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West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine graduate honored for commitment to rural health care

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (May 26, 2017) — Today, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia President Jim Fawcett presented the third annual Farson-Smith-Earley Award to John Ford, a 2017 graduate of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), during the WVSOM commencement ceremonies in Lewisburg.

"Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is pleased to partner with WVSOM in an effort to improve the accessibility and delivery of primary health care services in the rural areas of our state," said Fawcett. "We commend John for his decision to practice family medicine in rural West Virginia after the completion of his residency, as well as serving as a rural health advocate for our state."

Ford, a resident of Greenbrier County, will be serving his residency at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, focusing on delivering primary care services to rural residents. While a medical student at WVSOM, Ford distinguished himself as a strong advocate for rural health care issues in West Virginia. In addition to participating in WVSOM's Rural Health Initiative, which prepares students to serve in rural areas of West Virginia, he also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Osteopathic Principles and Practice.

The award, which honors three former presidents of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in West Virginia, Thomas D. Farson, Gregory K. Smith, and J. Fred Earley II, is presented annually to an outstanding WVSOM graduate who makes a commitment to practice medicine in a rural portion of West Virginia. Farson, Smith, and Earley served as presidents of Blue Cross Blue Shield from 1973 to 1995, 1995 to 2009, and 2009 to 2016, respectively.

The annual recipient receives a permanent honorary plaque at the WVSOM campus and a $2,000 stipend.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 300,000 members through the company's health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia holds the largest share of the commercial market, and ranks number three in overall market share, behind two large national carriers. With offices in Parkersburg, Charleston and Wheeling, it employs nearly 700 people. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

For more information, contact:
Kristy Cramlet
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia
304-424-9888
kristy.cramlet@highmarkhealth.org