March 06, 2023 – Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) announced today the promotion of Melissa Cornett as Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications for the multi-hospital healthcare system. She has been the health system’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications since 2021.
As AVP of Corporate Communications, Cornett leads the day-to-day operations of the ARH Corporate Communications Department and provides oversight and support of all internal, external, executive, and crisis communications, as well as local, state, and national media relations efforts in collaboration with ARH leadership and other key departments.
“Melissa is an experienced, hard-working, and invaluable member of the ARH team,” said ARH President and CEO Hollie Phillips. “Her communication efforts have played an integral part in helping drive ARH forward for nearly two decades, and they will continue to do so as we move ahead in our mission to serve the people of southeastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. Melissa’s leadership is critical as we continue advancing internal and external messages across our system.”
Cornett has played a major role in the ARH System Communication and Marketing departments for the past 19 years.
She began her career with ARH in 2004 as a writer in the corporate marketing department and was promoted to Manager of Marketing and Communications in 2008. In that position, Cornett managed communications for the system and oversaw general marketing and service line marketing for the bariatrics, oncology, and cardiology service lines and the Rejuvenation Center medical spas.
In 2021, she was named Executive Director of Corporate Communications, and has since led the formal creation of an ARH Communication Department and overseen several key communications initiatives to boost internal communications while also working to increase the health system’s public profile through external media opportunities.
“ARH has been home to me for nearly 20 years now,” Cornett said. “From day one, it has been an honor to tell the amazing stories of our incredible people and share the tremendous growth our ARH system has seen while never faltering in its commitment to providing care to our communities.
“The worldwide and local events of the past several years have brought the critical importance of communications and streamlined processes in delivering information even further to the forefront,” she continued, “and I am incredibly proud to have been entrusted with helping lead these efforts. I am excited about the direction, support, and focus our senior leadership team has shown in continuing to build a robust culture of open communication inside and outside of ARH as we move forward.”
Cornett earned a journalism/English degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, KY, and spent her early career as a writer and reporter for some of Kentucky’s largest and most successful daily, multi-weekly, and weekly newspapers. She moved into public relations in 2001 as media relations coordinator for the Southeast Telephone telecommunications company in Pikeville.
Cornett and her husband, Michael, have a 10-year-old daughter, Avery, and a Maltipoo dog named Hazel.
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.