Category Archives: Southwest Virginia

Head for the Hills Agenda

GMEC is pleased to present the agenda for our 2016 annual conference and retreat, Head for the Hills, below! Come unwind, dine, and play with us for two days in the beautiful Hungry Mother State Park while learning from some of Virginia’s leading rural health experts. Families of attending medical professionals are very welcome and activities have been planned for your enjoyment.

Head for the Hills 2016 Schedule:
Hungry Mother State Park, Marion, VA

Friday Sept. 30

7:00 a.m.

Registration opens
Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available

Child care can be provided 8-noon for those requesting it.


Continental breakfast available


Kathy Hosig, PhD, MPH, RD Virginia Tech


Lorenzo Pence, DO, FACOFP, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

9:40 -10:00

BREAK (fruit provided)


Clinical Documentation Toolbox
Nora Blankenbecler, Director, Health Information Technology Certification Program, Mountain Empire Community College


PSYCHIATRY IN SW VA: What Primary Care Physicians Should Know –
Sarah Hazelwood, DO, Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Marion, Virginia


HABIT AND HABITUS: A Faith-based Health Initiative (Resident Presentation) –
Dr. Troy Reece, PGY2, Johnston Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency



FREE REST OF DAY – Group rates are available at the historic Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion. Hikes, the beach, paddle boats, and other activities are available within the park. Several restaurants are available in town. There is no communal dinner, but GMEC is happy to provide your evening meal in the park, same set menu, available during restaurant hours; because of the many options available via the park and town, we are not planning to offer children’s entertainment.

Saturday Oct. 1

7:30 a.m.

Breakfast and registration

Child care can be provided 8-noon for those requesting it.


Kathy Wibberly, PhD, Director, Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center at University of Virginia





Required check out from your cabin; luggage may be brought to the lecture hall


Jane Bennett, Cancer Survivor and Advocate


BREAKING BAD NEWS: Communicating a Difficult Diagnosis or Lifestyle Change –
Thomas Ward Bishop


Sue Cantrell, MD, LENOWISCO Health District Director, VDH


Secretary Bill Hazel, MD, Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources


Box lunches will be provided; eat at your leisure in the conference center, or take it with you if you need to depart.

Please feel free to stay and enjoy the park after the conference concludes!


Affording Medical School

There’s no doubt about it — medical school is expensive. But U.S. News & World Report has compiled a list of 10 private medical schools with the lowest tuition and fees for the 2015-16 academic year.

Here are the 10 most affordable private medical schools and their 2015-16 out-of-state tuition rates, according to U.S. News & World Report:

  1. Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) — $31,663
  2. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Erie, Pa.) — $32,985
  3. University of Pikeville–Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine — $41,320
  4. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine — $42,626
  5. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Virginia campus (Blacksburg, Va.), Carolinas campus (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Auburn (Ala.) campus — $43,250
  6. Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences — $43,513
  7. Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (Cumberland Gap, Tenn.) — $46,528
  8. Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (New York City) — $48,340
  9. Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine (Hempstead, N.Y.) — $48,500
  10. Mayo Medical School (Rochester, Minn.) — $49,900

See those three schools in bold type?  That’s right – three out of the top ten are in our region!

Save the Date!

Are you a medical resident?

Are you working in or for rural Southwest Virginia (or surrounding areas)?

Then mark off April 22nd on your calendar and plan to be at the Second Rural Residents Research Symposium!

This is a day for residents to present original research (not case studies) regarding topics of interest to rural primary care docs and their peers.

Slots at the Rural Residents Research Symposium are 30-45 minutes long; anyone interested in presenting must meet the criteria of rural focus and should apply through their residency coordinator.

A limit of two applications per residency program will be accepted with a total of 10 presentations.  The top two presentations will be invited to speak at the 2016 Head for the Hills event in October.

For questions, contact GMEC Director Wendy Welch at

More information coming soon!


What to do in the Hills?

Let’s face it – while Head for the Hills is a fantastic educational event, it also reflects the old adage, “location, location, location.”  Why do the educational sessions end at 12:30 each day?  So you can go have fun!

Head for the Hills will be held again this year at the Breaks Interstate Park.  It will be October, so the fall leaves will be at their peak.  That means:

“Bountiful nature, as richly colored as our mosses underfoot, our mountains on the horizon, and our sky overhead.”

The Breaks Interstate Park boasts 4600 acres, more than 25 miles of walking trails, and a 5-mile gorge plunging to 1650 feet known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.”  Activities include guided hikes, biking, geocaching, birding, pedal boats/canoes and fishing (some activities have a fee).

If you’ve been to the Breaks before, that might sound too familiar, so check out their new activity – Elk Watching!

Not into the great outdoors?  You can venture off site to the Ralph Stanley museum in neighboring Clintwood, or ACT Theatre in Elkhorn, KY.

Bringing the kids?  There is child care available during the educational sessions, hay rides later in the day, a playground, and magician Joseph Young!

Visit the main Head for the Hills page for details about registration, lodging and links to the educational session descriptions.  See you there!






Executive Director, Southwest Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Oakwood, VA & Blacksburg, VA (2 office locations, HQ site to be determined based on employee residence)

Position Description:  Under the direction of the Southwest Virginia AHEC Board of Directors, and working with the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA), the Executive Director provides leadership and administrative and program management for Southwest Virginia AHEC. This includes regional development of services and programs that support health careers promotion, access to primary care, student and resident experiential education, community health awareness and professional continuing education within the SW AHEC 21-county service area.

Principal Responsibilities:  Duties include but are not limited to developing, directing, and promoting immediate and long-term programs and projects, developing and maintaining a professional staff, preparing and managing an annual budget, and carrying out the organization’s goals and objectives to ensure compliance with the contractual terms between the VHWDA/Virginia Statewide AHEC Program and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and others.

Minimum Experience and Qualifications: The position requires a Bachelor’s degree, preferably a Master’s degree, in a health-related field, community health, health education, public relations, business management, or non-profit management, with a minimum of five years of professional experience, including program management and implementation. Demonstrated experience in human resources supervision (at least one year), fiscal management, and developing community collaborations and partnerships is essential.

Compensation:  Commensurate with experience; anticipate salary between $45,000-60,000, plus benefits.

Interested candidates should submit résumé with cover letter describing skills and experience to:

Howard Chapman, Jr., Chairman of the Board
Program Development Director
Tri-Area Community Health
PO Box 9,14168 Danville Pike
Laurel Fork, VA  24352

Position will close on September 07, 2015.


Behavioral-HealthMay is the month when we focus on Behavioral Health. In Southwest Virginia, we are designated as federally underserved in Behavioral Healthcare. We especially seek pediatric behavioral health specialists, but we’re always happy to talk to anyone interested in doing a residency rotation or being recruited to the area in this underserved field.