News release: West Virginia’s higher education community joins nationwide observance of National Rural Health Day


Jessica Tice

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

304-545-9412 (mobile)



West Virginia’s higher education community joins nationwide observance of National Rural Health Day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s higher education community is 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. This is true during normal times, and it is especially true today as our state continues fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic,” 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 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. 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.

National Rural Health Day is organized by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health. In West Virginia, the State Office of Rural Health is presenting its “Community Star” award today to Debrin Jenkins, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rural Health Association.

“Mrs. Jenkins worked tirelessly to create the West Virginia Hepatitis Academic Mentoring Partnership, which has served more than 50 physicians in the southern part of our state,” said David Deutsch, Associate Director for the State Office of Rural Health. “Her work showcases the community-minded, can-do spirit of rural health stakeholders to address challenges.”

To learn more about the Commission’s rural health care programs and view a new publication about the West Virginia Rural Health Initiative, visit

To learn more about National Rural Health Day, visit


RHSPN to Co-Convene December Advocacy Day Meeting

The Rural Health Service Providers Network (RHSPN) will be co-convening a National Day of Advocacy on Monday, December 14th, 2020 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern.

This meeting will be convened in collaboration with the West Virginia Statewide Stakeholders Coalition (WVSSC), a project of the Community Education Group (CEG) based in Shepherdstown, WV. The WVSSC’s mission is Deconstructing Silos Between HIV, Substance Use Disorder, and Viral Hepatitis testing, treatment, services, and care.

Speakers for the December National Advocacy Day include:

Tom Morris – Associate Administrator, Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

This will be the first national meeting of the RHSPN, which will begin convening regular monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of every month (excepting federal holidays), beginning in January 2021.

These meetings will bring together speakers from federal, state, and local agencies to discuss issues relevant to RHSPs. More information will be released in the coming months, as we plan for the first meeting of 2021.

Registration for the December meeting is separate from the regular meetings, so please be certain to register for both using the links provided.