Rural Physician Service Program

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The Rural Physician Service Program is a program that incentivizes West Virginia medical students to remain in West Virginia to practice. Students who are selected will receive a monetary award in the amount of $22,000. In exchange for the award, students agree to practice at an eligible service site in an area of need within WV for one year for every year they receive the award. In addition, students receive enhanced rural health training during medical school through the Rural Health Initiative programing.


To be eligible for the award, students must:

Be accepted or enrolled at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM).
Possess and maintain a minimum GPA of 80.
Be willing and able to participate in WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) Program.
Be willing and able to complete 12 weeks of rural rotations within WV during 3rd & 4th year.
Not be in default of any pervious student loan.
Maintain a good professional standing.

Service Obligation

Students who are awarded service program funding must sign a contract and practice full-time (40+ hours per week) for a minimum of one year at an eligible site. Students are responsible for locating a practice site and must agree to provide medical services to West Virginia Medicaid and CHIP recipients in a needy area of the state. Penalty for not fulfilling the service obligation is repayment of the scholarship with interest.

Eligible sites include any specialty and any site located within the shortage areas indicated. Additionally, participants may practice any of the following primary care or shortage specialties at any site anywhere in West Virginia:

  • Addiction Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Practice
  • General Internal Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Geriatrics
  • Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • OB/GYN
  • Pediatrics
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Psychiatry (includes Addiction, Child & Adolescent, and Geriatric)

Rural Health Initiative (RHI) Involvement

Rural Physician Service Program Students may complete 3rd/4th year rotations at any Statewide Campus base site as long as the rural rotation requirement can be met. After joining the service program, recipients are expected to participate in RHI programming each year of medical school in order to better prepare students to practice in rural West Virginia. Recipients can expect two mandatory enrichment activities during first and second year, as well as six to eight required events during year three of medical school. Travel/lodging is paid for required RHI events when applicable. RHI works with Statewide Campus when scheduling events. These enrichment activities primarily work to further enhance the rural primary care curriculum that WVSOM provides by exploring industry health issues in West Virginia. 

2024 Eligible Sites:

Barbour County

Boone County

Braxton County

Calhoun County

Clay County

Doddridge County

Fayette County

Gilmer County

Grant County

Greenbrier County

Hampshire County

Hancock County

Grant District

Hardy County

Harrison County

Jackson County

Kanawha County (All areas except Charleston)

Lewis County

Lincoln County

Logan County

Marshall County

Mason County

McDowell County

Mercer County

Mineral County

Mingo County

Monongalia County

Morgan County

Nicholas County

Pendleton County

Pleasants County

Pocahontas County

Preston County

Raleigh County (All areas except Beckley)

Randolph County

Ritchie County

Roane County

Summers County

Taylor County

Tucker County

Tyler County

Upshur County

Wayne County

Webster County

Wetzel County

Wirt County

Wyoming County

*Contact Rebecca Thacker for questions on eligible sites 304.647.6298

Submission Guidelines:

Send to:

Rebecca Thacker


400 Lee Street North

Lewisburg, WV 24901

The Rural Physician Service Program funds are awarded through a competitive process, so please provide complete information.

In summary, the following materials are part of the application:

  • Rural Physician Service Program Student Application
  • Letters of Recommendation (x2)
  • Personal Statement Current CV

RHI is a program of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. This program is presented with financial assistance as a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.