Archives 2020

Event poster for the December 2020 national meeting of the West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition and Rural Health Service Providers Network entitled "Deconstructing Silos - Increase Access in Rural Health" and featuring speakers Tom Morris (Health Resources Services Administration), Sean Bland (O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law), Michelle Perdue (Cabell Huntington Health Department Harm Reduction Program), and Daphne Kackloudis (Equitas Health). The event will be held on Monday, December 14th, 2020, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern

Community Education Group to Co-Convene National Meeting with Rural Health Service Providers Network

Event poster for the December 2020 national meeting of the West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition and Rural Health Service Providers Network entitled "Deconstructing Silos - Increase Access in Rural Health" and featuring speakers Tom Morris (Health Resources Services Administration), Sean Bland (O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law), Michelle Perdue (Cabell Huntington Health Department Harm Reduction Program), and Daphne Kackloudis (Equitas Health). The event will be held on Monday, December 14th, 2020, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. & RIVERSIDE, Calif. November 13, 2020 – The Community Education Group and the Rural Health Service Providers Network (RHSPN) will be co-convening a National Day of Advocacy on Monday, December 14th, 2020 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern.

Deconstructing Silos – Increasing Access in Rural Health will be convened in collaboration with the West Virginia Statewide Stakeholders Coalition (WVSSC), a project of the Community Education Group (CEG) based in Shepherdstown, WV. The WVSSC’s mission is Deconstructing Silos Between HIV, Substance Use Disorder, and Viral Hepatitis testing, treatment, services, and care.

This will be the first national meeting of the Rural Health Service Providers Meeting, which will begin convening regular monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of every month (excepting federal holidays), beginning in January 2021. These meetings will bring together speakers from federal, state, and local agencies to discuss issues relevant to RHSPs. More information will be released in the coming months, as the RHSPN plan for the first meeting of 2021.

Registration for the December meeting is separate from the regular RHSPN meetings, and interested parties may do so using the following links.

Speakers for the December National Day of Advocacy include:

Tom Morris
Associate Administrator
Office of Rural Health Policy
Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Photo of Sean Bland

Sean Bland
Senior Associate
O’Neill Institute for National
and Global Health Law
Georgetown University

Photo of Michelle Perdue

Michelle Perdue
Harm Reduction Program Coordinator
Cabell-Huntington Health Department

Photo of Daphne L. Kackloudis

Daphne L. Kackloudis
Chief Public Policy
& Administrative Officer
Equitas Health

Logo for the Rural Health Service Providers Network

The Rural Health Service Providers Network is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for and meeting the technical assistance needs of essential service providers serving rural Americans.

You can learn more about the Rural Health Service Providers Network by visiting their website and following them on social media using the following links

West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition November 2020 Meeting Flyer

WVSSC Meeting – November 9th, 2020

An image of the New River Gorge Bridge with the words "WV Statewide Stakeholder Coalition" above it

The November 2020 meeting of the WVSSC will take place on Monday, November 9th, 2020 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM

This month’s meeting features the following guests:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Photo of Dr. Neeraj "Jim" Gandotra

Dr. Neeraj “Jim” Gandotra
Chief Medical Officer

Photo of Dr. Jean Bennett

Dr. Jean Bennett
SAMHSA Regional Administrator
Region III

Substance Use Disorder

Photo of Stephanie Lancaster

Stephanie Lancaster
Director of Community Health Solutions
Indiana, Ohio, & West Virginia
Emergent BioSolutions


Photo of Shawn Balleydier

Shawn Balleydier
Assistant Director
Director of HIV Prevention and Care
Division of STD, HIV and TB
Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services
Bureau for Public Health/WVDHHR

Viral Hepatitis

Tiffany West
Gilead Sciences

Members of the WVSSC

Community Education Group Resource Guide Image of the New River Gorge Bridge at night with the words "Connecting You to West Virginia - The Resources West Virginians Need for SUD, Hepatitis, and HIV

Community Education Group Launches New Health Resource Guide

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV (October 19, 2020) – The Community Education Group has launched a new West Virginia Statewide Resource Guide that helps people in the state access resources for HIV, Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and Viral Hepatitis services.

This new digital Resource Guide lets users select their county of residence using an interactive map, which takes them to a dedicated page detailing the providers and organizations available in their area.

“One of the biggest challenges facing West Virginians is not knowing where to go when they’re seeking testing, treatment, or services for HIV, SUD, and Hepatitis,” said A. Toni Young, CEG’s Founder and Executive Director. “With this new guide, CEG is seeking to help West Virginians find the resources they need where they live, as well as to identify gaps in services which will allow us to develop better partnerships and strategies that will expand access to services to fill those gaps.”

