for the program. “Mentors will invite participants from Concord to MUSOM for tours and ‘shadowing’ sessions. Mentors will also supervise a summer project to be completed by the student. Participants completing summer projects will receive a stipend of $500 from us, and they will be invited to present their projects at the Annual Research Symposium.”

Associate Professor Ross Patton, M.D., will serve as the second mentor in the program.

The Medical Careers Committee consists of: one Concord College faculty member from within the division of natural sciences, the vice president and dean of academic affairs, the vice president of admissions and financial aid, one community leader appointed by the president and two representatives from MUSOM.

The committee is responsible for reviewing qualifying students to assure that each candidate is in good standing at Concord (both academically and socially), has a proven record of commitment to the mission of Concord College, and demonstrates promise as a future practitioner of medical arts for the people of West Virginia.

Qualifying candidates requesting review may do so in the second semester of his or her senior year. Candidates receiving the approval of the committee will receive special advocacy in admissions to the medical school for the following year.

“This year, MUSOM will put family doctors in Fayette, Jackson, Lincoln, Taylor and maybe Pocahontas County, so you can see that the program is providing primary health care to residents of West Virginia,” elaborated Walker, who just received the Award for National Rural Health Professor of the Year.

For more information on “Students of Excellence (in Pre-medical Studies) Medical School Program,” call 1-304-384-5248.


Concord College Notes: The Concord College division of natural sciences includes the departments of biology, mathematics, and physical sciences. This division prepares graduates to enter careers in mathematics, computer science, the allied health sciences, the natural sciences, and teaching. Students are also prepared to enter graduate programs in chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, mathematics, geology/environmental science, statistics, and programs in the professions of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

Marshall University School of Medicine emphasizes primary care and encourages students to practice in West Virginia. Since the Association of American Medical Colleges has published rankings, MUSOM has consistently placed in the top ten (of 125 allopathic or conventional medical schools) in the percentage of graduates entering primary care practice. Six Marshall students were awarded the Year IV $10,000 Health Science Scholarships; only 13 were awarded statewide. The scholarships were awarded based upon a student’s commitment to practice primary care medicine for a minimum of two years in an underserved rural area of West Virginia. Their entering Class of 1999 had a male to female ratio of 50:50.


Representing Concord College: Associate Professor of Biology Darla J. Wise and Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid Michael Curry. Representing Marshall University: Robert Walker, M.D.