New Chief Medical Officer at Highland Medical Center – Part 3

Highland Medical Center’s new Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Beverage is a Doctor of Osteopathy, and in the final part of our conversation, she explained that further.

“There have been a lot of questions, because my title does say D.O after my name rather than M.D. So traditionally, I think a lot of people assume, Doctor equals M.D. or Medical Doctor. I am not a Medical Doctor, I’m a Doctor of Osteopathy. It is the same in that principle of an insurance, we are a doctor all the same, so it’s no effect on your insurance.”

“The training requirements for M.D. and D.O. are the same. So you have to have a four year undergraduate degree and meet the requirements of med school acceptance. Both programs are then four years of medical schools, and you go over all of the anatomy, physiology, pharmacology components – those are the same. But with osteopathy, you also learn osteopathic principles and practices. So it’s a little bit different approach to medicine, and we also then learn to do osteopathic manipulative treatment.

“So a lot of people will know some doctors who, you know, crack their back. I don’t necessarily only do that, but treatments that can help the body sort of heal itself. So, if you can help do some adjustments that relieves the back pain and then discuss, maybe some of the activities that caused the issue and help prevent the issue rather than just giving medications, that’s more of an osteopathic approach rather than M.D. or allopathic medicine. And not all osteopathic physicians continue to practice manipulation. A lot of D.O.’s are specialists, and they just opt not to do that and it’s also a time constraint, it does take a little extra time.”

“I do see patients of all ages, newborn through geriatrics and everything in between. I also offer a little bit of acupuncture treatment currently, just at the time using one type called a auricular therapy with French style acupuncture needles as an alternative for pain control, working on expanding that to a full body acupuncture.”

I asked what took her down that path.

“Growing up in Pocahontas County, we had more D.O.’s than M.D.’s. So Dr. Roland Sharp, was the first president of the osteopathic school in Lewisburg that I attended and he was a staple in the community for many many years, and that was sort of the model that I was used to. So, I didn’t know a difference, I just know that that’s what I wanted to do.”

“So, as I was researching medical schools and trying to make that decision of, you know, where to apply, I really understood more in depth about the differences between allopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine and I liked the features of a more holistic approach, and having that extra tool in my tool bag of osteopathic manipulative therapy. I had received it myself as a patient, and my family, and saw how successful it was, so that’s when I determined for sure that osteopathic medicine was a fit for me.”

I mentioned to her our connection to Dr. Sharp, with WDMT being named in his honor, and the autobiography we produced.

“I have a copy of that as well with a personalized note and signature from Dr Sharp, and he did present me with my white coat and hood me through. So during our first year of medical school there’s a white coat ceremony, so a doctor presents you with your first white coat, and then at graduation, he did hood me, and that honor is usually reserved for another practicing physician, so I think those are treasured memories that I’ll have forever.”

She concluded, “I’m glad to be back home and in the community –  ultimately this is, it’s a beautiful place to live, it’s very peaceful, and I’m definitely looking forward to the warm weather that’s head and the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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