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WVCTSI announces Community Engagement and Outreach Core leadership changes

Kennedy-Rea and Sheppard to serve as core director and co-director

The West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) is pleased to announce the naming of two leaders in clinical and translational research to direct its Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core. Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, EdD, has been named core director and Brianna Sheppard, PhD, MA, has been named co-director of the core.

Dr. Kennedy-Rea currently serves as associate director for cancer prevention and control in the WVU Cancer Institute and the associate director for the Mountaineer Health Initiative. She most recently served as the co-director of WVCTSI’s CEO Core. Dr.  Sheppard is currently the assistant director for the Institute for Community and Rural Health at WVU.  Combined, Dr. Sheppard and Dr. Kennedy-Rea bring over 35 years of knowledge and experience in working with West Virginia communities to address pressing health concerns and issues.

WVCTSI’s CEO Core is home to many community-based initiatives, such as the West Virginia Practice-Based Research Network (WVPBRN) and West Virginia Project ECHO. The core works collaboratively across the other WVCTSI cores and partner institutions to involve community members in the clinical and translational research process.

“I am honored to assume this leadership role to further the mission of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core. We are committed to ensuring that the voices of West Virginians are included in clinical and translational research,” shared Dr. Kennedy-Rea.

Dr. Sheppard added, “The Community Engagement and Outreach Core has done a tremendous job empowering West Virginia’s communities to ask and answer questions important to them and their health. I am very excited to be a part of this team and this statewide effort.”

WVCTSI director and principal investigator Dr. Sally Hodder said, “We are thrilled that Dr. Sheppard will be joining our WVCTSI team. The experience that she and Dr. Kennedy-Rea bring will really help us continue to shape our research efforts to meet the needs of our communities. They put West Virginia first in everything they do.”  Hodder also serves as associate vice president for clinical and translational science with WVU Health Sciences.

Jay Mason, MPA, will continue in his role of assistant director of WV Project ECHO and Stacey Whanger, MPH, will continue in her role of assistant director of practice-based research for WVCTSI.

This change in leadership comes following Dr. Geri Dino’s eight-year tenure leading the core. Dr. Dino was critical to establishing the core’s initial vision, including the development of the WV Practice-Based Research Network, always ensuring that community needs and interests were front and center in WVCTSI programming.  Dr. Dino is director of the WV Prevention Research Center and a professor in the WVU School of Public Health. She will continue as a senior advisor to WVCTSI’s administrative core.

“We can’t thank Dr. Dino enough for her terrific work with WVCTSI. She is passionate about community-based research and that passion certainly helped to drive the growth and expansion of our work in communities across the state,” shared Dr. Hodder.

This transition will take place in August 2020.