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Building a Vibrant Community — The Vital Role of Healthcare Providers

ELKINS — If there’s one type of organization in any community that touches every citizen, it’s the local healthcare providers. A vibrant community needs strong healthcare providers, and strong healthcare providers need a vibrant community. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

Vibrant communities need access to good primary care and specialists. Our neighbors, friends, and families benefit from quality, affordable care close to home. Healthcare systems tend to be a top employer, as well, offering good jobs with solid pay and benefits.

Businesses often use a strong healthcare system as a magnet to attract talent. Likewise, recruitment and retention of physicians is challenge in many areas of the country. To attract great physicians, communities need to be vibrant. Physicians and their families are just like everyone else: they want high-performing schools, a variety of great neighborhoods, and fun and exciting downtowns. In a vibrant city, local talent — nurses, respiratory therapists, and other healthcare providers — doesn’t leave. They live, work, play, and stay in the community. These people aren’t as movable or likely to be recruited away.

Healthcare providers partner with local organizations to bring better health to life. One example here in Elkins is the joint venture between Woodlands Development Group and Davis Medical Center to open the Grace Davis Residences offering independent senior living with on-site supportive services. Health system leaders are active in the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Mountain State Forest Festival, on local boards, and in various leadership capacities.

Healthcare professionals are naturally caring, compassionate, and civic-minded people. They not only treat the symptoms of community ills, but also tackle the root causes to contribute to community health and well-being. In partnership with the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce’s Vibrant Community Early Childhood Brain Development Task Force, Davis Medical Center is working to create a language-rich environment by enrolling all newborns in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and offering a provider-based literacy program — Reach Out and Read.

Healthcare providers owe it to themselves, their employees, and, of course, their patients to help create and sustain vibrant, healthy communities.

This article is based on Chapter 12, The Vital Role of Healthcare Providers, from “Building a Vibrant Community” by Quint Studer. Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of the book available to those who are interested.

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