MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –  WVU Healthcare has awarded 25 West Virginia University School of Medicine students $560,000 in Mountaineer Medical Scholarships.

Since 2010, West Virginia University Hospitals and University Health Associates, managed jointly as WVU Healthcare, have provided substantial support to the WVU School of Medicine and its academic mission.

Dean Arthur J. Ross, III, M.D., M.B.A., felt the decision to use that money to provide financial aid to medical students was a logical choice.
“The funds have helped to make a significant impact upon our levels of student debt. In addition, as the current year admission statistics suggest, I believe that it has helped us in our recruitment of the best and the brightest students who choose to apply to our School,” Dr. Ross said.

The 2013-2014 academic year marks the second consecutive year the School of Medicine has awarded Mountaineer Medical Scholarships. Though 22 third- and fourth-year WVU medical students were awarded these scholarships, three additional scholarships went to entering first-year students, as well.

“The mission of WVU Healthcare is to improve the health of West Virginians,” Bruce McClymonds, WVU Hospitals president and CEO, said. “A critical element in enabling us to achieve that goal is to ensure that West Virginia has enough highly qualified physicians. Having scholarship funds available for medical students will ultimately help address the undersupply of physicians in many parts of the state.”

The level of debt facing new medical graduates nationwide is greater than ever before and can prevent bright and talented young physicians from practicing in underserved areas, such as rural West Virginia.

“Our students want to make a difference, and many of them want to practice in rural areas,” said Norman Ferrari, III, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of the WVU Department of Medical Education. “But the burden of debt, combined with the cost of starting a practice, makes it nearly impossible for a young doctor. So what do you do? You specialize. You join a larger practice. You go work in a more urban setting.”

In their first year of disbursement, the merit-based Mountaineer Medical scholarships alone brought down the total amount of educational loans borrowed by the WVU School of Medicine Class of 2013 by nearly 5 percent.

Each of the 25 scholarships was need-based, averaging $24,593 per student.
For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 09-24-13