The Mesaros Symposium

West Virginia has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the US. Management of diabetes involves addressing multiple factors which impact control of diabetes, which includes improving nutrition, incorporating exercise into daily activity, and eliminating smoking. Over the past 25 years, a substantial body of evidence has been collected demonstrating the strong association of poor oral health, specifically periodontal disease, with the clinical development of diabetes and its effects on the ability for a patient with diabetes to manage the disease. This symposium will provide the participant an update on the association of periodontal disease with diabetes. The speakers will also expand upon the medical management of diabetes and the impact improved oral health can have on this management. Finally, this program will emphasize the need for intensive interprofessional management of these patients, requiring dental and medical health professionals to work closely and cooperatively in order to achieve the best clinical outcomes for these patients.

Register Online | View the Brochure

New Marshall ECHO Clinics to Focus on Treatment of Endocrinology and Cardiology Issues in West Virginia

Photo: FlickrCC

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Marshall University has launched a new program to help primary care providers treat conditions associated with endocrinology and cardiology issues.

ECHO Clinics, in partnership with Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) will be held the first Tuesday of each month at 12 p.m. with alternating endocrinology and cardiology sessions.

Project ECHO uses a telehealth model to bridge the gap in health care for rural and underserved communities.

Contact Jennifer Plymale at to learn more or if you are interested in participating in ECHO clinics.

Participation in teleECHO clinics is free. Participants who join teleECHO clinics receive free Continuing Medical Education credits for the total time spent participating, including didactics and patient-case presentations.

What is Project ECHO?

The ECHO model is not ‘traditional telemedicine’ where the specialist assumes care of the patient, but instead a guided practice model where the primary care provider retains responsibility for managing the patient.

During a teleECHO clinic, using video technology, primary care providers in multiple locations present patient cases to a multidisciplinary team of specialists to determine treatment. These specialists serve as mentors, training community providers to provide care in clinical areas that were previously outside their expertise.

Over time the primary care providers operate with increased independence as their skills and self-efficacy grow. A teleECHO clinic is, essentially, virtual grand rounds. Primary care providers from multiple locations connect at regularly scheduled times with a team of specialists using low cost, multi-point videoconferencing.

During teleECHO clinics providers present patient cases to specialist expert teams who mentor the providers to manage patients with common, complex conditions. These case based discussions are supplemented with short didactic presentations to improve content knowledge and share evidence based best practices.

Geriatrics ECHO

Elderly patients are a unique and growing population in Central Appalachia and can benefit tremendously from advanced treatment techniques.

Marshall Health’s Geriatrics ECHO will provide education and support to rural and suburban providers on the challenges faced by these important patients.

Shirley Neitch, MD, FACP, AGSF, Chief of Marshall’s Section of Geriatrics, will provide didactic instruction on emerging issues in geriatrics care and lead discussions on sample case studies provided by real clinics.

The initial ECHOs will focus on responsible benzodiazepine administration and deprescribing and future events will explore other areas of geriatric care, including dementia.

Geriatric ECHOs will be held via videoconference on the third Tuesday of each month starting Feb. 19.

For more information or to register your organization to participate, contact J.T. Schneider at 304-691-8982 or

Mark Your Calendar Now For March 26!


How Dementia-Friendly Services Can Create Dementia-Capable Communities

When: March 26, 2019, 8:30 – 4:30

Where: Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center (formerly Charleston Civic Center)

Who should attend: Health professionals, county and local government officials, anyone in public health, businesses, employers, first responders, clergy, community volunteers, family caregivers, individuals with dementia.  This one-day, interactive workshop is for anyone who wants to improve the lives of individuals with dementia and their family caregivers where they live, work, play, shop or worship.

Think you don’t know any families living with dementia?  You do.  Not sure if your input would be helpful to this discussion?  It will.

Please join us. Find out why dementia is considered a public health issue. Hear about successful community projects and some of the challenges.  Learn a process that could work in your community,  Share your own ideas to help increase dementia-capable services in communities across WV.  Then, take what you learn back to your community to expand supportive services there for families living with dementia.

Details and registration information will be available in late January.  If you have questions or want to receive conference and registration info, contact Trudy Oliver, or 304-558-3317.

Wanted: New People to Help Make the Magic Happen

Love the West Virginia Rural Health Conference?

Want to be a part of making it happen?

The West Virginia Rural Health Association is now looking for new people to join the Conference Planning Committee.

The annual West Virginia Rural Health Conference is fast becoming one of the most critical gatherings in the region for health professionals, students, community members and advocates to learn from and network with others interested in improving rural health care.

Already scheduled for Huntington in October, 2019, next year’s gathering is sure to build on the burgeoning reputation of this conference as one not to miss.

Conference Planning Committee members do not have to be a member of the West Virginia Rural Health Association, but they are required to participate in all of the meetings and work on a subcommittee. The subcommittees are responsible for planning key parts of the conference, such as the presentations, the West Virginia Rural Health Awards, scholarships and poster presentations. The meetings are by phone on the the 3rd Thursday of the month at 11 a.m., between January and June.

If you are interested in being a part of something fun and satisfying and that has a real impact on the health, wealth and happiness of West Virginia’s people, we can use you!

Email WVRHA Executive Director Debrin Jenkins at to discuss your particular skills and interests.

Register-Herald: West Virginia Conference Explores Barriers To Better Health in Rural Communities

Donnie Nunley/FlickrCC

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By Wendy Holdren/Beckley Register Herald

Access to care is one of the many health care challenges in West Virginia.

With more than half of the state’s population living in rural areas (51.8 percent), the most frequently discussed element of access is transportation.

West Virginia’s winding, mountainous roads are one barrier, and the costs associated with transportation are another.

But access to care is about much more than travel, as one health care provider outlined Thursday at the 26th Annual West Virginia Rural Health Conference.

Melissa Jensen, a physician assistant practicing in Beckley, says access is also about cultural barriers, too.

“In West Virginia, we put ourselves last,” she said. “There’s a close-knit, family-centric nature in Appalachia.”

As an example, she said a patient may not elect to have a procedure because that would prevent them from caring for an elderly parent. Another patient once told her that she couldn’t follow up with a procedure because she was saving money for her family to go to Disney…

Read the full story at

ECHO Clinics Provide Endo-Cardio Assistance for Primary Care Providers

Photo: Michela/FlickrCC

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Marshall University has partnered with Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), to assist primary care providers in their treatment of endocrinology and cardiology issues.

The goal of this program is to increase the capacity of primary care providers to safely and effectively treat chronic, common, and complex conditions associated with endocrinology and cardiology issues.

The ECHO clinic is held the first Tuesday of each month at 12 p.m., with alternating endocrinology and cardiology sessions. Participants who join teleECHO clinics receive free CME for the total time spent participating, including didactics and patient-case presentations.

For more information and to register for ECHO clinics, contact Jennifer Plymale at

Project ECHO is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live.

The ECHO model aims to increase access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions such as: hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, chronic pain, endocrinology, behavioral health disorders, and many others.

It does this by engaging clinicians in a continuous learning system and partnering them with specialist mentors at an academic medical center or hub. As the ECHO model expands, it is helping to address some of the healthcare system’s most intractable problems, including inadequate or disparities in access to care, rising costs, systemic inefficiencies, and unequal or slow diffusion of best practices.

To learn more about Project ECHO visit