Didactic Modules

Scholars are required to complete one of the following modules each year.  All modules are designed to meet the 40 hour didactic requirement.

Please note that these modules only fulfill the 40 hour didactic requirement; they do NOT fulfill the 40 hour community based education requirement. 

Addiction in Rural Populations Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes. 

DESCRIPTION: The Addiction in Rural Populations module will provide learning opportunities about the etiology and models of addiction, the continuum of treatment options available for those with substance use disorders, and key principles of recovery and recovery management. The module also provides a full unit about opioids and the roots of the current opioid epidemic. Finally, the module will introduce students to self-help groups and their critical role in addiction recovery. 

ATTENDANCE: Scholars are required to attend one Narcotics Anonymous and one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a rural or underserved county in WV. Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Frankie Tack, AADC, CCS, NCC, Clinical Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Addiction Studies Minor in the Department of Counseling at West Virginia University. She has worked and taught in the addictions field for over twenty years, and is a West Virginia Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Clinical Supervisor.

Opportunity House

Children & Families: Complex Medical & Behavioral Challenges Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes. 

DESCRIPTION: This module will help Scholars understand the types of common psycho-social challenges that are typically faced by children with chronic medical conditions.  The primary focus of this module is on understanding how rural, Appalachian families may experience things differently than their urban counterparts. Concurrently, information on normal development as a backdrop for these challenges and the role(s) of the behavioral health and health professionals in assisting families in the management of these issues will be explored in depth.

ATTENDANCE: Scholars will identify a health care provider agency that works with families of children with chronic illness in their area.  Scholars will shadow the provider for a day as families of children with chronic medical conditions are cared for. Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Marianna Linz, PhD., Marshall University Department of Psychology Chair and Professor. She has been with Marshall University for 28 years, and holds expertise in Developmental and Clinical Psychology and Substance Use Disorder.  

Community-Based Chronic Disease Prevention Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes. 

DESCRIPTION: Scholars will identify strategies for effective community-based chronic disease prevention and explore existing initiatives that work to improve health in West Virginia; Scholars will also participate in hands-on experiential learning through immersive experiences within WV's communities. Additionally, scholars will reflect on the role(s) that they can play in preventing chronic diseases and creating change in communities.  

ATTENDANCE: As part of this module scholars will have the opportunity to attend a minimum of one, no more than two, of the following four immersive experiences.  These immersions include hands on experiential learning through participation in rural health programs coordinated by WVU Extension and key partners across the state. 

  • Physical Activity Promotion and Recreational Tourism (Mon Forest Towns Project in Tucker County, WV): April 3-4, 2020
  • Addressing Food Insecurity (Mountaineer Food Bank Tour and Kid’s Farmer’s Market, /ClayBraxton County, WV): Feb 7-8, 2020
  • Nutrition Education (WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program in Wood County, WV): May 1-2, 2020
  • Health Interventions (WVU CARDIAC Project, Lincoln/Logan County): November 15-16, 2019

Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Lauren Prinzo, MPA, Community and Economic Development Specialist with West Virginia University's Extension Services. She has expertise in designing, implementing, and evaluating community-based health programs.

Community Rural Immersion Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes. 

DESCRIPTION: Scholars will participate in an interprofessional community-based activity lasting 3-4 days in an underserved or rural area of West Virginia.  This includes community based experiential and clinical learning activities and culminates in a recommended plan of action for addressing a healthcare need (ex: access to services, nutrition, diabetes, etc.). In addition to the immersion, students will engage in additional activities as required by the online module. 

ATTENDANCE: Scholars enrolled in this module must attend ONE of the following immersion activities in order to fulfill the requirements of this module:

  • Rural Tourism/Outdoor Rescue: November 13, 2019 -November 15, 2019
  • Chronic Disease Management in Rural Communities: Tentatively scheduled for January 6, 2020 - January 7, 2020.
  • Nutrition in Rural Communities: Tentatively scheduled for one of the following weekends: April 3-5, 2020 or April 17-19;dates will be narrowed down shortly. 
  • Rural Opioid Misuse: March 27-29, 2020
  • Rural Trauma Informed Care: Tentatively scheduled for May 21, 2020 - May 23, 2020
  • Rural Social Determinants of Health: May 29, 2020 - May 31, 2020

*NOTE: All immersions occur in various parts of WV. Please pay careful attention to immersion dates, times, and locations. 

Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Treah Haggerty, MD.  Dr. Haggerty is an Assistant Director in the Department of Family Medicine at WVU and Co-Director of the WVU School of Medicine Rural Track. 

Photo of AHEC Scholars at Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, WV

Cultural Competency Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: No.

