WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., and Bluefield State University President Robin Capehart shake hands.

WVSOM statewide pipeline program welcomes BSU as latest partner

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) and Bluefield State University (BSU) have entered into a memorandum of understanding that will prepare BSU students who hope to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine.

WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., and Bluefield State University President Robin Capehart signed the memorandum during a March 21 ceremony at Bluefield State University. Through the agreement, qualifying Bluefield State students can enter WVSOM’s Pre-Osteopathic Medicine Program and develop the skills and credentials required for admission to WVSOM.

Capehart noted that the partnership benefits everyone involved.

“It creates a clearly defined roadmap for our students who are interested in pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine,” Capehart said. “We anticipate a substantial increase in the number of BSU students who will enter the program, graduate and help fill the pressing statewide and nationwide need for more physicians.”

Nemitz said he is pleased that the agreement will allow the two schools to work together to strengthen West Virginia’s medical workforce.

“This partnership will identify students who are driven to succeed and who have an early interest in osteopathic medicine, allowing WVSOM to provide mentorship and guidance for successfully navigating the path to medical school,” Nemitz said. “We are thrilled to work with Bluefield State University to find students who will excel in providing patient care to West Virginians.”

The Pre-Osteopathic Medicine Program is a partnership intended to prepare undergraduate students who have an interest in osteopathic medicine and plan to enter osteopathic medical school. Other affiliated undergraduate institutions include Alderson Broaddus University, Bethany College, Concord University, Davis & Elkins College, Glenville State University, Shepherd University, University of Charleston, Waynesburg University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

It is one of several pipeline programs at WVSOM designed to increase the number of excellent osteopathic medical school applicants, support aspiring osteopathic physicians at all levels of education and continue the legacy of osteopathic medicine. WVSOM also established a bridge program with West Liberty University that allows students to earn a Master of Arts degree in biology to improve their overall academic credentials and prove they can handle the rigors of medical school.

Additionally, WVSOM established the “Go D.O.” Early Scholars Program for high school seniors preparing to enter West Virginia Wesleyan College that waives WVSOM’s MCAT exam requirement and guarantees acceptance to the medical school on successful completion of program requirements and an acceptable interview.

Other programs designed to increase West Virginia’s health care workforce include the WVSOM Rural Health Initiative’s Green Coat Program, in which college students majoring in health sciences can be immersed in hospital and clinic settings, and various WVSOM programs aimed at introducing high school students to information about health care careers, including two summer camps in which students are exposed to basic medical and scientific concepts.