Wheeling Native Dr. Brian Caveney Steers Lab at Center of National Testing
WHEELING — When it comes to success in the medical field, look no further than the Caveney family of Wheeling.
First there is Dr. James Caveney, a renowned local orthodontist who was the first West Virginia University graduate and West Virginian to serve as president of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Then there are his sons, Scott and Brian, and his daughter, Susan. All three are graduates of WVU’s dental and medical schools.
Brian also holds a law degree from WVU, and a master’s in public health administration.
And if you’ve been watching Gov. Jim Justice’s daily addresses to West Virginia on the COVID-19 outbreak, you know that Dr. Brian Caveney has never forgotten his home state or the education he obtained here.
Caveney, 46, is chief medical officer and president of LabCorp Diagnostics in North Carolina. LabCorp and Caveney have been in the headlines as the company is a leading provider of COVID-19 testing during the current pandemic. The company ramped up production to meet the growing need for testing and now performs 60,000 to 65,000 tests per day.
After state officials approached LabCorp for testing, Gov. Jim Justice during a recent COVID-19 briefing, noted that Caveney is making sure West Virginia has the tests it needs for all nursing home facilities.
“It’s really an honor to be involved in this because most of the time people don’t think that much about labs,” Caveney said. “Because there is no actual treatment for COVID-19, it’s important to have good diagnostics.”
LabCorp has facilities in 60 countries, most of which are deeply dedicated to clinical research, Caveney noted.
He believes that public policies such as isolation and quarantining are effective and should be adhered to in order to flatten the curve.
“Ultimately a vaccine with billions of doses would be a solution once and for all. In the interim, a host of research is being done on a variety of different types of medications that can help at various stages of the disease. Some affect the virus and some your immune system.”
Ironically this is National Laboratory Professionals Week, something LabCorp has annually celebrated for its employees. Most of the time, lab techs don’t receive the recognition they deserve, Caveney observed.
“This was a big year … a bittersweet year. Our lab techs and scientists are heads down working in three shifts around the clock, 24-7,” Caveney said.
Caveney, who graduated from WVU with dual degrees in law and medicine, is the only medical doctor among LabCorp’s 65,000 lab techs and scientists, said his father Dr. Jim Caveney of Wheeling.
The younger Caveney said he has great admiration for WVU and its research. “I spent a lot of time in Morgantown earning degrees. WVU is doing great things. It is the crown jewel of the state,” he said,
West Virginia’s COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh, who also is vice president and executive dean for health sciences at WVU, and WVU President Gordon Gee expressed their gratitude for Caveney’s continued dedication to his home state. “Clay Marsh said he is changing our state, but he is working on 50 states,” Caveney’s father said.
Jim Caveney also said Brian has utilized every aspect of his WVU education in the positions he has held and foremost, in his current duties at LabCorp.
“He’s a good guy. He’s only in his 40s and has global responsibilities. Brian didn’t go to all of those other big schools. He graduated from WVU and has done very well,” according to his father.
After their son’s recent notoriety, Dr. Jim and Karen Caveney have received calls from people across the country that knew Brian when he was growing up. All have expressed their appreciation for Brian’s good works.
“I can see the lawyer in him. He gives good answers without any prompting. He is a medical doctor but he also covers all bases when he talks medicine,” his father observed. “He looks younger than his age and he is articulate.”
In law school at WVU, Caveney was the school’s second highest all-time grade winner, only surpassed by John W. Fisher II in 1967. Fisher went on to serve as dean of the WVU School of Law for more than four decades.
Caveney also won four out of five of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a law school graduate. Jim Caveney said he knew Brian had exceptional academic abilities when he completed work well beyond his year while in the second grade at St. Vincent de Paul School in Elm Grove.
Caveney previously served as chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; was chief clinical officer of Mosaic Health Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Cross NC for strategic investments in diversified health solutions businesses. Prior to joining Blue Cross NC, Caveney was a practicing physician and assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center and also provided consulting services for several companies in the Research Triangle Park region.
Caveney and his wife Erica have three sons, Brandon and twins, Aaron and Mark. Erica is an endocrinologist in the Durham, North Carolina area where they reside. Jim Caveney said his grandsons are “super sharp.”
Success in the medical field runs in the family. Caveney’s older brother, Dr. Scott Caveney, is the medical director at GlaxoSmithKline, also located in North Carolina. He also has numerous medical degrees from WVU.