LEWISBURG, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine President Dr. James Nemitz speaks to attendees of the 2021 West Virginia Rural Health Conference.
Most of the attendees are watching virtually, as Nemitz shares some of the School of Osteopathic Medicine’s strategies for improving health in the state.
“The majority of our state is rural,” Nemitz said. “It’s trying to help those rural communities become healthier.”
One of the biggest areas of focus is West Virginia’s rural health. The state frequently ranks either 49th or 50th nationwide in health indicators, which is reflective of rural health. The School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Board are really going to work with their partners and improving that number is a huge focus for them over the next couple of years.
“I’m hoping that folks learn some new ideas that they can implement in their communities to improve community health and rural health,” said West Virginia Rural Health Association Executive Director Rich Sutphin.
Sutphin is in town from Huntington, listening to Nemitz discuss how state leaders can improve the rural health statistic.
“It’s not something that one person can do,” Sutphin said. “It’s a team sport and so, the only way that we’re going to improve is to work together.”
The theme of this year’s conference deals with responding to unprecedented challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Nemitz says it’s important for attendees to work together to be on the same page in order to improve West Virginia’s rural health ranking.
“One of the ways we’re doing it is we’re teaching people how to be healthier,” Nemitz said.