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WVSOM’s Smith-Kelly receives statewide ‘40 Under 40’ honor

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LEWISBURG, W.Va. – Jessica Smith-Kelly, D.O., an associate professor at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), was a recipient of the “Generation Next: 40 Under 40” award by The State Journal, a West Virginia news publication.

Jessica Smith-Kelly

The publication’s Generation Next program pays tribute to young professionals who work to make the Mountain State a better place to live, raise families and conduct business. Smith-Kelly was recognized during a June 15 awards ceremony at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont, W.Va.

“I am truly humbled to be honored with this award,” Smith-Kelly said. “I love teaching and the opportunity to help educate future osteopathic physicians. I go to work every day with the goal of trying to be the best person and doctor I can be while helping to teach students to do the same.”

Smith-Kelly teaches in the school’s Department of Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP), taking a lead role in educating students to diagnose and treat patients using osteopathic manipulative medicine. In addition to her academic role, Smith-Kelly has a clinical practice at the Robert C. Byrd Clinic in Lewisburg, W.Va., where she practices internal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine and supervises resident physicians.

“I’m very passionate about the fact that one can use their hands to bring about health and healing in someone’s life. Being able to help someone realize their potential and develop these skills is even more amazing,” she said.

Smith-Kelly always knew she wanted to be a doctor — when she was young, she watched medical shows on TV rather than cartoons — but she didn’t always know she would enjoy being an educator.

“Medicine was always where I knew I wanted to be,” she said. “If you asked me if I wanted to be a teacher, I would have said absolutely not. It wasn’t until I was an OPP graduate teaching assistant that I realized how rewarding being an educator could be. Seeing that lightbulb go off in students’ heads when they finally understand a difficult concept or are able to palpate something they couldn’t feel just weeks ago is an amazing feeling.”

She received a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from WVSOM in 2012 and completed an internal medicine residency from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, Ore., in 2015 and an osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine plus-one residency at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in Ronceverte, W.Va., in 2016. Smith-Kelly joined WVSOM’s faculty in July 2016.

Although Smith-Kelly isn’t a West Virginia native, she now considers the state her home. She is a Greenbrier County representative on the Board of Directors of the Family Refuge Center, a community-based domestic violence project that serves West Virginia’s Greenbrier, Monroe and Pocahontas counties.

“I fell in love with the state during my time in medical school, and I felt a strong pull to come back. I’ve always been drawn to the mountains and I love the outdoors. West Virginia is a hidden gem that offers that and so much more. I’ve never been a big city person and I love the slow, steady pace of the state,” she said. “I love knowing that I’m able to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”

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WVSOM is a national leader in educating osteopathic physicians for primary care medicine in rural areas. Visit WVSOM online at www.wvsom.edu.