Last year, the nonprofit health advocacy organization known as West Virginia Health Right provided free health services to more than 23,000 low-income people in the southern part of the state.

The organization was founded in 1982 by a small group of doctors and nurses in Charleston who believed that every person is entitled to quality healthcare, even if they don’t have private insurance.

As its CEO, Dr. Angie Settle has a close and personal understanding of the urgent plight of many West Virginians that are slipping through the cracks of America’s public healthcare system.

Having started with West Virginia Health Right as a Family Nurse Practitioner 20 years ago, Dr. Settle has dedicated her entire career to serving the uninsured and underinsured of West Virginia.

Like many born and raised West Virginians, she is stunned by the swift and devastating impact of drug addiction in local communities.

“The use of heroin is a startling, but common, reality that I would have never imagined just 10 years ago,” Dr. Settle says. “We must continue to battle this war that is being waged, to take back the health and wellbeing of our families and end the economic instability it has compounded.”

You can join inspired and ambitious healthcare leaders like Dr. Angie Settle as a member of the West Virginia Rural Health Association.

Memberships start at just $10. Learn more at wvrha.org/become-a-member/

And although it doesn’t receive the same public attention that the opioid crisis does, Dr. Settle and West Virginia Health Right have also started to focus on what they are seeing as an urgent health need – dental services for low-income West Virginians.

“It is my goal during my lifetime to see a move toward preventative care for impoverished individuals, and not just treatment after the fact with multiple extractions,” she says. “This leads to a sad reality of the need for dentures in the very young. We can and must do better in West Virginia. We must offer preventative care, cleanings and restorative dental services for all West Virginians.”

Dr. Settle, a newly elected WVRHA board member, believes the organization plays a critical role for anyone interested in working toward creative and impactful solutions to the state’s pressing health issues.

“Being with like-minded individuals, focused on bettering the physical and mental wellbeing of our state’s citizens, is so important to all of our endeavors,” she says. “It will take a combined effort, like that of the WVRHA, to truly propel us all forward on the road to a healthier West Virginia. We must strive to rank as one of the best state’s in the nation and no longer settle for last place.”

Learn more about joining the West Virginia Rural Health Association at wvrha.org/become-a-member/

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