Category Archives: Southwest Virginia

Student teamwork shines in emergency situations

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine student Michael Spinosa points out details on a chest X-ray for a patient during the Interprofessional Education Simulation Day at the at the Carilion Clinic Center for Simulation, Research and Patient Safety on April 22, 2022. Photos by Clayton Metz for Virginia Tech.

In an emergency situation, teams of providers from healthcare, human services and education professions must quickly merge their skills and collaborate to help a patient in need. During the Interprofessional Education Simulation Day, students from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) experienced the fast-paced nature of a healthcare emergency first-hand and worked alongside students from other institutions to solve complex problems.

VTCSOM partnered with Carilion Clinic, Radford University Carilion and the Radford University Waldron College of Health and Human Services to host the event on Friday at the Carilion Clinic Center for Simulation, Research and Patient Safety in Roanoke. Around 118 students participated, with groups of 4-6 representing future medical doctors, physician assistants, registered nurses, social workers and respiratory therapists.

“The VTCSOM and RUC students already work closely in our HSSIP domain curriculum; this experience provides them a chance to put the principles they learn in class into action,” said Sarah Parker, the chair of Health Systems and Implementation Science at VTCSOM. “The value of different perspectives is put on display during a multidisciplinary simulation like this. I hope they take this experience as a foundation for building excellent interprofessional teams.”

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Head for the Hills 2022 – Registration & Details

November 4-5th, 2022
The Martha Washington Inn & Spa
Abingdon, VA

Topics will include:

– Breaking Down “Structural” and “Systemic” Racism
– How to talk so patients will listen, how to listen so patients will talk
– Overview of commonly used botanicals and supplements
– Doctoring in Small Town Appalachia
– Dentition and Diabetes
– Opioid Alternatives for Odontogenic Pain
– Opioids: The Good, The Bad, and the Latest in Best Practice

View Full Agenda

The Warmth of Rural Residency

“The true beauty of Norton, and the larger area of Southwest Virginia, lies within the people who constitute it.”

You do not have to look far to appreciate the beauty of Norton, Virginia. At every turn, you are greeted by mesmerizing mountains that span as far as the horizon, rugged trails that are sure to be an adventure and breathtaking sunsets that could easily find themselves colorfully painted on canvas. However, these grand scenes are merely the tip of the iceberg of what makes the Appalachian Highlands so unique.

When I first interacted with leaders of the internal medicine residency program, I was impressed with their warm, courteous and genuine demeanor. This initial impression was further reinforced when I observed how closely the program administrators and residents interacted, a stark contrast from the interactions I have witnessed at other institutions. I also had the opportunity to experience this close interaction when I met my program director for the first time at a local supermarket. The humor of the situation was surpassed only by the speed at which news of this encounter spread to others. It truly made me appreciate the dynamics of a rural area.

The true beauty of Norton, and the larger area of Southwest Virginia, lies within the people who constitute it. The program administration and hospital staff are among the sincerest and most approachable groups of individuals I have come across in my medical career. These values reflect the culture and way of life in this area. Many of my friends marvel at how closely I work with program administration, attendings and hospital staff because I am treated as an individual and not as a statistic. The degree of personal attention we receive and give to the patients here is unparalleled. I feel truly blessed to be part of this community.

Dr. Rehan Alam, MD
Internal Medicine Resident
Norton Community Hospital

Ballad Health Internal Medicine and Family Residency Programs

Norton Community Hospital Internal Medicine Residency

Norton Community Hospital is a not-for-profit, 129-bed acute care facility that has served rural Southwest Virginia and Southeastern Kentucky since 1949. The hospital offers a unique internal medicine residency experience that blends training at a rural acute care center, Norton Community Hospital, and urban tertiary care centers like Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Norton Community Hospital takes great pride in training young physicians for our rural, medically underserved area. This dedication has resulted in an increase in quality primary care for Southwest Virginia, surrounding areas, and the growth of our institution.

Wellmont Health Systems-Lonesome Pine Hospital Family Medicine Residency

The Lonesome Pine Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program is located in Big Stone Gap – a rural community in Beautiful Southwest Virginia, within a very short distance of Tennessee. This area is part of what is known here as The Tri-Cities, a region comprising the cities of Kingsport, Johnson City, Bristol and the surrounding smaller towns and communities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

As a resident, you will work in a rural setting for primary care training, while also gaining invaluable experience from larger hospitals. Our residents have opportunities to do rotations a short distance away at Bristol Regional Medical Center and Holston Valley Medical Center. Both centers provide high quality medical care and both have continued to be recognized among the nations’ best hospitals. 

NBC News: Coronavirus strains rural hospitals to ‘the absolute limit’

Although coronavirus has yet to make the same harsh impact on rural communities as in metropolitan areas around the United States, their financial reality may drastically reduce their best efforts when preparing for the worst.

Most facilities have already to turned to telehealth in order to minimize that one-on-one contact. However, as Beth O’Connor, director of the Virginia Rural Health Association, states, “Many of our rural families, and even many of our rural hospitals and clinics, don’t have the bandwidth that they need to be able to participate in telehealth service. So when you have something like this pandemic when you would prefer to see someone virtually, it’s just not possible.”

Click HERE to read.

How to Make a Face Mask: Protection Against COVID-19

Join others in learning how to sew face masks for your community members that desperately need them! Click HERE to view easy-to-follow instructions and a video made by Deaconess Hospital staff.



CHECK YOUR BARNS! (and garages, workrooms, etc.) Have you got boxes of gloves (latex, plastic, or vinyl), N95 face masks? Those are badly needed and GMEC can make sure they get redistributed. Have you got surgical masks, face shields, plastic dust masks, safety goggles? Those are needed as well.

If you are hand-sewing masks, we also have locations that need those. They are not front-line COVID but are VERY useful for other parts of care. If you would like to sew masks, we can send you patterns.

THANKS and PLEASE check your basements et al. We’ve sent several N95s to small clinics because of kind people willing to share what they have. EVERY donation will help keep our rural communities safe.

Contact so we can tell you where to mail, or collect. Thanks!