West Virginia agencies working to train, recruit and retain rural health providers

State’s higher education community joins DHHR’s Office of Rural Health to observe National Rural Health Day

CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s higher education community is joining with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) State Office of Rural Health, under DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, in celebrating the state’s health providers and educators today as part of National Rural Health Day. Held annually on the third Thursday of November, this day is designed to recognize the efforts of those serving the health needs of an estimated 57 million people across the country.

“West Virginia depends on our rural health providers and educators to ensure our citizens have the quality healthcare they need,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “Our office works within West Virginia’s communities to train the rural providers of the future through various financial aid programs and rural health initiatives. As we continue that critical mission, we are proud on this national day of recognition to thank the many heroes on the front lines, right now, working to keep West Virginians healthy.”

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) administers several scholarship and loan repayment programs designed to develop healthcare providers for rural and underserved areas of the state, and to support the communities where students learn and eventually practice. Each year, more than 250 awards are provided to students to support their education in exchange for their promise to serve rural and underserved communities upon entry into practice.

The Commission also oversees the West Virginia Rural Health Initiative, a collaboration with the state’s three medical schools aimed at recruiting and retaining rural providers by providing community-based training for students in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health fields.

DHHR’s Office of Rural Health administers rural hospital support programs and loan repayment programs, and provides incentives rural communities can use to attract health care providers to their communities. The Office of Rural Health also oversees the state’s use of the 3RNET system to recruit health care providers to rural communities in West Virginia.

“We are proud of the work that our rural providers do every day, and the Office of Rural Health supports those providers and communities through our programs,” said Stephanie Moore, Director of DHHR’s Office of Rural Health. “We appreciate Gov. Jim Justice for proclaiming November 17 as National Rural Health Day in West Virginia. It is an honor to celebrate our rural health care providers who dedicate themselves to the health and well-being of all West Virginians.”

National Rural Health Day is coordinated by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

To learn more about the Commission’s rural health care programs and the West Virginia Rural Health Initiative, visit http://www.wvhepc.edu/inside-the-commission/offices-and-affiliates/health-sciences/.

To learn more about DHHR’s Office of Rural Health, please visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/ruralhealth.

To learn more about National Rural Health Day, visit https://www.powerofrural.org/.