West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

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West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine logo.gif
Established 1974
Type Public
Dean Lorenzo Pence, D.O.
Academic staff
Students 778
Location Lewisburg, West Virginia,
 United States

37°48′21″N 80°26′14″W / 37.8058°N 80.4373°W / 37.8058; -80.4373Coordinates: 37°48′21″N 80°26′14″W / 37.8058°N 80.4373°W / 37.8058; -80.4373
Campus Rural
Website West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Lewisburg, West Virginia, United States, is a public free-standing and independent medical school. The mission of the school is to educate students from diverse backgrounds as lifelong learners and to prepare them for careers in osteopathic medicine with a focus on primary care and rural medicine although a significant percentage of graduates go on to practice in many of the medical specialties. It is one of three medical schools in West Virginia and the sole institution that grants the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. WVSOM has 778 students at present.[2]

According to U.S. News & World Report, medical students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine graduate with more debt than any other medical school in the United States.[3] Of the top ten schools that graduate physicians with the most debt, WVSOM is the only public school.[3] In 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked WVSOM program third for graduates entering into primary care specialties and as the eleventh best rural medicine program.[4][5]


Purchasing a facility once used as Greenbrier Military School (1812–1972), the Greenbrier College of Osteopathic Medicine began as a private school with a class of 36 students in 1974. Two years later, in 1976, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission brought the school under its umbrella, establishing it as a state-funded public institution now named the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. In 1978, WVSOM graduated its first class of 33 students.[2] Extensive renovations started in 1992 and continue into the present time, with construction just completed on a new 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m2) building that includes exam rooms and laboratory space. WVSOM has spent more than $38 million on construction and renovation projects while increasing from one building in 1974 to 12 campus facilities across its more than 50-acre (200,000 m2) campus, all of this was accomplished while maintaining a debt free financial status.[6][7]


WVSOM was founded on the principles of osteopathic medicine, a branch of medicine founded by frontiersman Andrew Taylor Still in the mid-to-late 19th century. The basic premise of osteopathic medicine is that a physician’s primary role is to facilitate the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. While originally designed as an improvement on the traditional medicine of 19th century America, osteopathic medicine became a reformation within the U.S. healthcare system while remaining distinct from other forms of medicine.[8] In addition to a medical education, students at WVSOM also learn holistic techniques and are trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), manual-based therapies used to relieve pain, restore range of motion and foster the body’s own ability to heal itself.[8] Medical school at WVSOM is a four-year program, with two years of training located at the Lewisburg-based campus and the final two years taking place off-campus during clinical rotations.[2] WVSOM uses human subject robots as part of its training. The lifelike robots breathe, cry, defecate, bleed, and are anatomically correct, allowing students to practice nearly every aspect of patient care, including checking vital signs, inserting a chest tube and performing CPR.


WVSOM’s current enrollment stands at 778 students, with out-of-state students composing the majority (557 out of state :221 in state). The median age is 27, and there are students from 46 states currently attending WVSOM. The male female ratio is roughly equal with 369 females and 409 males. WVSOM maintains a diverse ethnic community on campus, with 161 minority students. AACOMAS reports that 3,283 students applied for admission into WVSOM’s most recent class (Class of 2013).[2]


  1. ^ "West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine". U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d WVSOM at a Glance
  3. ^ a b Kelsey Sheehy (May 12, 2012). "10 Medical Schools That Lead to the Most Debt". US News & World Report. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Which schools turn out the most primary care residents?". US News & World Report. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Best Rural Medicine Programs". U.S. News & World Report. 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Christian Giggenbach (2008-01-03). "New WVSOM building on tap for ’09". The Register-Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  7. ^ The Associated Press (2008-01-04). "Osteopathic school to build $9.3 million facility". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  8. ^ a b About Osteopathic Medicine

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