The West Virginia Statewide Resource Guide continues to expand and seek input from CEG’s three primary stakeholder groups: Communities, Organizations, and Providers. Users may submit new or overlooked HIV, SUD, Hepatitis, and other resources for inclusion and listing under the appropriate county by filling out a simple form.

Community Education Group (CEG) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization working to eliminate disparities in health outcomes and improve public health in disadvantaged populations and under-served communities.

Community Education Group Distributes 2,000 COVID-19 Relief Kits Across West Virginia

18 Partners to Aid in Distribution

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV (October 20, 2020) – The Community Education Group has begun distribution of 2,000 COVID-19 Relief Kits in West Virginia through 18 distribution partners.

CEG’s staff, along with Milan Puskar Health Right and its clients, put together these backpacks on October 19, filling them with reusable masks, hand sanitizer, educational materials, a state resource guide, promotional CEG stickers, and gift cards to Kroger for the purchase of water or other needs.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit West Virginia, one of the first things we were told to do was to wash our hands,” said CEG Founder and Executive Director, A. Toni Young. “Some of the clients our distribution partners serve may be experiencing homelessness or not have running water, leaving them particularly vulnerable to transmission. We felt called to do something.”

CEG received partial funding for the contents of these Relief Kits thanks to generous donations from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (, the Community Access National Network (, and ViiV Healthcare (

CEG’s distribution partners include the following organizations:

Community Education Group (CEG) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization working to eliminate disparities in health outcomes and improve public health in disadvantaged populations and underserved communities.

New River Bridge Bridge Day Celebration

Community Education Group Forms West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition


Public Health and Community Organizations Join Forces to Combat Triple Threat of Substance Use, HIV, Hepatitis Outbreaks in West Virginia

New Coalition Will Take on Rising Infection Rates and Drug Overdose Deaths in the State

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 – The West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition (WVSSC) convened for the first time on September 1, 2020, to address West Virginia’s growing “syndemic” of HIV/Hepatitis C (HCV) outbreaks and drug overdose deaths. The group’s primary mission is to break down technical, regulatory, and administrative barriers that limit testing, treatment, and support across HIV, viral hepatitis, and substance use disorder [SUD] programs. Such barriers create “treatment silos” that fail to reflect the medical and social realities behind the interrelated health crises—and thereby impede effective intervention.

The meeting was convened by the health advocacy organization Shepherdstown-based Community Education Group (CEG). CEG formed the new statewide coalition aimed at stemming the rising tide of fatalities and HIV and viral hepatitis infections driven by West Virginia’s ongoing opioid crisis. 

“We are facing an unprecedented Substance Use Disorder epidemic in West Virginia,” said A. Toni Young, Founder and Executive Director of CEG. “An epidemic that is directly linked to our state’s highest-in-the-nation rates of Viral Hepatitis, to three HIV outbreaks in the past four years, and to the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation. It constitutes an immediate and ongoing threat to public health, requiring a proportional response. The West Virginia Statewide Stakeholder Coalition assembles the expertise and collaborative strategy to spearhead that response.”

The WVSSC will focus on expanding awareness, education, rapid testing for HIV and Viral Hepatitis, treatment for SUD, and linkage-to-care networks which refer those recently diagnosed with HIV or Viral Hepatitis to treatment resources. 

The first WVSSC meeting brought together 65 individuals and organizations including state government and public health officials, healthcare providers, national organizations, school board officials, community-based organizations, and others from across West Virginia. 

Representatives attendees for WVSSC include: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources; the Bureau for Public Health; the Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services; the Office of Laboratory Services; the Office of Drug Control Policy; the Doddridge, Marion, Marshall, Mid-Ohio Valley, and Monongalia County Health Departments; Berkeley County Schools; the Hancock County Commission; the Jefferson Berkeley Alliance on Substance Abuse Prevention; the United Ways of Central WV, Marion, and Taylor Counties; Community Connections; David Medical Center; the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council; Eastridge Health Systems; EnAct, Inc.; the Family Resource Networks in Fayette, Gilmer, and Jackson Counties; the Morgan County Homeless Coalition; the Regional Intergovernmental Council; the West Virginia Institute of Community and Rural Health; West Virginia University; and many other private and public community members from across the state.

WVSSC’s primary goals include: 

1.)   Working to deconstruct disease state silos between Substance Use Disorder, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis by increasing awareness, education, and building linkages to care and treatment networks;

2.)   Working to expand HIV screening, rapid testing, surveillance, treatment, and linkage to care throughout West Virginia, reaching into hard-to-reach and hard-to-treat parts of the states;

3.)   Helping to develop statewide elimination plans for HIV and Viral Hepatitis;

4.)   Developing statewide working groups focused on SUD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis;

5.)   Offering educational opportunities to Providers, Organizations, and Consumers centered around HIV, Substance Use Disorders, and Viral Hepatitis

NEXT MEETING: The next open meeting of WVSSC will be held on October 13, 2020, at 2:00 PM ET.  All are invited. Sign up by filling out the form at this address

People Worth Knowing – Monique Tula

This week’s #PeopleWorthKnowing interview features Monique Tula, Executive Director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition (NHRC).

