MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Chris Martin, M.D., associate professor in the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine and director of the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health (IOEH), has been named director of international programs for WVU Health Sciences.

“Our recently adopted strategic plan includes a goal to establish national and global collaborations to enhance our faculty, staff and student experiences,” said Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at West Virginia University, who made the appointment. “I believe that Dr. Martin will not only help us to achieve that goal but will help WVU become a leader in global health education.”

Dr. Martin will work with the deans and faculty of the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and the future School of Public Health to coordinate existing and proposed international health programs.

“This position affords me the opportunity to combine my two great passions: education and international work. It’s not often that you get to combine two passions in one job,” Martin said.

Martin believes that as a world-class facility, WVU should not only provide learning experiences for its students in other parts of the world, but it should also be a place that attracts the best and brightest faculty and students who are looking to teach and learn at a premiere institution.

“I had the opportunity as a first-year medical student to travel to Africa. I think when you’re afforded an opportunity like that early on, it is life altering. It truly is,” he said. “Those experiences forever motivate you throughout your professional life.”

Faculty members from all four Health Sciences schools lead educational missions to various parts of the world. For example, the School of Medicine’s Global Health Program, under the direction of Melanie Fisher, M.D., has formal student/faculty exchange agreements with institutions in Barbuda, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Italy, Peru and Mexico.

WVU is also the key academic partner of Oman Medical College, which was established to bring U.S.-style medical and pharmacy education to students from that country and across the Middle East. 

“We have many dedicated faculty and students whose individual efforts have led to amazing work throughout the world,” Martin said. “My goal is to better coordinate the great work that’s happening in all of our schools.”

A native of Canada, Martin obtained his medical degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and completed his residency training in occupational medicine at the University of Alberta. He joined the WVU faculty in 1999. A specialist in occupational allergic disorders, metal toxicology and occupational cancer, his interests include training medical students, practicing physicians and residents in public health. He is board certified in occupational medicine in both the United States and Canada.

Martin’s new assignment is a part-time position that he will occupy in addition to his current responsibilities.

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 04-20-11