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Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

Region: West Virginia Country: USA

The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is the medical school at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. It is one of three medical schools in the state.

The school was founded in 1977 with funding from the federal government, which also provided for a medical school at East Tennessee State University at the same time in order to address the severe shortage of physicians in central and southern Appalachia. The establishment of the school was fought for many years by West Virginia University. The school is named for the late Joan C. Edwards the largest private contributor to the university in modern history.

The school describes itself as "non-traditional" in that it is not associated with a major research and referral hospital, and students do not take classes in a segregated single building separate from the university. Rather, its aims to educate students using the existing resources of the community and the university to the greatest extent possible. First year students mainly attend classes on-campus in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center (Marshall University), while second year classes are held at the Erma Byrd Clinic near Cabell Huntington Hospital where the nationally recognized Forensic Science Program is also located.

Both years take anatomy classes and use library resources at the original Medical Education Building, located seven miles from campus at the VA Hospital. Third and fourth year rotations are conducted mainly at the VA, Cabell-Huntington Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, and the Marshall University Rural Health Clinic in Chapmanville, West Virginia. Students are required to include at least twelve weeks of work in rural southern West Virginia among their two years of rotations. The primary focus of the school is on primary care physicians.

The school also offers a Master's and Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences, and offers residencies in 12 specialties.

Unlike West Virginia University, admissions are limited to West Virginia residents or have a "demonstrated relationship" with the state, such as being the child of an alumni.

About the JCESOM
Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a state-supported, community-based medical school established in 1977. Our faculty and administration are committed to providing high quality Medical Education and Residency Training emphasizing primary care at a relatively modest cost and with a great deal of self-reliance and community support. We specialize in rural health issues as expressed in special efforts to recruit students from rural West Virginia and place graduates in clinical practice in rural areas. Clinical and basic research is focused also on health issues related to rural populations.

The Biomedical Sciences Center of Excellence in Research and Graduate Education and Forensic Science Programs offer students nationally competitive and regionally relevant graduate education.

Consistency in mission and innovation in execution characterize the medical school's history. Its small size and community integrated structure have helped make the school uncommonly responsive to the region's educational and health-care needs. Marshall quickly began building a reputation for effective, strikingly innovative programs geared toward the challenges of rural primary care. Through the school's network of rural clinical sites, students gained first-hand knowledge of rural health issues.

Over the years, Marshall has carefully but steadily implemented curricular changes designed to produce more and better qualified physicians entering the primary care specialties. Marshall has always ranked high in the percentage of graduates entering primary care. Not surprisingly, Marshall consistently has been honored through the Family Practice Percentage Awards program of the American Academy of Family Physicians: the school has one bronze and three silver awards.

Significant improvements have been made in the research sector. Through strong interdisciplinary effort in the basic sciences, the medical school in 1990 received a National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant that has brought approximately $5 million to Marshall. This allowed the school to develop a core molecular biology facility for research. In 1993, the biomedical sciences program was named Marshall University's second Center of Excellence. In 1996, it was one of the three graduate programs statewide selected as Programs of Excellence.

New facilities, a new research building at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and the new Medical Center Complex have greatly increased Marshall's efficiency and optimized patient care and clinical education.

The new medical center complex positions the School of Medicine well for the next century, according to Interim Dean Robert C. Nerhood, M.D., "This center will allow us to provide better and expanded services to the people of our region, and to improve on our already very good educational and academic programs. It gives us the facilities to improve our outreach programs, particularly those to rural underserved areas. And it guarantees improved health and health care for the citizens of our region for the next century."

As vital as these new facilities are, they pale beside the unseen element of the Marshall advantage: the committed faculty whose members take very seriously the success of each individual student. Nowhere will you find a better faculty to student ratio or more dedicated faculty attention to the academic progress of students.

We hope you are interested in learning more about our fine school and will explore other pages for more information about our programs, faculty and alumni.

Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Degree Programs :


  • Master Degree
  • MD Anaesthesiology
  • MD Anatomy
  • MD Biochemistry
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Dermatology
  • MD Emergency Medicine
  • MD General Medicine
  • MD Microbiology
  • MD Paediatrics
  • MD Pathology
  • MD Pharmacology
  • MD Physiology
  • MD Psychiatry
  • MD Radiodiagnosis
  • MD Skin & V.D
  • MD TB & Chest Diseases
  • MS Anatomy
  • MS ENT
  • MS General Surgery
  • MS Ophthalmology
  • MS Orthopaedics
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • MD/PhD

Video Presentation

Marshall University: Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Graduation

The Marshal University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine recently graduated it's 30th class. It is also it's largest class to date. Medical students both receive their degrees and their doctoral hoods at the ceremony. MU President Stephen J. Kopp, Ph.D., was among the speakers, and conferred the students degrees.

The graduates were invested with their doctoral hoods by Robert B. Walker, M.D., vice-chancellor for health sciences for the Higher Education Policy Commission, and Sasha N. Zill, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and pathology.

As part of the ceremony, those who received their Ph.D. degrees this year in the Biomedical Sciences Program were recognized, and the med schools Alumni Association inducted Walker as an honorary alumnus

Contact Details

Address: 1600 Medical Center Drive Huntington, WV 25701


(304) 691-1700

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