Published On: Fri, Mar 21st, 2014

Open letter

Dear Senator or Delegate:

I am a member of the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (CoE) community partnership to deliver the Women on Wellness program in Greenbrier County.  The National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health has been zeroed out of the current budget. An investment of $250,000 is not very much money when you consider that the CoE improves women’s health by engaging, empowering and giving women the tools to take charge of their healthy lifestyle through prevention, wellness and comprehensive care outside of clinical service delivery.

Women play a key role in determining the future economic and health status of West Virginia. The potential impact of improving women’s health is profound. It improves the economy, reduces cost of health care and reduces lost work time. If the money is not restored, the impact on the economy of West Virginia will be potentially devastating.

West Virginia received our national designation in 2004, becoming one of 20 academic institutions in the nation, making us a member of an amazing network. West Virginia is the only CoE in the nation with a statewide capture area. The other centers are located in urban areas.

By improving the health of women, we will improve the health and well-being of families. According to Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, “When women are fully involved the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier they are better fed, their income, savings and reinvestments go up. And what is true of families is true of communities and eventually, whole countries.”

The CoE has ten years of history with wisely stretching our funds. We have touched the lives of thousands of women and girls across the state. By working with community partnerships likes ours, women are linked to the resources in their community. Recently we submitted a grant application to the Centers of Medicare, Medicaid, Health Innovations Round Two, for $14,000,000. We are currently working on a grant proposal for the Veterans Administration. Without a working budget line, we will not be able to continue to partner with private industry to pursue such grants.

I know we are making a difference in women’s lives across the state of West Virginia. Our data speaks for itself. Our work is a journey, leading one woman, one step, one county at a time. I am asking you to please restore the $250,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health into the 2014-2015 budget.

Sincerely,

Vanessa L. Bailey

New River Community

and Technical College