New Chief Medical Officer At Highland Medical Center – Pt. 1

The Highland Medical Center has a new Chief Medical Officer, and they didn’t have to go very far to find her.

“I’m Dr. Jennifer E. Beverage, and I am the new Chief Medical Officer at Highland, so, doing some administrative things as well as seeing patients.”

“So I have lived in Pocahontas County the majority of my life –  went to school there, graduated from high school in Pocahontas, completed my undergraduate training with a Bachelor of Science degree from George Mason University in Fairfax. After that I attended medical school at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and then I completed a family medicine residency in Bridgeport, West Virginia. During that time you have supervised privileges, so you are seeing patients. That’s your time to really grow and learn the things that you need to learn. The focus there was to practice in rural locations, so got to work with lots of specialists – neurosurgeon pre-thoracic surgeons, OB, doing delivery pediatrics. We did some neonatal intensive care work, as well as then the multitude of adult women’s health care, and men’s specific health care.”

She continued, “And once I completed that I worked in Pocahontas County for about five years before I joined the Air Force. So I joined the Air Force as a doctor, and did some primary care, taking care of not only active duty members, but their families and retirees. I did deploy to an undisclosed location and practiced a very primitive type of medication. So basic radiographs and very limited amount of lab testing. And then when I returned, I specialized in something called a flight surgeon, which involves no surgery at all. And we do primary care and occupational health with lots of risk assessments of jobs –  making sure hearing protection is appropriate; food inspection, so we would go to the cafeterias and make sure that procedures are being followed appropriately and everyone’s wearing their hair nets and their refrigerator temperatures are storing the food correctly; as well as in clearing anybody who was on a flight status to actually get in aircraft and fly, whether it be the pilot, or for critical care team, you have nurses and doctors as part of that to, you know, make sure that they’re okay, from a flight status to fly; and then something called a loadmaster, to help load everything onto the aircraft to make sure that the weight is appropriate.”

“And because of the moving around, decided to transfer from active duty to the West Virginia Air National Guard where I’m still a flight surgeon for the flying unit out of Charleston, West Virginia, and now I’m at Highland County, as the Chief Medical Officer.”

I asked Dr Beverage what brought her back to the area.

“My husband and my two kids are still in Pocahontas County and in the school system, so I have a junior in high school currently and he definitely didn’t want to move, as well as my mother and brother and my in-laws are in the county. So I wanted to find something that was close to home and also understanding that, I know what life is like in the area to be further away from resources than a lot of places, and understand the community and the community needs. So it seemed like a perfect fit.”

She even has ties to us.

“ A funny backstory – when I was in high school, seems like a long time ago because we actually still have the cassettes to put in and push the record button, I was an anchor for Warrior News and routinely went to the radio station in Pocahontas County to do live broadcasting on Allegheny Mountain Radio.”

Stay tuned for more of my conversation with Dr Beverage.

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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