BrickStreet Foundation provides WVSOM students with generous scholarships

Nine West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine students became the recipients of a generous donation by the BrickStreet Foundation, which is affiliated with the BrickStreet insurance company.

The $600,000 donation will be awarded over a three-year period. While scholarship amounts varied for each recipient, this year's (2014-15) academic scholarships total $200,000, which should help cover tuition costs. This year's scholarship recipients were Taylor Simmerman, Breann Poling, Monique Oye, Jillian Teubert, Jennifer Meadows, Blaire Williams, Jasyn Blankenship, Justyn Blankenship and Jarrod Warren.

The donation comes as a result of the school's mission to educate students who will serve in primary care roles once they graduate — an ideal that BrickStreet leaders say is vital to the state.

"The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine has been a great asset to the community as they focus on primary care and rural medicine," said Greg Burton, president and CEO of BrickStreet. "The decision to contribute to WVSOM was simple as its mission and focus aligns with BrickStreet's philosophy of investing in the future of the state of West Virginia and across the region."

WVSOM President Michael Adelman, said the generosity of Mr. Burton and the BrickStreet Foundation is invaluable to the scholarship recipients.

"We are extremely thankful to Mr. Greg Burton and the BrickStreet Foundation for providing these scholarships. I know the students are more than thrilled to have this financial burden of attending medical school lifted," he said. "Additionally this proves that people recognize the extraordinary work WVSOM is doing to prepare our students to serve patients in underserved communities."

Second-year student Taylor Simmerman of Charleston, W.Va., was one of the first students to receive news that she had been awarded a scholarship. She will receive $20,000 a year to cover her in-state tuition for the remaining three years she's in school. She received the good news from her mom while on vacation.

"When my mom called and told me I received the scholarship I started crying. I think having debt as a medical student is a huge stress and burden to a lot of people and just finding out that someone cared enough to look out for me in that aspect was really amazing," she said.

Simmerman's relationship with BrickStreet began before she entered medical school. She completed an internship for the company in her junior year of undergraduate school, working in the medical management office. While at BrickStreet, she worked hand-in-hand with Randall Short, D.O., a WVSOM alumnus.

"I learned a lot at BrickStreet as an intern — about the health care system behind the scenes, how the insurance process works and how doctors can serve different roles other than just in a clinical setting," Simmerman said.

Burton said the partnership with WVSOM reinforces BrickStreet's commitment to support organizations that make a difference to neighbors and communities.

"The future of medicine is not only important from a workers' compensation standpoint, but also for general health and well-being. As such, there is no substitute for educating our future health care workers with the skill sets that will be vital to tomorrow's success," he said. "That's why we are proud to partner with WVSOM to invest in the future of our community."