WVU School of Medicine ranked 7th in U.S. News
for rural medicine

Primary Care, other WVU programs also receive high marks

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Medicine has been ranked higher than ever – at number seven – for rural medicine and placed in the top 50 for primary care in the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” 

The rankings are based on ratings by medical school deans and senior faculty in the nation’s 126 accredited medical schools and 20 accredited schools of osteopathic medicine. 

“Preparing students to meet the health needs of West Virginians is one of the very most important reasons why we are here," WVU School of Medicine Dean Arthur Ross, M.D., said. “There is an urgent need for more primary care physicians, and we’re honored to help meet that need.” 

School of Medicine students learn and care for patients in rural areas of West Virginia as part of the requirements for graduation. They work in partnerships with rural communities and with other healthcare providers in rural clinics across the state. WVU’s Eastern Division, based in Martinsburg, specializes in primary care and rural training.

WVU provides residency programs in all the primary care fields, including two in family medicine (one in Morgantown and one through the Eastern Division based in Harpers Ferry) and a combined internal medicine/pediatrics program, which also falls under the primary care umbrella.

“About 50 percent of WVU School of Medicine graduates choose to practice in primary care areas, such as family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and pediatrics,” Norman Ferrari, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, said. “The number of physicians who practice in rural, underserved communities has increased by 200 percent in recent years.”

"To be recognized as national leaders in rural health and primary care is emblematic of our vision of transforming lives and eliminating health disparities," said Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences. "This affirms the value of our partnerships in communities throughout the state that help us to educate not only medical students, but all of our health professions students."

Other schools and programs at WVU were ranked as well.

The WVU College of Law maintained a ranking within the top 100 law schools, a feat it achieved last year. The college shares the No. 95 spot with Marquette University, Michigan State University, St. John’s University and the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

“We are very proud to be recognized as a law school of the first rank,” said Joyce McConnell, dean of the WVU College of Law. “U.S. News and World Report rankings are just one of many sources of information students use when evaluating a law school.

“Recognition such as this is gratifying as it acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, alumni, and staff who work together to create a place of strength where fulfilling these goals is made possible.”

The School of Nursing ranked No. 99 out of nearly 500 schools of nursing ranked by the publication. The College of Engineering and Mineral Resources moved up to the No. 102 spot and the rehabilitation counseling program in the College of Human Resources and Education moved up to No. 30.

Previous U.S. News ranked programs include pharmacy at 32, occupational therapy at 102, physical therapy at 69, clinical psychology at 33, rehabilitation counseling at 33, speech-language pathology at 72, psychology at 74, social work at 82, public affairs at 90 and fine arts at 93.

The publication bases its rankings on surveys of experts and statistical indicators.

The U.S. News and World Report 2012 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools” will be available in bookstores April 5, or online at www.usnews.com.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
alj/jb: 03-15-11