WVSOM names new dean

Jackson Newspapers
Jackson Newspapers

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) has announced Linda Boyd, D.O., as the school’s new vice president for academic affairs and dean.

She will begin working at WVSOM on June 21, but her duties as dean will start July 1 with the retirement of current dean Craig Boisvert, D.O., FACOFP, who has served at WVSOM for more than 33 years.

“It is hard for any team to change leaders, and especially when the prior dean is as well known and loved as Dr. Boisvert. I will ask the team to accept that I am a different person, though I am sure I am in some ways similar. I made great and lasting relationships with faculty, staff, and administrators at my prior schools, many of whom I am still friends and in contact with. I am confident the same will happen at WVSOM,” Boyd said.

Like Boisvert, Boyd brings to the position 33 years of academic experience as a family medicine clinical educator and medical school administrator, with a record of excellence in education, funded research, and course administration.

Her nearly eight years as senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) in Stratford, N.J., have given her experience leading a medical school. In her role, Boyd was responsible for all divisions that deal with students and education, including curriculum, student affairs, admissions, assessment, advising, faculty development, diversity grants, accreditation, clinical education, clinical skills, simulation, the registrar’s office, and continuing medical education.

“The main draw to being dean for me is to set a vision for the school and to align the budget and resources to realize that vision,” she said. “Working with people and guiding them to do their best is rewarding.”

Boyd hopes to develop a vision for WVSOM within her first year as dean.

“My immediate goal is to learn the details of the school and meet the people who work at WVSOM so I can understand the strengths and talents available. By the end of my first six months, I would like to have a clear vision of where we can take the school and to have a plan in place no later than the end of my first year,” she said.

After joining RowanSOM in 2013, Boyd helped the school transition from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine — where she received her medical degree in 1984 — to Rowan University. In addition to the transition, she helped increased the school’s class size and worked toward creating an additional medical school location, which is currently pending approval. She also spearheaded a comprehensive curriculum renewal, developed a simulation center, and significantly increased clinical training sites.

Boyd said she is confident that her leadership experience will help move WVSOM ahead and she is eager for the opportunity to make an impact on the school.

“My greatest strengths are in creating and implementing programs through clear vision, recruitment of excellent talent, team building, and alignment of strategic priorities,” she said.

Her leadership skills have been developed through training at the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine for Women and the Physicians in Management courses through the American College of Physician Executives. She also has participated in the Senior Leadership Development Program sponsored by the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and was recognized by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, which selected her as a commissioner in 2019.

WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., said Boyd comes to WVSOM with extensive academic experience as a dean, as well as a distinguished career as an osteopathic physician, educator, and administrator.

“The entire school is excited that Dr. Boyd will be our next dean,” he said. “We look forward to all that Dr. Boyd will accomplish in this next chapter of WVSOM’s story.”

Boyd completed a rotating osteopathic internship and a family medicine residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. She is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has remained clinically active throughout her career, including work in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Her interests in teaching and research include evidence-based medicine, patient education, burnout/resilience, and functional medicine. Her passion is to create a medical school environment and curriculum that allows students to excel while maintaining wellness.

Boyd said that for years she has watched young, smart, altruistic, and caring medical students become burned out, depressed, and disillusioned by the demands of medical school.

“We must do better,” she said. “We need to provide support, care, and mentorship along the way as well as teaching them how to maintain balance, health, and wellness throughout their training. It is also important to build in breaks in the schedule to allow students to decompress, rest and reinvigorate themselves periodically so they can maintain the rigorous training. I tell students, ‘I can’t make medical school easy, but I can make it kinder and gentler.’”