December 4, 2022

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – To celebrate West Virginia University’s School of Public Health’s 10th anniversary, a panel discussion was held on Oct. 28 at 11:30 a.m.

A panel of public and WVU health leaders gathered in front of the Okey Patteson Auditorium to discuss lessons they learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a total of five speakers that included:

  • Dr. Jeff Coben – WVU School of Public Health, Dean
  • Dr. Clay Marsh – Health Sciences’ Chancellor and Executive, Dean
  • Dr. Lee Smith – Monongalia County Health Department, Officer
  • Bill Crouch – WV Department of Health and Human Resources (DNHR), Secretary
  • Dr. Margaret Kitt – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthy, Retired deputy director of program

Lessons discussed were in five different perspectives which were:

  • Campus Level
  • County Level – Relationships were built to help make important decisions, policies had to be interpreted into work, and being aggressive in assessing people in the midst of a pandemic to figure out who is sick and needs help.
  • State Level – West Virginia learned to be self-sufficient, created strong and close team, Used all assets to prevent and foreshadow, and crisis communication.
  • Federal Level – Knowing what resources and gaps you have and make sure that decision makers know of them, be vigilant while watching for those who mentally can not take the pressure and help them, and having a good communication plan and team.
  • DNHR Level – How much everyone relied on one another to collaborate as a team, and how not everyone could deal with the pressure of working and handling an on-going pandemic.

“Understanding what’s worked over these last couple of years, and being able to apply that to the future, we think is really important,” said Dr. Jeff Coben. “And, we want our students to hear from it. These are the future leaders, so we want them to hopefully gain some insight in terms of how they can be effective in the future as well.”

Multiple students and staff members were in attendance to ask questions of their own, along with watchers online.

This event led into a 2 p.m. dedication ceremony to the new museum that has been built in honor of William A. Neal.

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