From Drema Mace, Ph.D., M.S.P.
Executive Director, Center for Rural and Community Health
The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)'s Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) was implemented in 2009 to impact population health at a grassroots level. The CRCH began as a resource to Greenbrier County. In 2016, the decision was made to expand the work of CRCH statewide. In November 2016, the CRCH staff began a six-month process of strategic planning for the future. This document is the culmination of that process.
First, the CRCH Mission was reviewed and our Vision developed. Next, we determined the Values that would underpin our work. Only then did we begin the process of determining our goals over the next three years and our plan for reaching our goals. This document contains a comprehensive compilation of our process as well as the results of the process. It is our hope that we may lead other internal and/or external organizational entities through a similar process as part of our provision of technical assistance.
The practical vision issues and questions that emerged during our process were:
- How do we enhance existing and develop future statewide partnerships and apply for major statewide funding opportunities?
- Should WVSOM Rural Outreach Programs all be organized under one umbrella to ensure communication and shared planning, as is suggested in the WVSOM Strategic Plan?
- Do the current CHERP Curriculum and HIS/HERS Health Literacy Project materials need to be updated?
- How do we work with the Office of Research to increase the number of research opportunities for students and faculty and publish the research findings?
- Can we find a way to fund the activities we have outlined in this plan?
- How do we build sustainability into the programming, including the Greenbrier County Health Alliance?
- How do we do a better job of marketing what we do?
I draw your attention to the established goals that will drive the work of the CRCH (page 29) over the next year. It is important to note that while the Greenbrier County Health Alliance Executive Director is an employee of and funded by the CRCH, the activities of the Alliance are governed by their Board of Directors. This is an important distinction as we move forward with establishing a sustainable model of community engagement.
The CRCH is now positioned to move forward with our plan to expand to a statewide approach to population health issues, training, health education, and community engagement.