Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
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The school was founded in 1977 with funding from the federal government, which also provided for a medical school at East Tennessee State University at the same time in order to address the severe shortage of physicians in central and southern Appalachia. The school is named for the late Joan C. Edwards the largest private contributor to the university in modern history.
The school describes itself as "non-traditional" in that it is not associated with a major research and referral hospital, and students do not take classes in a segregated single building separate from the university. Rather, its aims to educate students using the existing resources of the community and the university to the greatest extent possible. First year students mainly attend classes on-campus in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center (Marshall University), while second year classes are held at the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center (opened in 2007) on the site of the former Fairfield Stadium near Cabell Huntington Hospital where the nationally recognized Forensic Science Program is also located. Both years take anatomy classes and use library resources at the Robert W. Coon Medical Education Building, located seven miles from campus at the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) Medical Center. Third and fourth year rotations are conducted mainly at the V.A. Medical Center, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary's Medical Center, and the Marshall University Rural Health Clinic in Chapmanville, West Virginia. Students are required to include at least twelve weeks of work in rural southern West Virginia among their two years of rotations. The primary focus of the school is on primary care physicians.
The school also offers a Master's and Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences, and offers residencies in 12 specialties.
Admissions are limited to West Virginia residents or have a "demonstrated relationship" with the state, such as being the child of an alumnus.