Physician, educator retires after nearly 50-year career in WVU School of Medicine

Physician, educator retires after nearly 50-year career in WVU School of Medicine

For John F. Brick, M.D., retirement is marked by celebration of a career dedicated to service to the state. Dr. Brick, J.F. Brick Endowed Chair of Neurology and associate dean of rural outreach in the School of Medicine, retired effective Jan. 29 after nearly 50 years at West Virginia University.

Brick, who grew up in Dunbar and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Medical Degree from WVU, spent his career improving access to healthcare for West Virginians.

“Dr. Brick has played a pivotal role in shaping our mission to serve patients across West Virginia,” Dr. Clay Marsh, chancellor and executive dean for WVU Health Sciences, said. “His dedication to increasing access to care for rural communities along with the leadership he has provided in the School of Medicine has helped to improve patient outcomes and train the next generation of health professionals.”

Following neurology residency training at WVU, Brick became an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology before completing a fellowship in the Section of Electroencephalography at the Mayo Clinic.

He later returned to West Virginia and WVU Health Sciences where he held numerous leadership and faculty positions within the School of Medicine.

“I wanted to stay here after I finished my training, and I felt like I had an obligation to try to help the people of the state,” Brick said. “I really had no interest in going anywhere else.

“West Virginia needs our help, and this place was built to help West Virginia. So, I wanted to participate.”

In 2014, he was named the J.F. Brick Endowed Chair of Neurology for the department and in 2018, the associate dean for rural outreach in the School of Medicine.

During his time at WVU, Brick helped to establish Mountaineer Doctor Television, alongside his late brother, Dr. Jim Brick, and served as the program’s co-director from 1992-1998. The federal grant-funded, state-wide telehealth network was pivotal in improving access to care for rural West Virginians and became the largest telemedicine network in the United States at one time. He also initiated the telestroke network with support from the state, providing stroke and neurology consultations to hospitals in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio.

Brick and his brother worked together to increase access to care through the opening of WVU clinics in Glenville and Summersville and a collaborative effort inspired by philanthropist Buck Harless to create the Brick Clinic in Gilbert. The brothers, along with former chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Dr. Judie Charlton and rotating students, would visit Gilbert monthly to serve the community. The establishment of a clinic in the eastern panhandle allowed Brick and his colleagues to provide support to area hospitals, serving as a precursor to the Health Sciences Eastern Campus.

His roles within the WVU Health System included vice president of medical staff affairs, chief of staff and director of the EEG laboratory, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors.

“One of my earliest memories was going to my family doctor’s office, who was a graduate of the two-year School of Medicine program, to get a Polio vaccine in the late 1950s,” Brick said. “I learned on that visit that a new medical school and university hospital was being built in some far-off place called Morgantown. It stuck! I admired my family doctor and wanted to be like him and take care of West Virginians. I have loved my job here.”

Throughout his career, he has served in an advisory role for multiple state organizations, including the West Virginia State Medical Association, Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee, West Virginia Stroke Advisory Committee and West Virginia License Advisory Board, to which he was appointed by then-Governor Joe Manchin. He has also served as a board examiner for the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology and American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Brick has given many national, regional and local presentations and published numerous abstracts and articles. His research and clinical interests have focused on epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and the provision of health services to underserved populations.

In 2022, he received the WVU Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Engagement which recognizes faculty members who have positively impacted the community through service, curiosity, respect, accountability or appreciation.

Reflecting on his career, Brick advises future students to find their passions.

“Follow your heart. Find something that you're really into. It could be pediatrics, O.B., research, surgery – it doesn't matter. Invest your time in it, and do everything you can, as you practice and learn, to improve the lives of West Virginians. It's a wonderful way to spend your career.”

The WVU community celebrated Brick’s career at a gathering in the Health Sciences Center on Jan. 29 which included words of congratulations from colleagues and University leadership.

In his retirement, Brick is hoping to be involved in medical education and projects to improve West Virginia’s health statistics.

View photos from Dr. Brick’s retirement celebration at the Health Sciences Center.