WVSOM receives accreditation for new master’s program

WVSOM, January 22

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) will expand its degree portfolio to offer a new Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree program.

The new degree — which received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission on Jan. 12 — is a two-semester, nine-month program. It includes a core of biomedical sciences courses designed to prepare students for advanced study in any health profession, as well as a health sciences thread that introduces students to the principles of community health and the importance of diet and physical activity for health maintenance and the prevention and treatment of some chronic diseases. 

Timothy Garrow, Ph.D., WVSOM’s founding associate dean of graduate programs, said the rollout of the degree program is the result of a year’s worth of work. 

“It’s been exciting to work with like-minded faculty, administrators and staff to develop a novel M.S. degree in biomedical sciences that includes training in the food, nutrition, public health and exercise sciences so that future health care professionals are well equipped to help prevent or better manage the most common chronic medical conditions in the U.S.,” he said. 

The office will recruit students for its inaugural class that will begin in the fall. 

In addition to core biomedical science courses such as cell biology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, and human anatomy and physiology, the health sciences thread introduces students to the topics of community and public health, nutrition and food science, medical nutrition therapy, and physiological adaptations to exercise. 

Linda Boyd, D.O., vice president for academic affairs and dean and chief academic officer, said the program is an example of WVSOM’s effort to expand interest in health care careers. 

“At WVSOM, we have mastered the way in which we deliver a medical education. Being able to also offer a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences allows us to create a larger pool of qualified applicants to go on to complete their medical training. West Virginia needs more doctors, and this is another way to meet our mission.”

WVSOM’s graduate program will place an emphasis on lifestyle and chronic disease prevention — an issue of value to the state of West Virginia, which has some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the nation — by teaching the science behind those issues. The medical school’s existing Culinary Medicine and Exercise is Medicine courses allow students to take a closer look at health maintenance and wellness through nutrition, dietary patterns and exercise. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to give physicians the confidence to provide nutrition and physical activity advice to their patients. 

Visit www.wvsom.edu/msbs for more information about the master’s degree program.

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