WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health awards dental student scholarships

Students receive financial award for commitment to stay in rural W.Va.



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Institute for Community and Rural Health has awarded two graduating students from the WVU School of Dentistry with scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year in exchange for their commitment to practice in the state after graduation.

The intent of the scholarship is to reduce financial debt and enable quality health professionals to practice in rural areas of the state. Recipients are required to practice in a part of West Virginia that is considered either medically underserved or a health professions shortage area.

“These students not only represent the top of their class but are committed to providing care to people living in rural areas of West Virginia,” Larry Rhodes, M.D., director of the Institute, said. “I look forward to following the progress and future endeavors of these students and feel sure they will be a source of pride for their school.”

Joshua Culver of Rosedale received $50,000 for committing to two years of practicing in a rural area of West Virginia.

“I want to provide dental care that changes the way people feel and think about themselves. In addition, I want to promote good oral health from the newborn to the geriatric patient,” Culver said. “I believe practicing in rural West Virginia will bring great professional and personal satisfaction. West Virginians are caring and selfless, always focusing on their families and communities. Personally providing quality dental care to these people would be a great pleasure.”

Erin Miller of Bruceton Mills also received $50,000 for her commitment to practice in rural West Virginia for two years.

“I was always taught never to judge a person. Some people assume that just because a person may be dressed a certain way or act a certain way that he or she is financially unstable or uneducated,” she said. “My family history consists of a long line of coal miners and farmers, many of whom are quickly judged because of their appearance and profession. However, I know these people are hard-working individuals who are educated and financially stable, and they deserve the same treatment and options as any other patient.”

“These types of scholarships enable us to keep highly skilled young dentists within our state to serve the oral health needs of our citizens,” David Felton, D.D.S., M.S., dean of the WVU School of Dentistry said. “Drs. Culver and Miller have been exceptional students at the WVU School of Dentistry, and we look forward to both of them providing exceptional dental care in the rural regions of the state.”  

Photo identifications (from left to right): Dr. David Felton, dean of the WVU School of Dentistry, Joshua Culver, Erin Miller and Dr. Larry Rhodes, director of the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health.