Two graduate students in the WVU School of Public Health were named among the top 37 health professions students in West Virginia by the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health. The students were accepted into the West Virginia AHEC Rural Community Health Scholars Program.

Selected Scholars will come together from five institutions and thirteen disciplines across the state of West Virginia to refine their skill sets and positively impact the lives of West Virginians in rural and underserved communities. Master of Public Health candidates Marvina Jones and Kruti Pandya were among the students selected from WVU.

Scholars will develop an understanding of how to become leaders in their professions and communities, how to best implement healthcare services in rural or underserved areas, and work as an interprofessional team. Scholars also receive supplemental training and education from experts in rural healthcare, provide meaningful patient care in the field and gain hands-on experience.

Jones is focusing her MPH studies in Health Policy, Management and Leadership. The Beckley, WV, native holds a Master of Health Administration degree and is an Air Force Reserve Officer in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pandya - originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - is in the Biostastics major of the MPH program. She works with the School's Office of Health Services Research and has volunteered with the Finding Wellness program at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and the Clinic for Ambulatory Rehabilitation Research and Education at the University of Alberta, Canada.

The WV AHEC - Area Health Education Centers - program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. The AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local community health needs. WV AHEC addresses disparities in rural health and encourages cooperation between the community and the providers of rural health. 

The Rural Community Health Scholars Program brings together students from five institutions and 13 disciplines across the state to focus on interprofessional education through clinical, didactic and community-based lenses and emphasizes how each Scholar can create change and reshape the status quo for health care in their community.