DESCRIPTION: Scholars will engage in various opportunities to establish cultural competency with respect to patient care in rural and underserved areas of West Virginia.  This module utilizes a public health framework that is based on the interdependence between medicine and public health; participants are encouraged to think critically and reflect on contemporary challenges in health, healthcare, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, education, wellness and practice.  Moreover, this module is designed to prepare you to view the populations you serve, and those with whom you collaborate, through a culturally appropriate lens. 

ATTENDANCE: No in-person activities required. Scholars are required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Linda Alexander, EdD.  Dr. Alexander is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic, Student and Faculty Affairs and Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences for the WVU School of Public Health.

Williamson Health & Wellness Rural Immersion

Health Policy Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes. 

DESCRIPTION: Scholars will gain insight into the formulation and implementation of health policy in the state of West Virginia.  This module focuses on a basic understanding of civics, takes a deep-dive into the state of West Virginia's (and the nation's, as a whole) health, and notes what each Scholar's role as a provide can (should?) include. Scholars will also participate in part of the West Virginia 60-day legislative session in Charleston; there, Scholars will take part in the legislative process, and if comfortable, may be able to testify before a committee of the West Virginia Legislature. 

ATTENDANCE: Scholars are required to travel to the State Capital in Charleston for a minimum of three days in order to fulfill the requirements of this module.  Specific dates are to be arranged between the Scholar and course instructor upon module enrollment, but will occur during the Legislative Session that runs from January 8 - March 7, 2020. Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Danny Scalise, MBA, MPH. He is certified in Public Health by the national Board of Public Health Examiners, and is the Executive Director for the West Virginia State Medical Association. 

Northern AHEC Rural Immersion

Interprofessional Education Module

AVAILABILITY: This module is only available to Second year Scholars; enrollment deadline for second year Scholars (for this module specifically) is September 14, 2019

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes/No. Scholars who are based at institutions outside of WVU are required to travel to WVU's Morgantown campus for ALL sessions noted below (see attendance).  Scholars based at WVU Morgantown need not travel. 

DESCRIPTION: Scholars will participate in interprofessional (IPE) activities that focus on various healthcare topics.  Additionally, scholars will engage in reflection, application of knowledge and skills, respectful communication, and gain experience in IPE education.

ATTENDANCE: Scholars must attend ALL 6 sessions listed below in order to fulfill the requirements of this module:

  • Session 1 - September 30, 2019
  • Session 2 - November 4, 2019
  • Session 3 - November 18, 2019
  • Session 4 - February 17, 2020
  • Session 5 - March 23, 2020
  • All IPE Week Activities: April 13-17, 2020

Scholars are also required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Gina Baugh, PharmD.  Dr. Baugh is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Director of Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences at WVU's School of Pharmacy, and the Director of Interprofessional Education for the WVU Health Sciences Center.

SoD Students at IPE Week

Substance Use Disorder: Pregnant and Parenting Women

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Yes.

DESCRIPTION: This module focuses on Scholars' understanding of the course of addiction, the unique impacts it has on the psycho-social functioning of women who are pregnant and/or parenting, and on the psycho-social and cognitive development of their children. Treatment approaches and public health interventions will also be discussed in detail, and Scholars will participate in a two-day immersive experience in Huntington, WV (dates TBD). 

ATTENDANCE:  Scholars are required to attend a two-day immersive experience in Huntington, WV; there, Scholars will shadow in agencies that provide services to women with addiction, as well as services for their families. Scholars will also engage in discussion with health professionals and families of children with chronic medical conditions.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Marianna Linz, PhD., Marshall University Department of Psychology Chair and Professor. She has been with Marshall University for 28 years, and holds expertise in Developmental and Clinical Psychology and Substance Use Disorder.  

Social Determinants of Health

Veterans in Rural Healthcare

AVAILABILITY: This module is available to First and Second year Scholars.

TRAVEL REQUIRED: No.

DESCRIPTION: This course emphasizes the establishment of a knowledge base regarding rural Veterans and focuses on increasing cultural competency in working with this population in community based healthcare settings. Moreover, implications for rural health professionals when caring for these sometimes invisible heroes, and the layered complexity of challenges faced by rural veterans and their families, are discussed in detail. Concurrently, content focuses on the social determinants of health outcomes for these Veterans and their families, as well as the role of rural and minority people in military service, their social, health, psychological needs, and various means of advocacy for improved services for this special population. 

ATTENDANCE:  No in-person activities are required. Scholars are required to regularly log into SOLE to complete the online learning units and associated assessments.

MODULE INSTRUCTOR: This module is taught by Hilda R Heady MSW, current Senior Fellow with Atlas Research LLC and the former associate vice president for Rural Health at the Robert C Byrd Health Sciences Center at WVU. Heady has 44 years-experience in working in a variety of roles in rural health and social work to include working with rural Veterans, homeless Veterans, at risk women and pregnant and parenting teens, health care administration, higher education and training and rural community development. 

Students looking at map of a WV Cave