The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) continues to grow. The medical school will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Clingman Center for Community Engagement from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29.
Earlier this year, WVSOM signed a long-term lease with the Greenbrier Valley Restoration Project to operate programs and activities at the facility, which will serve as a place for the school to come together with area residents to advance health and increase the quality of life in West Virginia. WVSOM’s Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) will manage the center’s programs in partnership with the nonprofit Greenbrier County Health Alliance.
WVSOM representatives will speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as will family members of the late Gwen Clingman, for whom the facility is named. Clingman provided meals to WVSOM students, faculty and administrators at her business, Clingman’s Market, for many years in the Lewisburg building that now houses Stardust Café.
The Clingman Center for Community Engagement is located next to Hill & Holler Pizza in the development known as Montwell Commons, situated off U.S. Route 219 on the northern edge of downtown Lewisburg. The building was originally erected by the cast of the DIY Network’s television program Barnwood Builders using timbers from an apple orchard in Pennsylvania and provides a rustic environment just two blocks from WVSOM’s campus.
The building is currently used for programs that include community workshops and trainings and will provide further options for community engagement and healthy activities. As its infrastructure develops, the site also will be used for workforce development programs and community-based health research. A commercial teaching kitchen has been constructed in the building to offer culinary training and outreach on healthy cooking.
The Clingman Center offers WVSOM students a place to engage with the community. Students have volunteered at food markets at the center and in its demonstration garden, which offers weekly classes by a master gardener. Students also may take an elective course in culinary medicine that will be taught, in part, at the facility.
The Clingman Center is also available to the public as a rental space for events such as meetings, weddings, receptions and private parties through the WVSOM Foundation. Those interested in renting the facility may contact the foundation at 304-793-6852.
“The Clingman Center for Community Engagement is yet another way that WVSOM is living its mission and showing its commitment to the state of West Virginia by making rural health one of our top priorities,” said WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D. “I’m pleased that we’re able to bring new programs to Lewisburg and surrounding areas, and I’m confident that the center will have a positive effect on both the community and the school.”