10/08/2009

WVU official to lead veterans’ health projects

Hilda Heady championed rural health at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hilda R. Heady, associate vice president for rural health at West Virginia University, announced today that she will join a national research center aimed at improving healthcare for rural veterans.

In January, Heady will leave WVU to join Atlas Research LLC of Washington, D.C., as a senior fellow and chair of the Rural Health Research and Policy Group.  She will also join the research faculty at Georgetown University and work closely with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Heady has served for 17 years as the executive director of West Virginia’s statewide rural health education efforts, which have facilitated community-based training and successful placement of more than 1,000 health professionals. She is the former CEO of Preston Memorial Hospital and a birth center in Kingwood.

“I am excited about the challenge and working with the extraordinary Atlas/Georgetown team to help improve the lives of rural veterans and their families across the country.  I’ve worked in rural health and rural communities in West Virginia for almost 40 years.  The knowledge and skills I have gained through my work with the wonderful people of this state cannot be measured. I am so very grateful and hope that I can now take this knowledge to a national stage in working with rural veterans across the country,” Heady said. 

Fred Butcher, Ph.D., WVU interim vice president for health sciences, says the effects of Heady’s work have been felt in every part of West Virginia. “Hilda Heady has had a transformational effect on the way we prepare people for health careers in this state and has influenced the choices of countless students in the direction of rural healthcare,” Butcher said. “She was one of the first people in West Virginia to recognize the changing health issues facing our rural veterans. The passion she brought to this changed the way healthcare is delivered in our state and raised the national consciousness of rural veterans’ needs.” 

Even before her one-year term as president of the National Rural Health Association (NHRA) in 2005, Heady had turned her attention to the growing health problems of rural veterans and their families, particularly new veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. She led the NHRA’s efforts to change policies to better address the needs of what she called “our invisible heroes.”

Hilda Heady

Her expertise on these issues has led to invitations to testify before Senate and House Committees on Veterans Affairs, the Senate Committee on Aging and the White House Field Conference on Aging.  Last year, she was appointed to the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee, advising the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We are fortunate to have Ms. Heady join our team,” said Ryung Suh, M.D., Atlas Research CEO. “She has brought national focus to the issues that rural veterans and their families face in accessing care and has a national reputation and a proven track record in rural healthcare and policy.”

“Ms. Heady is recognized as among the top national experts in rural veteran healthcare issues,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the NRHA.  “As past president, Ms. Heady championed policies to improve care for our nation’s rural veterans. I am certainly excited to see that she will now focus her efforts on this pressing topic, and I look forward to working closely with her in her new role.”

About Atlas Research

Atlas Research LLC, a leading research and consulting firm, serves clients on issues of healthcare, public policy, and rural and veterans’ affairs.  With a network of experts, researchers and academic partners, this veteran-owned small business has worked with major U.S. government clients, corporations and nonprofit organizations across the world. 
 

-WVU-


09-291
For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
johnsa@wvuh.com
bc: 10-8-09

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