Marshall University to establish new rural psychiatry residency program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A new grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) will support the planning and development of a four-year rural psychiatry residency program at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The two-year, $500,000 grant to the Marshall Community Health Consortium collaborative is one of 46 grants announced March 31 to plan and develop Teaching Health Center residency programs in community-based settings. The Marshall program will become the nation’s fourth separately accredited rural track program designation in general psychiatry. The consortium, composed of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall Health, Cabell Huntington Hospital and Valley Health, is West Virginia’s first recipient of the HRSA Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Planning and Development Grant.

“Residency training programs proactively address the shortage of rural physicians across our state and nation,” said Paulette S. Wehner, M.D., vice dean for graduate medical education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and principal investigator on the grant. “This grant enables us to develop a residency program that specifically trains psychiatrists to care for rural patients, with the goal that trainees stay in West Virginia to practice after they complete the program.” 

As part of separate rural accreditation designation requirements, the psychiatry residents must conduct at least 50% of their training at a rural site. The consortium will partner with Rivers Health (formerly Pleasant Valley Hospital), a member of Mountain Health Network, in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, located 42 miles north of Huntington. The consortium will work toward achieving initial accreditation in 2025 and welcoming its first residents in July 2026.

“Finding high quality mental health resources for patients in rural areas can be challenging,” said Kevin Yingling, R.Ph., M.D., president and CEO of Mountain Health Network. “We are pleased to work with the consortium to develop a new rural psychiatry residency program at Rivers Health to improve access to mental health providers for Mason and Jackson counties in West Virginia, as well as Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio.”

“We look forward to building upon the work of our Marshall psychiatry residency program in Huntington to train quality psychiatrists for our state and region,” said Suzanne Holroyd, M.D., professor and chair of psychiatry at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “This new residency opportunity will combine rural clinical experiences with Huntington-based training to ensure a well-rounded curriculum.”

This is the second HRSA grant received by the School of Medicine’s Office of Graduate Medical Education for rural residency planning. The school’s rural surgery residency program will welcome its first residents in July 2023. To learn more about residency programs at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, visit or call 304-691-1824. For news and information about the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, follow us on Twitter @MUSOMWV, like us on Facebook or visit


Media Contact: Michele McKnight, Marshall Health/Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 304-691-1713

Date Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2023