April 20, 2023 – Three ARH employees recently traveled to Berea, Ky., to participate in a leadership program designed to help better their local communities.
Danielle Harmon, ARH Community Development Director, Corey Eldridge, assistant administrator at Middlesboro ARH Hospital, and Nicole Smith, ARH Kentucky River Region Community Development Manager, were selected for the Brushy Fork Institute’s People Ready Communities leadership cohort.
The trio will represent the healthcare industry during the six-month program that pulls together participants from a variety of business sectors in Bell, Perry and Floyd counties.
Harmon, selected to represent Floyd, explained participants work with others from their counties to choose and then complete a project that benefits their local communities.
“We have people in the community from education, healthcare, non-profits, utilities and other industries working together to create vibrant communities,” she said.
The goal, she explained, is to design and implement programs that help retain the current workforce while also attracting new faces interested in both working and living in those three counties.
Smith, who was chosen to represent Perry County, said she believes the program will benefit not only the communities at large, but also ARH as a whole.
“If we are making our communities more welcoming and creating more opportunities for folks to move into the area, obviously that is going to help us in recruiting staff and physicians,” she said.
“So, ARH has a huge stake in this and I look forward to seeing what comes from it.”
Although Harmon, Smith and Eldridge, who represents Bell County, are excited about the ways ARH might benefit from the projects, they also understand the importance for the communities in which they were not only raised, but also chose to settle as adults.
“It all goes back to the community,” said Eldridge, who has practiced law and served on the city council of his native Middlesboro. “This community has been very good to me, and I feel like I owe it all I can give.”
Harmon shared the same sentiment, adding she hopes the projects help pave the way for others to settle close to home.
“I want to make sure my daughter, who is 2 years old, is able to grow up in a place that is healthy and vibrant with opportunities,” she said.
“So, I’m just really excited to see what we come up with.”
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.