LEWISBURG, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine says the school is “poised for growth” as it emerges from the pandemic.
Dr. James Nemitz delivered his State of the School Address last week and later spoke with MetroNews about what’s been accomplished in recent months at Lewisburg-based medical school.
Nemitz said the school “didn’t miss a beat” when the pandemic hit. He said they quickly pivoted to virtual learning and continued to adjust.
“The main thing was to keep everybody safe. I’m proud to say we didn’t have a single outbreak,” Nemitz said. “We were able to keep students on track and keep people working.”
Nemitz also said he believes the pandemic has brought university and college presidents in West Virginia closer during a difficult time. They’ve met frequently through video conferencing.
“It’s brought us to together. We share are challenges and our successes. We’ve gotten to know each other and I think that’s a good thing for the state,” he said.
WVSOM will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022 and Nemitz said he’s confident about future growth. He said it will focus on additional health care needs in the state.
“We’re not there yet in terms of what we’re going to do. My board of governors hasn’t given the approval yet but we’re looking at adding some programs in the coming years,” Nemitz said.
The school has been working with a consultant.
WVSOM receives about $9 million a year from the state. Nemitz said the state allocation results in an annual economic impact of more than $133 million, according to a new economic impact study commissioned by the school.
“Most of that is in Greenbrier County but it’s actually spread throughout the state because of our statewide campus,” he said.
Third and fourth-year students at WVSOM spend their time in health care facilities in rural areas of the state. Nemitz said that’s part of the mission that came nearly 50 years ago.
“We live our mission and our mission is to provide rural primary care docs for West Virginia and we’re the leader in the state, we’re the leader in Appalachia and we’re the leader in the nation and we’re really proud of that,” Nemitz told MetroNews.
WVSOM has graduates in 52 of the state’s 55 counties and now has graduates in all 50 states.
The 2022 edition of America’s best graduate schools in US News and World Report ranked WVSOM for the 23rd consecutive year in rankings of all DO schools. The latest rankings include:
–4th in the nation in producing primary care residents
–16th in percentage of 2012-2014 graduates practicing direct patient care in rural areas
–14th in percentage of graduates practicing in primary care specialties
–41st in graduates practicing direct patient care in health professional shortages
The school also was ranked for diversity and noted for research.