WVSOM employees join Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) administrators and staff have signed on to take part in this year’s installment of an annual conference that showcases successes in the areas of economy, health and education in southern West Virginia.

The Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference, hosted by the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia in conjunction with the West Virginia Community Development Hub and Coalfield Development, will take place virtually on Nov. 16-19.

Now in its third year, the conference brings together community leaders, educators, businesses and public officials to network and share ideas for improving the lives of southern West Virginians. WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., praised the conference and said he is pleased WVSOM will play a substantial role in this year’s event.

“Innovation and teamwork are essential parts of improving and maintaining the well-being of our communities, and at times the challenges we face do, indeed, require big solutions,” he said. “I’m grateful that WVSOM will have a strong presence at this conference, as it will give us all an opportunity to learn from one another about which initiatives are working in our region.”

WVSOM’s Vice President for Community Engagement and Development, Drema Mace, Ph.D., will serve as the moderator for Nov. 17, a day of the conference devoted to health care in West Virginia. Nemitz will host an opening session at 9 a.m. that day to introduce state health leader Clay Marsh, M.D., who will provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also on Nov. 17, Terri Baker, grant projects manager for WVSOM’s Center for Rural and Community Health, will moderate a 11:30 a.m. panel titled “Dimensions of Recovery: Keys for Creating Recovery-Friendly Communities” and a 2:30 p.m. panel titled “Strengthening West Virginia’s Behavioral Health Workforce for the Future” featuring directors from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.

Nemitz will participate in a panel of presidents of southern West Virginia’s higher education institutions at 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 18, a day that will focus on education in the state. Other participants include Kendra Boggess, Ph.D., president of Concord University; Bonny Copenhaver, Ed.D., president of New River Community and Technical College; Jerry Gilbert, Ph.D., president of Marshall University; Carolyn Long, president of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology; and Nicole Pride, Ph.D., president of West Virginia State University.

Additionally, Baker will moderate a panel titled “Juggling It All: Caring for Yourself and Your Community” at 2:30 p.m., Nov. 20, as part of the #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference, a student-track event being hosted for the first time in conjunction with the Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference.

Mace and Baker are members of the operations council for the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, a consortium of southern West Virginia’s public higher education institutions intended to create jobs, build partnerships and fill in service gaps. WVSOM is a member of the Alliance.

Those who wish to attend Small Communities, Big Solutions may register at wvsolutions.net. All-access tickets to the four days of sessions cost $17.25 plus processing fees. Tickets to the Nov. 20 #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference are $12 plus processing fees for college or training students, or free for high school juniors and seniors.

Date Added: 
Monday, November 16, 2020