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Colenda to chair national medical school group

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at West Virginia University, has been selected to a one-year term as chair of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the federally-recognized accrediting body for programs in the United States and Canada offering the M.D. degree. Dr. Colenda was appointed to the LCME by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). That group and the American Medical Association are the LCME’s two institutional sponsors. "I'm extremely pleased to see Dr. Colenda recognized with this important leadership position in academic medicine," said WVU President Jim Clements. "He is a proven leader, with strong principles and ethics, as well as a deep commitment to quality in academics and health care.  It is a real salute to all of our faculty, staff, and students for one of our own to hold responsibility for maintaining the highest standards in every medical school in the country." Medical schools are reviewed every eight years and must maintain LCME accreditation for their students to remain eligible for licensing in most states and in Canada. Schools must perform a rigorous self-study to compare their education program to LCME standards. An on-site visit from a team of faculty members from other accredited schools is followed by a detailed review by the LCME members. “This is about continuous quality improvement and raising the standards to ensure that all medical schools are providing the highest quality of medical education in the world,” said Colenda. “On a personal level, of all the professional and volunteer work I’ve done, this is one of the most gratifying positions I’ve ever held in academic medicine.” Throughout his career as a medical educator, he participated in a dozen site visits to evaluate medical programs. Colenda is an accomplished geriatric health services and clinical investigator and has published more than 110 articles and book chapters. He joined WVU as Chancellor for Health Sciences in 2009. He was named an LCME member in 2007 while serving as dean of the College of Medicine of Texas A&M Health Science Center. He has held previous academic and administrative appointments at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University. Colenda will serve as chair for one year, with newly appointed chair-elect, Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine at The University of Toledo, succeeding him in 2013. “I look forward to working closely with Dr. Colenda,” Dr. Gold said. “He is a highly respected scholar, and the new structure creates an opportunity for greater ease of transition between one leader and the next.  It is a true honor to be asked to serve the LCME in this capacity.” [...]

WVU awarded $400K to help create healthier rural communities

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Institute for Community and Rural Health has been awarded $400,000 to improve health of children and adults in rural West Virginia communities by reducing obesity and deaths due to to stroke and heart disease. The grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Community Transformation Grants program (CTG), which supports public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending in small communities. “The WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health is very excited about receiving this grant award from the CDC,” Larry A. Rhodes, M.D., director of rural programs at WVU’s Health Sciences Center, said. “This will enable us to fulfill a number of goals in enhancing care for the residents of rural West Virginia. In particular, it is a partnership with communities which are considered medically underserved or Health Professional Shortage Areas.” By focusing on the areas where people live, work, learn, and play, the CTG program is expected to improve the health of more than four out of 10 U.S. citizens—about 130 million Americans.   “We are fortunate that each of the West Virginia shortage areas communities are served by the Northern WV Rural Health Education Center, a group we have worked with for a number of years in orchestrating student rotations in these communities,” Dr. Rhodes continued. “They have a proven track record of service to both the Health Sciences Center and the people of our state.” Overall, HHS awarded approximately $70 million in prevention grants to 40 awardees focused on improving the health of small communities across the nation. Administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CTG Program is a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative launched in 2011 and funded through the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. These new funds will support areas with fewer than 500,000 people in neighborhoods, school districts, villages, towns, cities, and counties. “This will involve educational and motivational programs at the community level provided by students from each of the five professional schools at the WVU Health Sciences Center,” Rhodes explained. “A secondary goal of this project is to encourage and enhance students’ interest in providing care in rural areas. Another goal is to nurture collaboration with community based health care providers and the Health Sciences Center in educational and, research activities to improve the health of rural West Virginians. We are very honored and excited to receive this award.” The Community Transformation Grants are one piece of a broader government effort to address the health and well-being of U.S. communities through initiatives such as the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign, the National Prevention Strategy, the National Quality Strategy, and HHS’ Million Hearts Initiative. The Prevention and Public Health Fund, as part of the Affordable Care Act, is supporting the CTG program and other initiatives designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent chronic diseases, detect them early, manage conditions before they become severe, and provide states and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living.   To learn more about the Community Transformation Grant Program, including a list of all awardees, visit www.cdc.gov/communitytransformation. [...]

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