The West Virginia University School of Public Health Occupational Medicine residency program has been reaccredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, making it one of 23 accredited programs in the nation. WVU’s program is the only one of its kind in the Appalachian region.
Accreditation of residency/fellowship programs by the ACGME is a voluntary process of evaluation and review performed by a non-governmental agency of peers. According to the ACGME, its goals are to evaluate, improve and publicly recognize graduate medical education programs and sponsoring institutions that are in substantial compliance with the standards of educational quality established by the ACGME.
“Given our program’s position and the unique needs of the areas we serve, this designation is important and provides affirmation of the exceptional training our expert faculty provide to our residents,” said Robert Gerbo, MD, associate professor and director of the Division of Occupational Medicine, which is also home to the region’s first and only Public Health and General Preventive Medicine residency program.
The School’s Division of Occupational Medicine was founded in 1988 through a grant from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and has grown one of the largest academic-based Occupational Medicine clinics in the U.S., attracting physicians from across the country and around the world.
To date, the residency program is just one of three programs to be funded by both NIOSH and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
“Our reaccreditation is an important milestone, underscoring the important role of occupational medicine in a state that has a very high burden of occupational illness and injury,” said Chris Martin, MD, MSc, director of the Occupational Medicine residency program and professor in the School of Public Health and School of Medicine. “I’m proud that our team not only earned this designation, but earned it without receiving any citations – a testament to our quality training programs.”
One of the hallmarks of the program is its robust clinical component.
“About 300 patients come through our clinic a month, which, for an academically-based occupational medicine clinic, is busy,” Dr. Martin said. “We see what practitioners in a typical occupational medicine setting would see – so our residents gain ‘real-world’ experience. The vast majority of our graduates take clinical positions – probably 90 percent – so this element of their training is invaluable.”
In addition to the clinical aspect of the program, residents benefit from a variety of preventive and workplace safety programs and rotations. For instance, through the School’s long-time partnership with NIOSH Morgantown, trainees participate in national-level field investigations and research.
“Occupational medicine is the interface between the working world and the medical world,” Martin said. “One of the beauties of occupational medicine is you can decide exactly what spectrum from a very wide variety of work you want to pursue. While most of our graduates assume clinical positions, our alumni are working in virtually every setting.”
Pictured top to bottom: Occupational Medicine (OM) Resident Rasika Thondukolam, MD, works with a patient in the WVU clinic; OM Resident Ryan Budwany, MD, evaluates a local firefighter. Roughly 90 percent of WVU’s Occupational Medicine residency program graduates take clinical positions.
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WVU School of Public Health