The Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) was founded in the fall of 2010, as a special resource center of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Wayne Miller, PhD came on board as CRCH’s first director in 2011. As Dr. Miller saw it, CRCH would be designed to help improve the health status of West Virginia.
In August 2011, Dr. Miller was awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to help fund a pilot project that would train community health workers in rural areas of the state. With the available grant money, Dr. Miller created materials to train the Community Health Education Research Person (CHERP), a program which is still in existence today.
In 2012, Arnold H. Hassen, PhD was hired as the Administrative Director for the Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH). Along with Drs. Hassen and Miller, additional staff included Haylee Heinsberg, Community Health Educator, and Joyce Martin, Administrative Assistant. Additionally, grant-funded personnel included Community Health Education Coordinator, Terri Pyne, MEd; CTSI Outreach Coordinator, Kim Estep; and CTSI Research Coordinator, Jill Cochran, PhD, RN.
In 2016, Drema Mace, PhD joined CRCH as Executive Director. In 2019, Dr. Mace was appointed to jointly serve as WVSOM’s new Vice President of Community Engagement and Development. Since Dr. Mace’s arrival, CRCH has been awarded more than $3.5 million in federal, state, and foundation grants, contracts, and purchasing agreements.
The CRCH team also has grown exponentially since 2016. Along with Haylee Heinsberg, MEd, Director of Education and Joyce Martin, RBA, Program & Outreach Coordinator, additional team members include Sally Hurst, BS, Community Engagement Consultant; Courtney Hereford, MSPH, MSW, CRCH Executive Director; Barbara Holt, MS, SOR Project Manager; Terri Baker, EMBA, Grant Projects Manager; Misty Boggs, BS, Program Associate; Julian Levine, MSW, Director of Community Engagement & Outreach; Jenna Hinkle, MS, Health Education Specialist and Evonne Richards, MEd, Research Coordinator. CRCH is greatly supported in research, education, training, and outreach endeavors by WVSOM faculty advisors, Jill Cochran, PhD, FNP; Robert Foster, DO; Brian Griffith, PhD; Gretchen Lovett, PhD; Deborah Schmidt, DO; and Bridget Morrison, DO. Finally, CRCH’s work could not be accomplished without the assistance of our exceptional AmeriCorps members, Jennifer Crane, Donna Legg, Lois McCutcheon and Cheryl Workman.