WIC Works

At Head for the Hills 2015, Jessica Arney MS, RD, LD provided an overview of the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) program.

Her WIC Works presentation included:

  • the immediate benefits of nutrition education, counseling, supplemental foods and breastfeeding support.
  • long term positive health outcomes associated with participation in the program
  • the differences between WIC and SNAP

There were also resources such as Health Bites, so contact your local health department and have WIC Work for your patients!


Virginia has been severely impacted by opioid abuse, particularly the abuse of prescription drugs. In 2013, 386 individuals died from the abuse of FHMO, an increase of 1,578%, with fentanyl being the primary substance fueling this increase.  In 2013, drug-related deaths happened at a higher per capita level (11.0 deaths per 100,000) than motor vehicle crashes (10.1 per 100,000).

REVIVE! is the Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (ONE) program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. REVIVE! provides training to professionals, stakeholders, and others on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone (Narcan ®).

At Head for the Hills, Dr. Hughes Melton provided an overview of the REVIVE! program. This allowed the participants to:

  • Understand the REVIVE! program, including lay administration of naloxone, protection from civil liability, and the safe reporting of overdoses law
  • Understand how opioid overdose emergencies happen and how to recognize them
  • Understand how naloxone works
  • Identify risk factors that may make someone more susceptible to an opioid overdose emergency
  • Dispel common myths about how to reverse an opioid overdose
  • Learn how to respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone

Additional information about REVIVE! and opioid abuse in Virginia can be found on the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services website.



Media headlines are full of ADHD information.  Recent examples include:

  • —“Study finds 17% of college students misuse ADHD drugs”
  • —“ADHD Medications Don’t Lead To Drug Or Alcohol Abuse”
  • —“Children with ADHD more likely to have eating disorder”
  • —“Is the Internet giving us all ADHD?”


One of the great presentations at Head for the Hills was Dr. Hofford’s Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What’s New and What is Our Data.

This session:

  • —Reviewed the diagnosis of ADHD
  • Reviewed the latest treatment options/algorithms for ADHD
  • —Reviewed recent Virginia Medicaid ADHD data and how do we compare with North Carolina and the United States

We hope you are able to use Dr. Hofford’s information as your starting point for finding solid ADHD references!


Cheap Meds!

We hope everyone enjoyed the 2015 Head for the Hills event!

We’re going to spend the next few weeks reviewing the fantastic presentations.  First up –

Guide to Inexpensive Prescription Medications MelodyProvided by Melody Counts, M.D., M.H.M., District Health Director – Cumberland Plateau Health District (and GMEC board member), the session asked;

“What good do your diagnostics and treatment do if the person can’t afford the medications?”

and proceeded to answer the question and provided an overview of various medication discount programs and guidelines as to how providers could streamline the eligibility process for those program.

Session participants learned how to identify multiple sources of inexpensive prescription medication information for patients and why providing such information is important to one’s medical practice.

Why bother?

“If someone has hypertension and can’t afford their anti-hypertensives, everything you say is worthless. Yes, there are also lifestyle issues, but if patients can’t afford their medication, you’re doing them no good.”



Scholarships, Loans, and Loan Repayment

Are you a health professions student wondering how you are going to afford your education?  Or a rural provider trying to recruit new practitioners?

If so – we have two great guides for you!

First are the presentation slides from Head for the Hills from Justin Crow’s Getting the Most from Federal & State Loan Repayment Programs  discussion.  This provides an in-depth guide as to what programs are available and who qualifies for them.

AND – from the Rural Assistance Center – Scholarships, Loans, and Loan Repayment for Rural Health Professions

This guide includes:

  • Types of Health Education Financial Aid
  • Operating Successful Rural Health Education Financial Aid Programs
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Rural areas face a documented shortage of essential healthcare professionals, especially in primary care fields.  The rising costs of education directly impact the ability of students to pursue a healthcare degree and compound the rural health workforce shortage.  These guides help to bridge the gap.

