Press Releases

Thursday, May 31, 2018

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine graduate honored for commitment to rural health care

Parkersburg, W.Va. (May 31, 2018) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia (Highmark West Virginia) recently presented the fourth annual Farson-Smith-Earley Award to Lucas Hamrick, a 2018 graduate of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), during the WVSOM commencement ceremonies in Lewisburg.

"Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is pleased to partner with WVSOM in an effort to improve the accessibility and delivery of primary health care services in the rural areas of our state," said Jim Fawcett, president, Highmark West Virginia. "We commend Lucas for his decision to practice internal medicine – pediatrics in rural West Virginia after the completion of his residency, as well as serving as a rural health advocate for our state."

Hamrick, a resident of Logan County, will be serving his residency at Ruby Memorial Hospital. While a medical student at WVSOM, Hamrick distinguished himself as a strong advocate for rural health care issues in West Virginia. In addition to participating in WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative program, which prepares students to serve in rural areas of West Virginia, he was honored by the West Virginia Rural Health Association as the 2018 Outstanding Rural Health Student of the Year.

The award, which honors three former presidents of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in West Virginia, Thomas D. Farson, Gregory K. Smith and J. Fred Earley II, is presented annually to an outstanding WVSOM graduate who makes a commitment to practice medicine in a rural portion of West Virginia. Farson, Smith and Earley served as presidents of Blue Cross Blue Shield from 1973 to 1995, 1995 to 2009 and 2009 to 2016, respectively.

The annual recipient receives a permanent honorary plaque at the WVSOM campus and a $2,000 stipend.


Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 300,000 members through the company's health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional individuals through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia holds the largest share of the commercial market, and more West Virginians carry a Blue Cross Blue Shield card than any other insurance carrier in the state. With offices in in Parkersburg, Charleston, and Wheeling, it employs more than 700 people. Highmark West Virginia is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Kristy Cramlet
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia