new WVSOM Board of Governors members

Five members join WVSOM Board of Governors; new chair elected

Five individuals have joined the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) Board of Governors, the body that oversees the financial, business and educational policies under which the school operates.

The Board of Governors consists of nine lay members appointed by West Virginia’s governor and three elected representatives, one each from WVSOM’s faculty, staff and student body. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appointed Thomas Cole and Sharon Hall to the board, effective Aug. 9. Peter Ward, Ph.D., was elected as a faculty representative; Marlena Dunbar was elected as a staff representative; and Abdulrahman Al Halak, WVSOM Class of 2023, was elected as a student representative, effective July 1.

Additionally, Robert Holstein, D.O., the board’s past vice chair, was elected chair, effective July 1.

Thomas Cole is the owner of eight businesses with 12 locations and more than 150 employees. Those businesses are Cole Chevrolet-Cadillac, Cole Collision Center, Cole Truck Parts, Cole Auto Outlet, Hometown Service Center, Citizens Building Supply, The RailYard and Mac Contractors.

He earned an associate degree from Northwood University in automotive marketing. Cole has been heavily involved in his community as a Paul Harris Fellow for the Bluefield Rotary Club, the mayor of Bluefield from 2013 to 2017, past president of The Wade Center, past chairman of the West Virginia Auto and Truck Dealers Association, and was named a Class of 2009 Young Gun by West Virginia Executive magazine. He lives with his family in Bluefield, W.Va.

Sharon Hall is the founding president of the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Health Education and Research Institute in Charleston, W.Va., where she provides executive leadership and oversight. Hall has worked in educational leadership roles in academic medicine, medical school and teaching hospital settings for more than 40 years, including serving as manager of continuing education for West Virginia University Charleston Division and as CAMC’s director of continuing education and administrator of organization development and training.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University and a Master of Science degree in management/health care administration from the University of West Virginia School of Graduate Studies. In 2006, Hall received West Virginia University Charleston Division’s William J. Maier Health Sciences Award, and in 2017 she was awarded the inaugural Group on Resident Affairs Outstanding Service Award by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Peter Ward, Ph.D., is an anatomy professor in WVSOM’s biomedical sciences department and has been a WVSOM faculty member since 2005. He has served on numerous faculty committees, was faculty chair from 2018 to 2020 and operates the school’s plastination facility, which produces anatomical specimens for educational use. Ward also has worked with Bone Clones, a company that casts simulated human and animal bones from polyurethane resin, to create commercially distributed models illustrating bone injuries.

He spent three years as the association secretary for the American Association of Clinical Anatomists and is the sole author of Clinical Anatomy Explained: Netter’s Musculoskeletal System, an Integrated Anatomical Text, for use at medical schools that use an integrated curriculum. Ward received a Ph.D. in anatomy education at Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Marlena Dunbar will serve as WVSOM’s staff representative and was named the board’s secretary. She is a paralegal in WVSOM’s Office of General Counsel. Dunbar has an Associate of Science degree in legal studies, a Bachelor of Science degree in business studies/human resources management, and a Master of Business Administration in public administration.

Abdulrahman Al Halak was elected to the board as a student representative, replacing Aaron Byczynski, Class of 2022. Al Halak received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and a Master of Health Science from West Virginia University.

Robert Holstein, D.O., practices at MyHealthOnSite, a facility that provides care to employees and dependents of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department and the Charlotte County Government in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association. Holstein is board certified in family medicine and is licensed to practice in West Virginia, Florida and Kentucky. In 2019, Holstein was named Alumni of the Year by the WVSOM Alumni Association, on whose board he served for 10 years, including six years as president. A native of Dunbar, W.Va., he is a 1979 graduate of WVSOM and completed an internship at Doctor’s Hospital in Georgia.