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Stacey Whanger

May 2015: Stacey Whanger, MPH

Stacey Whanger serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEO) of WVCTSI. Stacey received her bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2006 and her master’s degree in Public Health from West Virginia University in 2009. She joined the WVCTSI in 2013. Stacey works with communities to identify and address health related needs facing their citizens and assists in establishing partnerships between communities and organizations that can offer local support to the project. She works closely with the West Virginia Practice-Based Research Network and establishes community partnerships to collaborate with them in their research efforts. Stacey also assists researchers in designing and reporting research that addresses the specific needs of communities and creates useful information to use in real-life settings.
Stacey sat down with our communications team to speak about her work and her life outside the Institute.

Stacey WhangerHow would you define Clinical and Translational Sciences?

Clinical and translational science is going out into the healthcare settings and communities to learn how to develop strategies and techniques that can but used to improve the health and well being of patients in real-life settings. 

What does your position at WVCTSI entail on a daily basis?

The interesting thing about my job is never having the same day twice. I aid partners around West Virginia to provide healthcare improvements to the communities they serve. This support can come in a variety of forms geared around community engagement: from generating ideas relevant to the community needs, implementing research and outreach programs in rural settings, assisting in distribution of information, and facilitating communications between partnerships. Each initiative has a different set of needs and goals. My goal is to help communities meet their needs through a collaborative effort to the benefit of all partners.

What made you interested in Clinical and Translational Sciences?

I worked with a team of ophthalmologists and primary care physicians on a project toward my degree in public health. I was able to see firsthand how information gained from research can affect patient and clinical practices. The clinicians involved were able to address the needs of the patients and improve access to care based on the data collected. I wanted to carry on those ideas and continue to help communities reach their goals of health improvement.

Who has influenced your career the most?

There are so many people that have influenced me along the way. I have been fortunate enough to be inspired by previous and current co-workers, friends and family. As a student in the WVU School of Community Medicine, Dr. Ruth Kershner guided and encouraged me to pursue my goals enhance my abilities to provide that needed support to the public.

What has been your favorite event you attended through the WVCTSI?

My favorite event was the latest Connector event held in March. We were able to have great conversations with the healthcare community to show examples of the current work we are doing as well as find potential for future collaborations and ideas.

As the Community Outreach Coordinator within the WVCTSI, what is your main goal?

My main goal as Community Outreach Coordinator is to help communities wanting to improve the health of their citizens that may need support along the way. Although this support comes in a variety of ways, helping these communities to do good work is the most important thing to me.

What motivates you to come to work every day?

My family is the biggest motivation for me. Most of my family still live in West Virginia and are affected by many of the diseases and healthcare barriers that WVCTSI are actively trying to remedy through collaboration and research. I want my family and my children to live a healthy life in West Virginia.

What do you do with your free time?

I have a wonderful husband and two young daughters so most of my free time is spent with the family playing with dolls and play-doh. We enjoy family outings and trips to Disney World. I also enjoy photography and attending concerts and sporting events.

What is your favorite thing about the West Virginia community?

I have lived in West Virginia all my life. My favorite thing is the sense of value for family and friends all around the state. West Virginia is fortunate to have so many small towns that have embraced the idea of community. These communities care about each other and support one another to overcome obstacles.

 What is your favorite quote?

“A person needs to think that you care before they care what you think." -  Wes Moore, Author and U.S. Army veteran