One of the most compelling reasons I am so excited to be back at WVU is the uniform commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to serve the state of West Virginia and to improve the health of its citizens. This is a major part of the “why” of WVU. A clear, shared understanding of why we do what we do is the foundation of a truly special organization.

WVU’s Mission:

As a land-grant institution in the 21st century, WVU will deliver high-quality education, excel in discovery and innovation, model a culture of diversity and inclusion, promote health and vitality, and build pathways for the exchange of knowledge and opportunity between the state, the nation, and the world.

Across all of WVU – not just at the Health Sciences Center – the University’s duty to improve the health of our state’s citizens is woven throughout our educational, research, and community service activities. It’s our “why.”

Simon Sinek, in his TED talk suggests that great people and organizations start with why, instead of how or what. Their why is the central reason that they exist. The why is their true north of all their efforts – and the how and what become merely the means to express and realize the why.

We have to approach this duty boldly. The health issues we face can’t be addressed with timid steps – as Mountaineers we need to act decisively, take risks, and lead our state forward.

But leading doesn’t mean going forward alone. If we look honestly at our health environment, we are compelled to seek collaboration and connection with people and institutions across the state. It’s the only way to reach every citizen with the healthcare that is accessible, affordable, and understandable.

We believe that a collaborative, connected network of care linking hospitals, clinics, YMCAs, extension agents, churches, businesses, and individuals to one another will reach and help all West Virginians.

Community health systems focus on their local population. WVU Healthcare focuses on all of its communities. Working together we can create and provide complementary capabilities in community health systems, like specialized care and services, research to uncover the next set of solutions, and education to weave these approaches into the fiber of future healthcare workers. In this way, we ensure we offer the very best to our state’s citizens.

Connection and collaboration are revolutionary ideas for some people. But they are natural paths for West Virginians. Together we can prevent disease and facilitate health for our people. While that may seem daunting, our job will be to make better health simple and achievable for everyone.

Let’s go, Mountaineers!