New scholarship for Marshall medical students promotes healthy lifestyles

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A newly established scholarship at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine by James W. Gigantelli, M.D., and his wife, Lori, reflects their dedication to wellness of both body and mind, as well as values committed to making beneficial choices in diet, exercise and lifestyle.

The Gigantellis relocated in 2019 from Nebraska with their youngest daughter when James Gigantelli was appointed chair of the department of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine. He is a fellowship-trained, board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in oculofacial plastic surgery and leads a growing scope of ophthalmology services within Marshall Health in both Huntington and Charleston. Lori Gigantelli is a dietitian, an avid runner, a member of several local running groups and practices yoga. For the past 20 years, she raised their children while keeping health and wellness at the forefront of family life. She was previously engaged in a variety of volunteer organizations, including Live Well Omaha Kids and the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, while promoting several public health platforms. Her wellness philosophy embraces a personalized balance of nutrition, physical activity and spiritual health.

“The demands placed on medical students and physicians are rigorous,” James Gigantelli said. “Knowing early in your medical journey how to balance all of the factors impacting your mental and physical wellbeing will benefit your ability to study and practice medicine.”

The Gigantellis established a scholarship through the school’s “Adopt a Medical Student” program, through which a donor “adopts” and supports a student throughout the duration of their four years in medical school.

“Jim and I welcome the opportunity to sustain a medical student by reducing their educational debt and becoming a source of support throughout their four years in medical school,” Lori Gigantelli said. “We are thrilled this scholarship opportunity will extend us further into the Marshall family.”

The Gigantelli Family Scholarship is designated for an entering medical student who understands the value of a lifelong commitment to beneficial health choices, including diet, exercise and lifestyle. First preference is given to students with an expressed desire to effect disease prevention and intervention through nutrition. The award is renewable up to three additional years, pending normal academic progress.    

James Gigantelli says they enjoy the people and communities of West Virginia as well as the outdoor recreation that abounds in the region. They have four children, who reside in Nebraska, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

For more information or to make a gift to the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, please contact Linda Holmes, director of development and alumni affairs, by phone at 304-691-1711 or by e-mail at, or visit


Media Contact: Sheanna M. Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2021