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HUNTINGTON — A virtual orientation program June 15-30 has kicked off the next phase of training for 100 incoming resident physicians and fellows at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Set to officially begin training Wednesday, July 1, Marshall’s newest cohort of trainees are from 59 medical schools across 14 counties. Thirty-two are medical alumni from two of West Virginia’s medical schools. Thirty-two percent are women and 68% are men.

Advanced physician training programs range from one to five years for residencies to one to four additional years beyond residency for fellowships. The hands-on experiences achieved through this learning environment help to ensure trainees are prepared to enter private practice and/or academic medicine.

“I am always proud to say that we have the honor of teaching these medical school graduates how to become competent, caring physicians,” said Paulette S. Wehner, M.D., vice dean of graduate medical education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, in a news release. “The training they receive will help guide their career path. Of course, we are always hopeful that, when finished, many will stay within the state and use their exceptional training to serve the patients of West Virginia.”

Participating in a variety of virtual training experiences via Zoom and Microsoft Teams, the modified orientation format helps onboard the new trainees while maintaining appropriate social distancing requirements. For the safety of patients, faculty and staff, all incoming trainees were required to be tested for COVID-19 as part of the pre-training physical.

Dan and Sarah Miles also donated 3D-printed face shields for the incoming residents, which were provided in the trainees’ welcome packets, along with additional personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Orientation has been challenging this year, with most orientation activities done in a virtual format,” Wehner said. “From Human Resources and IT to our hospital partners, everyone has really done a terrific job working together to help us transition a variety of in-person activities online. The individual program directors have done an exceptional job welcoming their new cohorts, and everyone is anxious to begin.”

With the addition of six new fellowship programs in addiction medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric medicine, geriatric psychiatry and pulmonary/critical care welcoming their first fellows this year, the total number of residents training at Marshall this year is up 5%. Marshall’s School of Medicine has 236 total trainees across 22 programs, including 10 residencies and 12 fellowships. The largest program is internal medicine with 65 total residents.