I have met some very interesting WVU alums recently, including Dr. Dino Beckett, , the mastermind behind Sustainable Williamson and George Bennett, a serial entrepreneur who started Good Measures, a company that focuses at nutritionally-responsive diseases, including diabetes mellitus.
I think they and others like them will help our state reach a better future.
Dino has done great work in Williamson and created Sustainable Williamson. On a recent visit to Morgantown, he shared his story with WVU students.
Dino is a West Virginia native, and attended WVU as an undergraduate. After his medical school training at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, he went back to Williamson, in Mingo County to practice. He found that there was a need for free care, better food and more exercise. To create a sustainable medical practice, he and his colleague Monica Niess, successfully navigated his clinic as a Federally Qualified Health Center. He and his team helped create a community garden, a farmers market and a mobile market to provide better food. The community created lunch and walk – and tied their daily hikes to an imagined trip across the U.S. on foot. The winning team walked virtually to Los Angeles. Citizens from nearby Marin, California were so inspited by this they decided they would virtually walk to Williamson, West Virginia – wow!!
Dino and Monica continued their journey and won a $2.2 million innovation grant Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This allowed him to hire community health workers to help his worst diabetics get better blood sugar control. This included going into their homes, helping them shop and understanding how to take their medications. In other words, his team is creating community for these individuals – a very human approach.
Together, Dino, his patients, and the community health workers lowered long-term blood sugar (measured by a HgbA1C) a staggering 2.2%. If a drug had half this impact, it would be worth billions of dollars a year.
Ultimately, Dino Beckett, Monica Niess and Sustainable Williamson won one of six Robert Wood Johnson Awards in the U.S., a staggering accomplishment .
George Bennett is another WVU alum who is changing the world for the better. He was one of three individuals who founded Bain Consulting. He is a graduate of WVU Statler College of Engineering and also has degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Tech. His new business, Good Measures, seeks to improve type II diabetes blood sugar management.
The company focuses on nutritionally-responsive diseases and couples assessment of nutritional balance backstage and trained nutritionists and dieticians front stage as expert coaches. His approach is also effective in helping these individuals.
Thus, Dino Beckett and George Bennett understand that great healthcare is not only coming up with precision tools and algorithms, but is a very personal business.
Trust, relationships and commitment to others is the approach that these two great alumni take. Medicine and health are personal, and these talented alums know this.
They are making the health of West Virginia better and are part of our goal to have our state create a health beacon for others to follow.