New Session!

We’ve been able to add another session to the Head for the Hills agenda!

Justin Crow, from the Virginia Department of Health will be presenting:

Getting the Most from Federal and State Loan Repayment Programs:  Guidance for Practitioners and Practice Sites

Mr. Crow’s presentation will enable you to:

  • Describe HPSA designations and the HPSA designation process
  • Ascertain eligibility for Loan Repayment Programs
  • Select the appropriate Loan Repayment Program with goals & eligibility
  • Navigate the HPSA and LRP landscape

Justin Crow, MPA is the HPSA Designations & GIS Manager, Office of Minority Health & Health Equity, Va. Dept. of Health.  We hope you are looking forward to all of the educational sessions at this event.

Do Residents Return?

“Grow your own” is a popular phrase for those trying to improve the supply of health professionals in rural areas.  But does it work? The USDA recently released a report titled “Factors Affecting Former Residents’ Returning to Rural Communities“.

Factors which encouraged residents to return to their rural roots:

  • presence of parents
  • desire to raise their children back home
  • easy-going environment
  • outdoor recreation

Local schools also played an important role.  People who had a positive outlook on rural schools came back; those who felt that urban schools would better fit their child’s needs, did not.

The report summary goes on to say:

Family motivations dominated, but returning home also depended on securing a job, often involving creative strategies to overcome employment limitations. Return migrants frequently mentioned their acceptance of financial and career sacrifices for returning home. Most nonreturnees who may have considered coming home cited low wages and lack of career opportunities as the primary barriers to their return.

So the challenge for rural recruiters is: what can be done to improve the factors that can be controlled – school systems and economic environment?

Turn Up the Volume

Head for the Hills isn’t the only event for rural healthcare providers this fall; the Virginia Rural Health Association will be hosting their annual conference October 13 & 14.

For twenty years, the Virginia Rural Health Association has served as “The Voice for Rural Health in Virginia.”  Now they are asking you to turn up the volume on that voice.  Rural hospitals, clinics, providers and students are under greater pressure than ever to provide services in an increasingly challenging environment.  For their 20th Anniversary, VRHA is asking all rural health stakeholders to raise their voice with us and help call attention to the needs of Virginia’s rural citizens.

The Annual Conference of the Virginia Rural Health Association is an opportunity for the people and organizations that serve Virginia’s rural population from across the Commonwealth to meet.  The event is filled with workshops, keynote speakers, poster presentations, networking and an Exhibit Hall.  The people who attend the event are as diverse as the VRHA membership: hospital executives, academic faculty, clinic staff, government officials, health professions students and more.

Bringing the people who care about rural Virginia together provides an opportunity to discuss how we can ensure the sustainability of rural Virginia through policy, access, economics, education and more.

Turn Up the Volume!  Click here for details.

Lodging at the Hills

Oh, the views…170-Stateline-Overlook

One of the highlights of the Head for the Hills event is being able to stay in accommodations with views like this:


If you’ve attended Head for the Hills in the past, note that lodging arrangements are a bit different this year.

You will need to reserve your own room.  For reservations please call BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK directly at 276-865-4414 Ext. 3201.  They will require your credit card to hold the room.

PLEASE NOTE that your card will be charged at the time you make the reservation.  BUT – when you attend Head for the Hills, you will receive a check from us for $75/night (room fees are $70 + tax). This policy has been implemented to preserve funds lost due to no-shows. Everyone who attends will reimbursed for their room costs.

Note that the deadline to reserve a hotel room is September 15th.  That’s also the deadline to cancel a room you have reserved and still be able to get a refund from the hotel.  In the event of problems or questions making a hotel reservation, the park contact is Vickie Swiney (vswiney@breakspark.com 276-865-4413 Ext. 3203).

Because you don’t want to miss out on the views…



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!





Live here, Train here, Work here, Love here