A message to the WVU Medicine family from West Virginia University Health System President and CEO Christopher C. Colenda, MD, MPH

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the West Virginia University Health System:

Before leaving the WVUHS, I want to thank you, again, for your dedicated work with patients and their families in times of great need, and for your collective commitment to the health of our West Virginia communities. You inspire trust and compassion every day.   

Leading this great organization has been an honor for me. I am especially grateful to the many people with whom I have worked directly over the past seven years as CEO and former Chancellor. There are simply too many to name, but as I leave, I want to offer special thanks to the WVUHS board of directors, my senior leadership and management teams, individual hospital leadership teams, our academic and community healthcare partners, and the nearly 12,000 associates who come to work every day. 

Together, we have made it possible to align the health system around the missions of transforming the health of West Virginians; educating the next generation of healthcare professionals; contributing to discoveries that make a difference in people’s lives; and improving communities through outreach and service. As evidenced by the sacrifice and service that many of you did during the recent floods, West Virginia needs you more than ever. Your continued efforts will create the virtuous flywheel of positive change, and I am grateful for your service.

My hope in becoming CEO several years ago was that I would build upon my predecessor’s good work and leave the WVUHS in a better place to meet the challenges of healthcare reform. With your help and excellent work, we have achieved much together, and there is much work to be done. WVUHS, under Albert Wright’s very talented and capable leadership, will continue to grow and be a dynamic organization of high purpose. I have great faith in Albert’s abilities, just as I do in yours.

The transformation I have witnessed in healthcare since becoming a physician four decades ago has been astonishing. The dizzying pace of technological progress has made inestimable contributions to therapeutic advances. Notwithstanding all the advancements in technology, the practice of medicine and delivery of healthcare remains a very human endeavor, one that requires talented and empathic individuals working together as a cohesive team. Keep this commitment in your hearts, and it will be your moral compass.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the WVU Medicine team is the best – and for that, you should be very proud.

So as my bride of 40 years and I move on to the next stage of our lives, I am reminded of the lyrics from an old, bluesy song by the Doobie Brothers…”Rockin’ Down the Highway.”

Got those highway blues, can’t you hear the motor runnin’.  Flyin’ down the road with my foot on the floor…”

Godspeed and thank you!

Read the June 15 announcements regarding Dr. Colenda's retirement.