Monique has devoted her career to lifting the voices of people pushed into society’s margins caused by capitalism and racial inequity. Central to her belief system is the deep awareness of our interconnectedness, regardless of individual circumstances. Her life’s work is a conscious manifestation of the belief that harm to one is harm to us all. She aims to live each day in the moment, in pursuit of balance, personal growth, and discovery—some days are harder to do this than others.

Mother of Christian, grandmother of Malcolm, and life partner of Adam, she lives in Los Angeles with her family and their two agro black cats, Necro and Mancer.

You can visit NHRCs website by clicking on the logo, below, and links to their various social media pages will be listed below.

Community Education Group & WVU to Host Statewide HIV Meeting

Presenters to include NIH and community health leaders
Monday, September 14, 2020

MORGANTOWN, W.VA.: Great strides have been made in recent years in the field of HIV and AIDS prevention and research. On September 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. national and community health leaders will be leading a virtual discussion on these advances and challenges that remain in West Virginia communities.

This virtual event will be divided into two segments. The first segment will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature a keynote address by Maureen Goodenow, PhD, who serves as the associate director of AIDS research and the director of the National Institute of AIDS Research. Goodenow will be followed by Ming Lei, PhD, who serves as director of the Division of Research for Capacity Building at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Following their remarks, a panel of West Virginia health leaders will weigh in on current research efforts and how they directly affect the Mountain State. In addition to Goodenow and Lei, Judith Feinberg, professor and vice chair of research with the West Virginia University School of Medicine will serve on the panel, with additional panelists to be announced. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the panelists.

At noon, the discussion will turn towards community efforts, led by a panel of health department and community experts who work daily to educate and treat West Virginians with HIV. Confirmed panelists include: Terrence Reidy, MD, MPH, health officer, Berkeley/Morgan and Jefferson Counties Health Departments, Michael Kilkenny, MD, physician director, Cabell Huntington Health Department and Laura Jones, MSW, executive director of Milan Puskar HealthRight. More panelists will be added as they are confirmed.

This event is the first installment of the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s “In Focus” series, which will center around specific health topics in fall 2020. The first session will be hosted in partnership with the Community Education Group, an organization working to foster community engagement in community-based research programs while giving a voice to people whose lives are directly affected by HIV/AIDS and other health crises.

This event is free and open to the public, particularly those involved in clinical care and HIV and AIDS research.

Attendees must RSVP at the event webpage. A link to the ZOOM webinar will be shared one week prior to the event.

COVID-19 Relief Package Distribution to Begin in October 2020

Image with organization logos arranged in a circle. The organizations included are:

Community Education Group
Harmony House
Good Samaritan
MP Health Right
Southwestern Community Action Council, Inc.
Community Action of South Eastern Wast Virginia
Covenant House
Change, Inc.
and the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless

#CEGInWV has partnered with 18 organizations across West Virginia to distribute 2,000 COVID-19 Relief Packages.

These packages will include a backpack filled with hand sanitizer, face masks, an educational infographic and resource guide, and a $5 Kroger gift card to purchase water.

The call for supplies was so great, we had to quadruple our initial order of 500 backpacks and 1,000 masks, request an additional 1,500 backpacks and 3,000 masks.

Because of the need for more supplies, we are currently awaiting that second order of backpacks and masks.

Distribution will begin in October 2020.

In just two weeks, we secured an unprecedented 18 distribution partners for our COVID-19 Relief Packages.

You can find a list of our distribution partners, below, as well as links to their respective websites.

Take the Opioid Treatment Program Moratorium Survey

In 2007, the West Virginia legislature passed a moratorium (§16-5Y-12) on the opening of new Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) that offer Methadone for use in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).

Since the passage of (§16-5Y-12), West Virginia’s opioid addiction crisis has raged out of control, leaving with the highest rate of Drug Overdose Deaths, the highest rate of new Hepatitis A infections, the highest rate of new Hepatitis B infections, and the second-highest rate of new Hepatitis C infections in the United States in 2018. In addition, Injection Drug Use (IDU) of both opioids, and stimulants accounted for 91 (62.3%) of the 146 new HIV infections in West Virginia in 2019.

#CEGInWV is asking providers, Community-Based Organizations, and individuals about the OTP Moratorium.