WVSOM staff to present keynote at West Virginia Rural Health Conference

Three employees of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) will deliver the keynote address at the 2020 West Virginia Rural Health Conference. The event, which is hosted annually by the West Virginia Rural Health Association, will take place virtually this year on Oct. 14-15.

Drema Mace, Ph.D., WVSOM’s vice president for community engagement and development; Courtney Hereford, CRCH assistant director; and Julian Levine, outreach director for WVSOM’s Clingman Center for Community Engagement, will present a session on “COVID-19: A Rural Health Community Engaged Response” on the first day of the conference.

The session will provide an overview of Greenbrier County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was coordinated without fragmentation or duplication of services. It will illustrate how best practices for community engagement and infrastructure building allowed a rural county to successfully serve the needs of communities during an unprecedented public health crisis.

Mace said the West Virginia Rural Health Conference is the premier conference in the state for sharing best practices, networking with colleagues and developing partnerships to improve the health of West Virginians.

“It is significant that we were asked to speak about community engagement and our work to build rural community infrastructure, which is so important in this unprecedented time during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mace said. “Our presentation will help to inform the work of public health organizations statewide and nationally. It’s always our goal at the CRCH to work with communities to develop comprehensive strategies for health improvement.”

Another WVSOM employee will participate in a session that provides an overview of the proposed three-year plan for West Virginians for education, training, development and retention of behavioral health professionals. Jenna Hinkle, a CRCH education specialist, will co-present “Growing and Strengthening the Behavioral Health Workforce in West Virginia” on Oct. 14.

Hinkle’s report is the culmination of two years of collaborative work among 11 institutions of higher learning in West Virginia, Mace said. The project was supported by the State Opioid Response Program within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health.

Mace and Hereford are among the West Virginia Rural Health Association’s board members for 2020, as are Robert Foster, D.O., WVSOM’s assistant dean for osteopathic medical education, and Janet Hinton, the school’s director of rural outreach.

Additionally, WVSOM faculty and students are involved in 11 poster presentations and one podium presentation at the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is “West Virginia’s Resilience: Innovation in Meeting Rural Challenges.” Those who wish to view the program or register may do so at wvrha.org/2020-conference-registration.

Date Added: 
Tuesday, October 13, 2020