Another faculty member at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) has received statewide recognition for his work in driving West Virginia forward.
Christopher Pankey, Ph.D., an assistant professor of physiology in WVSOM’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, is one of 10 Mountain State professionals named to West Virginia Executive magazine’s “Young Guns” list for 2024.
Pankey was recognized by the magazine during a Nov. 14 reception at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, W.Va. The Young Guns program celebrates individuals 43 years of age or younger who make a difference in West Virginia’s business world and in their communities.
Linda Boyd, D.O., WVSOM’s vice president for academic affairs and dean and chief academic officer, said Pankey meets the definition of a young professional who is advancing the state through his work in educating future physicians.
“Dr. Pankey is one of our impressive young faculty members who is good at everything,” Boyd said. “He’s an excellent teacher, and students feel comfortable going to him with questions. Dr. Pankey always includes students in his research so that they have opportunities to learn the research process and earn publications or presentations from their work. He also serves on key committees and has been instrumental in the group that developed our new curriculum.”
Pankey, who joined WVSOM in 2019, was instrumental in gaining national recognition for the school through the American College of Sports Medicine and American Medical Association’s Exercise is Medicine program, which works to create a campus culture of wellness through physical activity. Pankey and two students led WVSOM to receive a silver designation from the program in 2022, and WVSOM achieved a gold designation — the program’s highest rank — in 2023.
He received the school’s President’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2022, and became a certified medical exercise specialist that same year. The certification allows health care professionals to prescribe exercise to patients with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and respiratory disease.
Pankey participates in WVSOM’s annual Day of Service, in which students provide manual labor and services to local organizations in need of volunteer work. He assisted with the school’s 2023 Just Say KNOW to Lifestyle Medicine camp, which brought high school students to the WVSOM campus to learn how factors such as exercise and nutrition affect health.
He is also a researcher with numerous publications and presentations to his credit, including 11 manuscripts since joining WVSOM, as well as more than 30 abstracts with student authors. Much of Pankey’s recent research focuses on the role of nutrition and physical activity and how lifestyle can affect individuals as well as their future offspring.
He said he is inspired by WVSOM’s medical students, some of whom have won research competitions and published manuscripts after assisting with studies conducted in his lab.
“My greatest successes are the moments I share with students,” Pankey said. “I have had the honor of mentoring wonderful students who are incredibly hard workers. Many of them work 10, 12 or more hours a day, almost every day, for the first two years of medical school. Over and over, they make sacrifices. But amidst their struggles, they have unique stories of the motivations that keep them true to their mission and passion. They consistently seek out more work, more opportunities and more ways to be productive.”