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CHCs Welcome Zuckerberg to WV

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 9:00 am By: WVPCA


Louise Reese, CEO
West Virginia Primary Care Association
1700 MacCorkle Avenue, SE
Charleston, WV 25314
www.wvpca.org | 304.346.0032


Community Health Centers Welcome Mark Zuckerberg to West Virginia

On Sunday, September 25th, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, joined a meeting at the Cabin Creek Health Center with leadership of the Primary Care Association, clinicians and leaders from Cabin Creek Health Systems, FamilyCare Health Centers, New River Health Association and Valley Health Systems.

In 2015, Mark and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, created the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative   to advance human potential and promote equal opportunity through world class engineering, grantmaking, impact investing, policy and advocacy.  The focus of this meeting was to explore current challenges and opportunities for the delivery of primary care in rural healthcare. 

The free-flowing discussion at the health center located in Dawes, WV was wide ranging and included the following:

  • The mostly rural nature of WV and our special challenges with access to quality primary and specialty care: 
  • The successful work of communities across the state to organize locally controlled Community Health Centers to the extent that CHCs now serve 25% of West Virginians;
  • Using community health centers to expand the availability of outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT);
  • CHCs providing care management and self-care support of diabetics;
  • To address the hepatitis C epidemic, health centers are collaborating with WVU specialists to provide regular consultation and education to support rural clinicians offering hepatitis care;
  • Integrating behavior health and medical care to address barriers to mental health care;
  • Recognizing and addressing social determinants (lack of adequate housing, food insecurity, domestic violence) that prevent patients from focusing on personal health;
  • Expanding the work of school-based health centers to strengthen the resiliency and capacity of students to manage current adverse events and;
  • Limited internet access in rural areas and the lack of economic diversification topped off the 2-hour meeting.

Mr. Zuckerberg agreed with the group that social media could play a much larger role in connecting medical providers and health education with patients and community members with chronic conditions and help families and youth with the drug addiction problem.

The attendees were deeply grateful for the opportunity to share stories about the strengths and challenges of delivering primary care in rural West Virginia.


West Virginia community health centers provide primary care, behavioral health, oral health, vision, pharmacy, and school-based health services to nearly one in four of the state’s residents. 



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