March 24, 2023

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Through a collaborative initiative between the West Virginia University School of Nursing and the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches, faith community nurses will be trained to provide access to healthcare in the areas that need it most.
This fall, the organizations will work together to offer scholarships and training to Marion County nurses, faith leaders and other interested individuals using the national Foundations of Faith Community Nursing curriculum. The professional practice of faith community nursing focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.
“We know that there is a church in just about every holler or coal camp or small community across West Virginia, and people can get to those churches,” said Dr. Angel Smothers, a clinical associate professor at the School of Nursing. “If we can provide nursing support at these churches across the state, we believe we can make a positive impact on the access to care issue we face due to our rural nature.”
Rev. D.D. Meighen, lead contact for the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches, said this partnership will be beneficial for the health and well-being of local communities.
“Healthcare is one of the most important priorities our church can provide,” Meighen said. “Through the partnership with the WVU School of Nursing, we can provide not only the spiritual aspect of caring but offer the emotional and physical needs of members and, in some instances, our community.”
The Greater Fairmont Council of Churches currently includes nine denominations, 26 churches and two campus ministries in the extended city, while having connections with churches and faith groups throughout the county. With an estimated membership of more than 7,000 in the Fairmont community and more than 25,000 in the county, the initiative with the WVU School of Nursing provides a way to connect with thousands of individuals from different faith backgrounds about scholarship and training opportunities.
Members of the WVU School of Nursing will participate Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a Disaster Preparedness Expo at the Fairmont Senior Field House, formerly the National Guard Armory on Mary Lou Retton Drive. Churches and individuals interested in additional information are asked to attend.
Additionally, a Zoom information session will be held Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. for those who are interested in learning more. While this session is geared toward Marion County, others who are interested in faith community nursing are also welcome to attend.
Funding for the scholarship and other Faith Community Nursing initiatives are being made possible through a contribution from the Rusty and Kimberly Hutson Family Foundation.
To learn more about Faith Community Nursing at the WVU School of Nursing, please contact Dr. Smothers at
CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing
Through a newly created student organization at West Virginia University Potomac State College, interested students can join “Faith Community Health and Wellness” to learn how to promote health and well-being in local faith communities and beyond.
The WVU Student Nurses’ Association will host “Hollywood Game Night” on Thursday, Sept. 29 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Fukishima Auditorium (HSC-N 1901). 
Through a medication-assisted treatment model, the West Virginia University Comprehensive Opioid Addiction Treatment (COAT) program has been supporting individuals in their recovery for more than 15 years.
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