LEWISBURG, W.Va. – Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-WV) visited the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) for the first time Wednesday to meet with student leaders and administration to learn about the school and the needs of osteopathic medical students.
The lawmaker introduced herself to a small group of about 25 guests, including members of the school’s Student Osteopathic Medical Association, Student Government Association, first- and second-year class leadership, as well as first-year students from West Virginia.
Miller said that during her time in office she has learned the importance of not just health care in the state, but rural health care.
“That is what has impressed me so much about you all — your focus on the entire body, the entire person and rural health care,” she told students.
She explained that economic development, including ensuring jobs don’t leave the state, is crucial to West Virginia’s well-being.
“It’s important to keep jobs in West Virginia, and I want you all to stay here. You are our future, and for too long we’ve let our brightest go somewhere else. So what I’m doing is trying my best to bring jobs home, bring investment home,” she said.
Students had the opportunity to ask the congresswoman questions regarding her views on issues such as telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of sufficient broadband for internet connectivity in rural areas.
“I am only as smart as everyone I know,” she said of the information that was shared in the discussion with students, and noted the importance of learning that many of the student guests were West Virginia residents who plan on remaining in the state to practice medicine.
“They are the leaders of tomorrow and what they’re learning is important,” she said. “They’re giving their lives to health care and the area, and that means so much.”
After the discussion, Miller toured a few of the campus’ facilities, including the school’s Student Center, which houses the Campus Store, O’Cafe, study areas and student recreational areas; the Center for Technology and Rural Medicine, which houses the main student classrooms for lecture-style learning; and the Clinical Evaluation Center, home to an innovative environment similar to clinical rooms where students gain patient-centered experiences with human-patient simulators or standardized patients who play the role of patients.
WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., said he is pleased when representatives can visit the medical school and interact with future physicians who will care for West Virginia’s residents.
“I am confident that when people visit WVSOM they will be wowed. Not just because we have a beautiful campus but because our medical students are passionate about rural medicine and eager to serve patients who are underserved,” he said. “We are grateful that Congresswoman Miller took the time to appreciate all that WVSOM has to offer — a hidden gem in the hills of West Virginia.”