President, employees to participate in Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference

Six administrators and staff members of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) will speak at the Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference, an event showcasing successful projects and highlighting those who are bringing change to West Virginia. The virtual conference will take place Nov. 15-18.

Small Communities, Big Solutions is hosted annually by the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub and Coalfield Development. The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia is a consortium of 10 public higher education institutions in the state’s southern region, including WVSOM, focused on fostering an environment for economic growth.

Through the conference, community leaders, educators, businesses and public officials come together to network, share ideas and celebrate initiatives that are working well in the state, with the goal of helping West Virginia reach its potential. WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., praised the event for its role in examining ways to improve the lives of West Virginians.

“I’m honored to be a participant in the Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference,” Nemitz said. “This conference brings together stakeholders to learn and discuss ways to move southern West Virginia forward in essential areas. I’m also proud of WVSOM’s contributions to the conference and to the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia.”

Each day of the four-day conference is devoted to a different theme. West Virginia’s economy is the subject of the conference’s first day; health care in the state will be the Nov. 16 highlight; education will be the focus on Nov. 17; and West Virginia’s communities will be the Nov. 18 emphasis.

Nemitz and Drema Hill, Ph.D., MSP, WVSOM’s vice president for community engagement and development, will speak at the opening session of the event’s second day, at 9 a.m., Nov. 16.

Julian Levine, director of community engagement for WVSOM’s Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH), will participate in a panel on the importance of health equity at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 16.

Terri Baker, CRCH grants projects manager, will moderate a session titled “Healthy Lifestyles: Successful Projects in the Mountain State” at 1 p.m., Nov. 16. Bob Foster, D.O., WVSOM’s assistant dean for osteopathic medical education, is among those who will present during the session.

Jenna Hinkle, CRCH education specialist, will be a presenter and panelist during a “Building a Stronger Recovery Workforce” session at 2:30 p.m., Nov. 16. Hinkle will speak about community health workers.

Nemitz will take part in a panel of presidents of southern West Virginia’s higher education institutions at 9:20 a.m., Nov. 17.

More information and electronic tickets to the conference are available at The first 100 individuals who register for Small Communities, Big Solutions will receive a free T-shirt.