Health Sciences Service Program makes awards to health profession students committed to practicing in West Virginia


Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) announced today that 14 outstanding health profession master/doctoral students from across the state are the newest recipients of Health Sciences Service Program awards, which are granted to students committed to practicing for at least two years in an underserved area of West Virginia.

“This program is a win-win for our students and our state,” said Paul Hill, the Commission’s Chancellor. “This year’s remarkable student recipients represent the next generation of health professionals who will fill the critical role of serving in West Virginia’s high-need areas.”

The Health Sciences Service Program, which was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 1995, has supported more than 175 health professionals who have given back to the state through their service.

Eligible students must be enrolled in the final year of a health profession program at a college or university in the state, training to become dentists, primary care doctors, physician assistants, family nurse practitioners, nurse educators, nurse midwives, pharmacists, physical therapists, doctoral level psychologists, or licensed independent clinical social workers.

This year’s awardees were selected based on academic excellence, their commitment to serving West Virginia, and a strong connection to underserved communities. The students will receive awards ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.

This year’s recipients are:

Dentistry

  • Leah Berkhouse from Spencer (West Virginia University)
  • Tyler Crowe from Princeton (West Virginia University)
  • Ariel Mooney from West Milford (West Virginia University)
  • Patrick Noland from Middleway (West Virginia University)

Medicine

  • Michael Bledsoe from Chapmanville (West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine)
  • Darby Mullen Ford from Logan (West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine)

Nursing

  • Dena Barker from Chapmanville (West Virginia University)
  • Emily Galeota from Morgantown (West Virginia University)
  • Angel Johnson from Cowen (Wheeling Jesuit University)
  • Heather Weaver from Meadowbrook (West Virginia University)

Physical Therapy

  • Rachel Biesecker from Gallipolis Ferry (West Virginia University)

Physician Assisting

  • Heather Eye from Porterwood (Alderson Broaddus University)

Psychology

  • Briana McElfish from Scott Depot (Marshall University)
  • Kelcey Perkins from South Point, Ohio (Marshall University)

The Health Sciences Service Program is administered by the Commission’s Division of Health Sciences.

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