Senior Leadership

James W. Nemitz, Ph.D.

President

Dr. James Nemitz, Ph.D.James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., became the seventh president of WVSOM in July 2018. He previously served as vice president for administration and external relations for eight years at WVSOM, where he was responsible for accreditation, institutional effectiveness and assessment, faculty development, the Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH), research and grants, special events, and media services. In this role he was also involved in governmental relations, strategic planning and policymaking. Dr. Nemitz served as the associate dean for preclinical education from 2004 to 2010, overseeing the first two years of the program.

He is a tenured professor of anatomy with more than 30 years of service at WVSOM.

He previously served as WVSOM’s gross anatomy course coordinator, director of the Office of Rural Recruitment and Retention, faculty representative to the WVSOM Board of Advisors and Board of Governors, and the Higher Education Policy Commission's State Advisory Council of Faculty of West Virginia.

He earned a doctorate degree in anatomy from the Medical College of Virginia and completed postdoctoral fellowships in neuroscience from both the Yale University School of Medicine and the Medical College of Virginia.

Dr. Nemitz completed a Health Policy Fellowship in 2017 through the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

He has served the osteopathic profession nationally through various committees with the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the American Osteopathic Association and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. He currently is an accreditation evaluator for the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

Linda Boyd, D.O.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean

Linda Boyd, D.O.Linda Boyd, D.O., became WVSOM’s vice president for academic affairs and dean in 2021. Bringing more than 30 years of experience in academic medicine, she is also a tenured professor of family medicine.

Dr. Boyd most recently worked at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, where she served as senior associate dean for academic affairs, supervising all aspects of the medical school academic program. Prior to that, Dr. Boyd worked at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga., as associate dean for regional campus coordination, where she developed and managed four regional campuses. She also worked at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., where she was heavily involved in teaching, research, patient care and administration.

Her passion is to build a medical school environment and curriculum that is “kinder and gentler” and allows students to maintain a level of balance throughout their rigorous training.

Dr. Boyd received a Bachelor of Science degree in distributed sciences from American University, and a Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of the New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine (now Rowan University). She completed a family medicine residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., and is board certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine. She completed two leadership fellowships, including Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine and the Senior Leadership Development Program of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

She has served the osteopathic profession as faculty for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and as program chair for several national osteopathic conferences, and is now a commissioner for the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

Larry Ware, M.B.A., C.P.A.

Vice President for Finance and Facilities

Larry Ware, M.B.A., C.P.A.Larry Ware serves as WVSOM’s vice president for finance and facilities.

A native of West Virginia, Ware earned an MBA degree from Regis University in Denver, Colo.

He has more than 20 years of financial and administrative experience in higher education.

Previously, he served as associate vice president for fiscal affairs at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, Calif., and as associate controller at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

Leslie W. Bicksler, MSW

Vice President Human Resources

Leslie W. Bicksler, MSWA native of Greenbrier County, W.Va., Leslie Bicksler understands the importance of cultivating people, organizations and communities to their full potential.

Prior to joining WVSOM's staff in 2005, she served as the director of human resources for a regional bank with locations in West Virginia and Virginia and as executive director of the United Way of the Greenbrier Valley.

Bicksler is an active member of the Greenbrier Valley community, including Rotary, PEO International, the Greenbrier Classic and the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce, for which she has served as president.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Centre College in Danville, Ky., and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

Edward Bridges, Ph.D.

Vice President for Administration & External Relations

Edward Bridges, Ph.D.Edward Bridges, Ph.D., began duties as vice president for administration and external relations in July 2018. In this role, Dr. Bridges is responsible for institutional accreditation, research, affiliated and sponsored programs, the Center for Rural and Community Health, external relations, government relations, media services, space allocation, special projects and strategic planning.

Dr. Bridges became the associate dean of preclinical education in 2016. He served as the chair of the biomedical sciences department for three years prior to being promoted to assistant dean of preclinical education in 2015.

Dr. Bridges earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry and a Master of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Alabama. He received a doctorate degree in pharmacology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Bridges has more than 18 years of administrative experience in both academia and the pharmaceutical industry and has served as a member of the WVSOM faculty since 2007. He is a tenured professor of pharmacology.

Drema Mace Hill, Ph.D.

Vice President for Community Engagement and Development

Drema Mace, Ph.D. Drema Mace Hill, Ph.D., is WVSOM’s vice president for community engagement and development.

Dr. Hill provides oversight and direction for the WVSOM Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH), the WVSOM Foundation, the WVSOM Alumni Association and the Tanzania Project. The CRCH is a resource center designed to improve the health and well-being of West Virginians through initiatives in which professionals and community members work together on research, education and outreach. The WVSOM Foundation is a nonprofit organization that accepts charitable gifts made to the school. The WVSOM Alumni Association provides educational opportunities for physicians and mid-levels, as well as being a resource for WVSOM alumni. The Tanzania Project is part of a global initiative to provide first-year medical students an international experience.

Dr. Hill has more than three decades of working in public health leadership positions for the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, the Tennessee Department of Health, Vanderbilt’s Nashville Health Management Foundation and Comprehensive Care Center and the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Health Office.

A native of West Virginia, Dr. Hill earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from West Virginia State University and a Master of Science degree in public service management from Cumberland University in Tennessee. Dr. Hill received a doctorate degree in human services with a specialization in health care administration from Capella University, utilizing Vanderbilt University’s Internal Review Board for dissertation.

Dr. Hill is a lifelong advocate for building small community infrastructure to support sustainable program implementation.

Jeffrey M. Shawver, J.D.

Vice President for Legal & Governmental Affairs and General Counsel

Jeffrey M. Shawver, J.D.Jeffrey M. Shawver is WVSOM’s vice president for legal and governmental affairs and general counsel. He also serves as a commissioner on the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission.

Prior to joining WVSOM, he served as the deputy general counsel to West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Previously, he served the State of West Virginia in the capacity of governor's privacy officer, special assistant to then-governor Joe Manchin III and assistant to the general counsel for the West Virginia secretary of state. Shawver has also worked as an associate attorney at the law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP in Charleston, W.Va.

A native of West Virginia, Shawver earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from West Virginia State University in 2004, graduating summa cum laude, and earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the West Virginia University College of Law in 2008, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was an editor of the West Virginia Law Review.

Shawver is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and has court admissions with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia. He is a member of the National Eagle Scout Association.