Nation’s first designated rural surgery residency program earns initial accreditation

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A new joint rural surgery residency program at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Logan Regional Medical Center earned initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), making it the nation’s first officially designated, separately accredited rural residency training track program.

The new rural surgery program is sponsored by the Marshall Community Health Consortium, which is composed of the School of Medicine, Marshall Health, Cabell Huntington Hospital and Valley Health Systems, with Holzer Health Systems, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Logan Regional Medical Center serving as participating training sites. The new residency pioneers a training model designed to address specific benchmarks unique to surgeons practicing in a rural setting. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a shortage of between 23,100 and 31,600 general surgeons is expected by 2025.

“The achievement of the first ACGME rural designation is a significant move toward closing the surgical care gap for rural communities.” said Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., vice president and dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “I commend Dr. Paulette Wehner and the consortium for being proactive, innovative and taking a leading role in rural health. Our hope, of course, is that many of these new residents will choose to stay and practice in West Virginia after completing their rural surgery residency.”

The consortium partnered with Logan Regional Medical Center (LRMC), a 132-bed acute care facility in Logan County, West Virginia, to develop curriculum, recruit faculty and address the clinical and learning environment needs required to obtain accreditation.  As a rural program, the residency requires residents to spend at least 50% of their five-year program in Logan.

“Partnerships are essential to the success of a rural residency like this one,” said Paulette S. Wehner, M.D., vice dean of graduate medical education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “The symbiotic relationship we have formed with LRMC through this process will result in a dynamic, state-of-the-art training program unmatched to any other in the nation.” 

The rural surgery residency program will officially launch and welcome its first residents in July 2023. The ACGME, the national accrediting body for post-M.D. training programs in the United States, approved the program to accept three residents per year for a total of fifteen residents.  The program will participate in the 2023 National Residency Match Program (NRMP).

“We are fortunate to have the dynamic team of surgeons like Drs. Jodi Cisco-Goff and James Paugh in Logan to help us better define and meet the training needs of future rural surgeons,” said Program Director Farzad Amiri, M.D., F.A.C.S., a general surgeon and associate professor at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “I look forward to working with them to train the next generation of surgeons in West Virginia.”

 The School of Medicine received a $750,000 grant in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA 20-107) to support the planning and development of the training program.  

“We are truly thankful to Senators Manchin and Capito and our Congressional leaders for their continued support of HRSA rural residency program grants like the one we received,” Wehner said. “The HRSA grant gave us the ability to focus on planning the residency and addressing the accreditation requirements during the past year to become the nation’s first separately accredited rural program.”

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: Sheanna Spence, Director of External Affairs, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2022