Social Responsibility to State

As the state's land-grant university, WVU has a social responsibility to the entire state of West Virginia. In the School of Medicine, we have the social and political will to be involved in the health and wellbeing of every citizen of the state. We made a conscious decision, more than a decade ago, to broaden our commitment to this responsibility, and to mobilize our students, our faculty and our resources in service to our state.

Our preference is to act, not just talk.

But we do not act alone. The School of Medicine understands the importance of community ownership, shared decision making, and the power of community volunteers in meeting the needs of the people of West Virginia through community service.

A statewide approach presents a number of issues. Students and faculty must be physically present for extended periods in places at great distances from our campus in order to have a real impact on the health of the people who live in these areas. At the same time, we expect our students to meet and exceed the academic and clinical standards of our curriculum. Our three campuses – in Morgantown, Charleston and Martinsburg – and WVU's wide network of rural health training sites and adjunct faculty help us bring our work to all parts of the state.

West Virginia's Health Issues Set Our Priorities

West Virginia has long suffered from disparities in disease, injury, health behaviors and health status. Under-served populations in rural areas, and poor or elderly citizens in every community, often are alienated from the health care system or find it difficult to approach.

There are special needs in the state's vast rural areas: access to care, transportation, isolation and shortages of health professionals.

All of our community service initiatives are organized either to provide direct support to people impacted by one or another of these health disparities, or to empower people and communities to achieve lasting changes that will reduce or eradicate these health issues.

Our Mission to Serve

WVU realizes that its commitment to service will not succeed, and will not endure, unless it is an essential part of our daily life as an institution. Community and rural service is a part of every student's curriculum. We have found that this not only strengthens our ties to the communities we serve, but exposes students to opportunities they may never have considered.

The School of Medicine's efforts are coordinated with similar initiatives in the University's other health professions programs. The statewide Rural Health Education Program provides an infrastructure that allows service projects to be initiated in any part of the state, and for us to gather feedback on their effectiveness.

Projects and Programs

CARDIAC (Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities)

The CARDIAC Project is a chronic disease risk surveillance and intervention initiative designed to combat the unacceptably high prevalence of heart disease and diabetes in West Virginia.

Learn more about CARDIAC

HCOP (Health Careers Opportunity Program)

HCOP is an academic summer enrichment program that helps students obtain the skills, abilities and knowledge base to become successful.

Learn more about the HCOP

HSTA (Health Sciences & Technology Academy)

HSTA provides intensive academic enrichment emphasizing science and math for students from 9th through 12th grade, including laboratory experiences where students work with scientists and clinicians.

Learn more about the HSTA

MUSHROOM (Multidisciplinary Unsheltered Homeless Relief Outreach of Morgantown)

Beginning in May 2005, Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) embarked on a community outreach program to the unsheltered homeless in the greater Morgantown community. Modeled after the "Operation Safety Net" program in Pittsburgh, our FMIG program is affectionately known as MUSHROOM - Multidisciplinary UnSheltered Homeless Relief Outreach of Morgantown.

Learn more about MUSHROOM

Prevention Research Center

The West Virginia Prevention Research Center (WV PRC) is one of 37 Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These PRC's are housed in universities across the country and share a focus on public health in community settings. WV PRC researchers and specialists are committee to conducting culturally-appropriate research that benefits the health of the people of Appalachia. Our research focuses on examining the underlying behaviors and social conditions related to tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition.

Learn more about the Prevention Research Center

Rural Track Program

Despite a growing presence of rural community preceptors and an increased emphasis on rural primary care in medical school curricula nationally and in the state, some regions of West Virginia have limited access to healthcare. Our mission is to establish long-term relationships between our physicians and communities while providing a level of care previously unobtainable in the region.

Learn more about the Rural Track Program


WV Center for Excellence in Women's Health

West Virginia University Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences is proud to be one of only 20 designated National Centers of Excellence in Women's Health. As the flagship teaching, research, and clinical education institution, West Virginia University (WVU) is in a unique position to positively impact the health status of the women in West Virginia.

Learn more about the WV Center for Excellence in Women's Health

WV Healthy Start / HAPI Project

Services targeted to improve maternal well-being during pregnancy, postpartum and the interconceptional period.

Learn more about the WV Healthy Start / HAPI Project

WVRHEP (West Virginia Rural Health Education Partnerships)

The mission of the West Virginia Rural Health Education Partnerships is to achieve greater retention of West Virginia trained health science graduates in underserved rural West Virginia communities by creating partnerships of community, higher education, health care providers, and governmental bodies.

WVAHEC (West Virginia Area Health Education Centers)

The seamless integration of rural undergraduate health professions training programs with graduate training programs in primary care within rural underserved communities.