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Senior program director named

Darling

HURRICANE — The Center for Rural Health Development (The Center) is excited to announce that Elaine Darling, former Senior Program Manager of West Virginia Immunization Network, will now fill the role as Senior Program Director for the nonprofit organization.

Darling has a wide range of experience in the health care realm having worked closely with the prevention side of public health in substance abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS education and in immunization.

Prior to becoming Senior Program Director for The Center, Darling managed the West Virginia Immunization Network, a program of The Center and a statewide coalition that is focused on improving vaccination rates and protecting West Virginians from vaccine-preventable diseases.

While serving in her previous role, West Virginia attained some of the highest vaccination rates for school-aged children in the nation — a success that Darling is proud of.

“Our kindergarten and most of our adolescent vaccination rates in West Virginia have reached and surpassed Healthy People 2020 Objectives, which are national objectives for improving the health of all Americans,” Darling said. She further added, “These high vaccination rates have protected West Virginians from vaccine-preventable diseases, especially during the recent measles outbreaks that occurred in 31 states.”

In her new role, Darling will primarily focus on developing and expanding The Center for Rural Health Development’s newest initiative — Wild, Wonderful & Healthy West Virginia, which is focused on creating long-term sustainable improvements in the health of our communities. This initiative supports local leaders in communities throughout West Virginia in building diverse and robust partnerships across business, government, health care, and residents to address the social determinants of health community-by-community. This is important work for our state, given that only 10 – 20% of a person’s health is determined by the care received in a doctor’s office or hospital, while the factors in the community where they live, work or go to school play a greater role in impacting a person’s health.

“This role enables me to use my experience in prevention and public health policy as I work with local community teams to make changes that lead to healthier communities,” she said.

The Center for Rural Health Development has strived to create a healthy future for West Virginia by improving the health and wellbeing of its residents and strengthen the state’s health care delivery system especially in rural and underserved communities. The Center is a private, not-for-profit organization that has provided leadership on rural health issues since 1994. Programs the Center operates are the West Virginia Immunization Network, West Virginia Rural Health Infrastructure Loan Fund, Institute for Health Care Governance, and Wild, Wonderful, and Healthy WV.