The West Virginia University School of Medicine has been recognized as one of the top10 schools of medicine in the country for rural medicine. WVU made the top10 list for the first time in U.S. News&World Reports 2009 edition ofAmericas Best Graduate Schools.

The rankings are based on ratings by medical school deans and senior faculty in the nations 125 accredited medical schools and 20 accredited schools of osteopathic medicine.

Thats what makes this recognition so meaningful,said Dr. John Prescott, WVU School of Medicine dean.Weve been a leader in rural medicine for many years. Now our colleagues across the country are acknowledging our achievements in education and service to the state.

School of Medicine students learn and care for patients in rural areas of West Virginia as part of the requirements for graduation. They work in partnerships with rural communities and with other health care providers in rural clinics across the state.

The reason were getting national recognition is because of the intentional way WVU embraces community service,said Hilda Heady, associate vice president for WVU rural health.Rural health training at WVU is about education and community service. Thats what helps our students and community partnerships to succeed.

Forty-eight percent of WVU School of Medicine graduates choose to practice in primary care areas, such as family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and pediatrics.

The number of physicians who practice in rural, underserved communities has increased by 200 percent in recent years.

Too often we tend to focus on our challenges without taking the time to mention and celebrate our achievements, WVU President Mike Garrison said.Thanks to the pioneering efforts of the School of Medicine, West Virginians throughout the state have access to excellent health care.

The U.S. News&World Report 2009 edition ofAmericas Best Graduate Schoolsis available in bookstores this week or online

For more information about the WVU School of Medicine,