Front row: Jennifer Canada, Certified CHW - Gateway Health; Lakendra Lipscomb, Certified CHW-PATHS; Cynthia Poteat, Certified CHW/ Care Coordinator - Gateway Health/Sovah Health; Tameka Coles, Certified CHW - PATHS; Marlo Burton, Certified CHW/Team Lead - PATHS; Joyce Samuel, CHW - Gateway Health. Back row: Dawaun Carter, Certified CHW - PATHS; Johnny Mills, Certified CHW/Community Paramedic - Danville Life Saving Crew; Stephens Coles, Certified CHW - PATHS; Keith Carroll, CHW/Community Paramedic - Danville Life Saving Crew; Martina Tatum, Certified CHW/Team Lead - Gateway Health; Vernel Salley, Certified CHW - Gateway Health. Not Pictured: Chaquita Chappell, Certified CHW - PATHS, Latoya Jones, Certified CHW - Compassion Health Care Other partners not pictured: Caswell County EMS, Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services, Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Courtesy of IALR.

Here’s a round-up of business (and sometimes other) news from around Southwest and Southside. Send items for possible inclusion to

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Danville health project expands

The Regional Engagement to Advance Community Health (REACH) Partnership, begun as the former Community Health Worker (CHW) Project, will expand resources and services to more wholly address health disparities in the Dan River Region, thanks to a $6.3 million grant award from the Danville Regional Foundation.

“The name change from the Community Health Worker Project to REACH is intentional,” said Dr. Julie Brown, a leader of REACH and Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). “REACH is a strategic effort to bring disparate and siloed providers together, creating a system of care that drives positive population health outcomes at a reduced cost, improving the quality of life for everyone.”

The REACH Partnership represents the next iteration of the CHW Project, which was originally designed (in cooperation with The Health Collaborative) to improve health outcomes for residents at the highest risk for chronic disease, increase the number of individuals who seek appropriate healthcare services, and create a career pathway for healthcare workers. REACH will continue this work and will expand it to address the systematic barriers preventing positive health outcomes and create a system of care that provides equitable access to all residents in the region. REACH also provides holistic support through the clinical Community Paramedic role and the non-clinical CHWs, who work to address the social determinants of health.

REACH’s expanded, systems-based approach will include nine partners, an increase from the original four of the CHW Project. IALR will serve as administrator and fiscal agent, joined by Piedmont Access to Community Health Services, Gateway Health, Sovah Health-Danville, Compassion Healthcare, the Danville Life Saving Crew (DLSC), Pittsylvania County EMS, Caswell County EMS, Danville Pittsylvania Community Services and Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Some of the steps to be taken among partners will include data integration, alignment of resources and coordinated communication.

The project will also add nine new positions, including five new Community Health Workers, three new Community Paramedics (CP) and a Program Assistant. These new positions will work with the current CHWs, Care Coordinators, CPs (initiated by DLSC), Project Manager, and IALR and REACH organizational leadership.

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Dan Maguire. Courtesy of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech names December graduation speaker

Dan Maguire, entrepreneur and chief executive officer, will deliver the keynote address at Virginia Tech’s fall 2021 University Commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 17.

A 1994 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in management science, Maguire’s career began in the government industry, where he provided information technology and related consulting services to federal agencies. 

He went on to receive his MBA at the University of Georgia in 2002. He has since founded multiple technology startup companies, growing and ultimately selling them to strategic buyers. Now “intentionally unemployed,” he sold his last venture company in March 2020. 

Maguire serves in multiple capacities at Virginia Tech. He is a member of the Division of Student Affairs Alumni Advisory Board and the 2018 recipient of the Student Affairs Alumni Aspire Award.  He also serves as an alumni scholar of practice with the Thrive Living-Learning Community and is a member of the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs Advisory Board.  Maguire lives in Great Falls.

The University Commencement ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. and the Graduate School ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 17. 

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Diana Bianchi

Leader in prenatal DNA screening to speak at next Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture

Diana Bianchi, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, will deliver a virtual presentation hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in Roanoke.

She will discuss the impact of new prenatal screening techniques in a virtual talk titled, “Transforming Prenatal Screening: From New Technologies to Gender Reveal Parties,” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16.

Throughout her career, Bianchi has advanced non-invasive prenatal testing using blood tests, and pioneered the analysis of amniotic fluid fetal transcriptome – an emerging method used to evaluate gene expression changes and disease biomarker patterns during fetal development. In her role at NICHD, Bianchi oversees pediatric health and development research.

Bianchi’s talk is the latest in the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series, The series is named for Maury Strauss, a Roanoke businessman and longtime community benefactor who recognized the importance of bringing top biomedical and health scientists to the Roanoke community. The lecture is available to all free of charge via Zoom and live feed on the research institute’s website.