Health sciences students chosen for competitive service program awards

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017
  Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713, or Megan Archer, University Relations Specialist, University Communications, 304-696-3916

Health sciences students chosen for competitive service program awards

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Five Marshall University students have been selected to receive competitive awards ranging from $15,000-$30,000 from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC) as part of a program designed to help keep health professionals in the Mountain State.

The West Virginia Health Sciences Service Program, available to graduating physicians, dentists, nurse educators, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical therapists, physician assistants, clinical psychologists and clinical social workers, requires participants to fulfill a service obligation. The program allocates approximately 15 awards each academic year to students in the state’s higher education system.

The service obligation is two years of full-time or four years of half-time practice.

Marshall University students chosen this year to receive awards are:

  • Jenna K. Barbour, a fourth-year Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine student from Kenova;
  • Christopher A. Lawhon, a third-year Marshall University School of Physical Therapy student from Huntington;
  • Shane P. Lightle, a senior social work student from Barboursville;
  • James P. Kincaid, a fourth-year Marshall University School of Pharmacy student from Danese; and
  • Brandon S. Merritt, a fourth-year Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine student from Charleston.

"It is imperative we retain the best and brightest health care professional students like Chris and others to stay in West Virginia to practice,” said Scott Davis, P.T., M.S.,  Ed.D., chair and professor at the university’s School of Physical Therapy. “This program is helping to defray the cost of professional health care education and incentivizing students to stay in state after graduation.”

The HEPC added pharmacy to its list of health care providers eligible for the program in 2014, a move applauded by School of Pharmacy Interim Dean Brian Gallagher, R.Ph., J.D.

“I’d like to thank Senator Robert Plymale and others in the legislature for having the foresight to enact this key program to keep bright and dedicated young health professionals in our state serving our citizens,” Gallagher said.

Students must secure employment or residency placements in the state of West Virginia to receive the awards.

Program details and application information are available at:


Date Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2017