Marshall rural psychiatry residency earns accreditation


A new collaborative, rural psychiatry residency between the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Rivers Health in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, earned initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). 

The new rural psychiatry 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, in collaboration with Holzer Health System, Logan Regional Medical Center, Rivers Health and St. Mary’s Medical Center. ACGME approved the four-year training program for four trainees per year with a full complement of 16 total residents once the program has been fully implemented. While the program will recruit trainees to begin as early as July 2024, it will participate in the nationwide matching program for medical student applicants to begin in July 2025. 

“Expansion of the psychiatrist workforce through targeted education in rural and underserved areas of West Virginia is a fundamental strategic initiative aimed at improving access to behavioral health services in the region and beyond,” said David Gozal, M.D., M.B.A., Ph.D. (Hon), vice president of Health Affairs at Marshall University and dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. 

Suzanne Holroyd, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, is director of the new rural residency program and Brady E. Kullen, D.O., assistant professor, will serve as associate program director.

“West Virginia and the Appalachian region have a significant lack of psychiatrists and other mental health providers,” Holroyd said. “We are excited that our rural psychiatry training program will bring psychiatric care to areas that are currently underserved.”  

The Marshall program is the third separately accredited rural track program designation in general psychiatry in the nation. As part of separate rural accreditation designation requirements, the psychiatry residents will conduct at least 50% of their training at a rural site.  This program includes training at the rural sites of Rivers Health in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Holzer Health Systems in Gallipolis, Ohio. The remainder of the residents’ training will occur at Marshall Health, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center and Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital, all in Huntington.

The Consortium received a $500,000 grant in April 2023 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA 23-015) to support the planning and development of the training program.  

“Marshall is committed to being a national leader in rural health,” said Paulette S. Wehner, M.D., vice dean of graduate medical education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the designated institutional officer for both sponsoring institutions. “Our rural training programs provide a solid foundation that result in recruitment and retention of physicians who are prepared to meet the unique health care needs of rural communities. The initial accreditation of the psychiatry residency program in Point Pleasant marks a significant milestone, and we anticipate that it will pave the way for additional programs in the region.”

The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the Consortium now host a combined 28 residency and fellowship programs, including a general psychiatry residency and fellowship programs in child and adolescent and geriatric psychiatry. To learn more about the rural psychiatry residency, visit For news and information about the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, follow us on Twitter @MUSOMWV, like us on Facebook or visit 


About the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a community-based medical school established in 1977. Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the School of Medicine trains physicians, scientists and other professionals to meet the unique health care needs of rural and underserved communities. Learn more at 

About Rivers Health
Rivers Health, formerly Pleasant Valley Hospital, is a 101-bed acute care hospital in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Established in 1959, Rivers Health provides inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department services; physician and primary care services; and rural health care clinic services to patients of Mason and Jackson counties, West Virginia, and Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio. Rivers Health is a member of Marshall Health Network, Inc., which includes Marshall Health physician practice; four hospitals: Cabell Huntington Hospital, a 303-bed teaching hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, a 393-bed teaching hospital, Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, a 72-bed pediatric specialty hospital within Cabell Huntington Hospital; and Rivers Health and the employed physician practices of the hospitals. Cabell Huntington Hospital is a teaching hospital for Marshall University Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing, while St. Mary’s Medical Center operates St. Mary’s Schools of Nursing, Respiratory Care and Medical Imaging. For more information, visit 




Media Contact

Michele McKnight
Marshall Health/Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

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