Barbara Holt has been named executive director of the Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM).
The mission of the CRCH is to drive engagement in rural health through education, research and community engagement. Holt said she is pleased to oversee the center’s operation, management and expansion.
“Since I began at WVSOM, I have had the privilege of meeting and working with inspiring people,” Holt said. “The CRCH has had great leaders, and it is an honor to be given this opportunity. We will endeavor to continue to grow, develop and reach our vision to build infrastructure that empowers communities to reach their highest level of health and wellness through evidence-based, community-engaged outreach, education and research.”
There are several current CRCH projects involving Greenbrier County residents and organizations, Holt said.
“With our newest grant-funded project, we are partnering with the Greenbrier County Health Alliance for the OASIS Community Care Corps, which will match people needing non-medical help with volunteers who would like to assist others in Greenbrier County,” she said.
A new Appalachian Regional Commission Inspire grant will assess the needs of those in recovery in Greenbrier County to achieve employment at a livable wage. This involves determining what is working, what needs improvement, where gaps exist and what can be done to fill those gaps to assist in recovery-to-work efforts.
“With this grant, we will ask community members for their assistance and advice in order to find out what is working and where are the gaps for those in recovery-to-work efforts,” Holt said.
The CRCH also has been awarded a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Rural Health Disparities grant. In partnership with the Greenbrier County Health Department, the CRCH will use a rented vehicle as a mobile COVID-19 testing unit. Mountain Transit Authority also will join as a partner to provide non-emergency medical transportation for rural Greenbrier County residents.
As CRCH employees gear up for projects in 2022, Holt said she is excited to work with community members.
“We look forward to sharing additional details on how community members can be involved with or benefit from these grant-funded projects. We are committed to our outreach efforts,” she said.
“I am excited to welcome Barbara Holt as executive director of WVSOM’s Center for Rural and Community Health,” said Drema Hill, Ph.D., MSP, the school’s vice president for community engagement and development. “Barbara has the energy, heart and expertise needed to lead the expansion of our role in communities statewide. WVSOM is committed to improving the health of West Virginians.”
Holt, who joined WVSOM in 2019 as CRCH education coordinator, has a Master of Science degree in human resources and management from Southern New Hampshire University and a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University. She is a master trainer in chronic disease self-management, diabetes self-management and chronic pain self-management. Additionally, she has extensive experience working with grants.
Prior to joining WVSOM, Holt served as director of population health for the regional Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.