Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Appalachian College of Pharmacy moves forward in application process to offer a Doctor of Public Health degree

The Appalachian College of Pharmacy in Oakwood is seeking approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to add a course of study leading to a Doctor of Public Health degree. Currently, ACP offers a course of study leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

It’s one of the first formal collaborations between ACP and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) stemming from a June 2020 agreement with the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation, of Roanoke, which then resulted in ACP and VCOM becoming sister institutions.

SACSCOC will examine ACP’s application for substantive change to offer the new degree, which could be approved to be offered as early as fall 2023.

Under the terms of the agreement which made ACP and VCOM sister institutions, the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation is providing $5 million to ACP for the purposes of establishing the new Doctor of Public Health program and other new programs; and to build a new laboratory at Oakwood.

A link to the application for that post will be posted on ACP’s website at in the near future.

In a statement, ACP President Mickey McGlothlin said the offering of the Doctor of Public Health degree is one more step toward enhancing the ability of ACP to fulfill its mission. The mission of the college is to improve the general health and well-being of rural or underserved populations, particularly vulnerable populations within central Appalachia by educating pharmacists who embrace knowledge and technology to optimize pharmacists-delivered patient care and health outcomes in an interdisciplinary health care environment. 

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A rendering of the tourism center planned for St. Paul. Courtesy of VCEDA.

VCEDA issues grant for tourism center in St. Paul

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund has awarded a grant of up to $50,000 to be used toward financing the development and construction of the new Three Rivers Destination – Discovery Center in St. Paul was recently closed with the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority.

“The construction of the Three Rivers Destination Center will result in the location of a regional tourism visitor center in VCEDA’s e-Region,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Having a one-stop location to provide information about the many tourism opportunities in our region will be beneficial not only to travelers, but to the various businesses and tourism assets in the region which will be marketed through the Three Rivers center. One new full-time job is projected to be added within two years, adding to the Heart of Appalachia’s existing employment of five full-time and two part-time employees.”

The Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority (HOA) was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1993 to “promote, expand and develop the tourism industries of this coal-producing region as a whole.”  HOA covers the same eight localities as VCEDA does —  Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

The location of the new center is on land adjacent to the Clinch River, just north of US 58A at St. Paul. It is planned to be used as a “gateway” center accessing the Clinch, the Guest and the Powell Rivers, then spoking out to other communities in the area. 

The new center will highlight the area’s recreational assets, help visitors plan trips and connect tourists with regional tourism amenities and related businesses currently numbered at 600-plus in the region which are responsible for employing more than 1,900 people with a payroll of $40 million throughout the seven-county, one-city region, VCEDA said in a statement.

The Three Rivers Destination – Discovery Center will be situated on an approximately two-acre site. The new building will feature a lobby/reception area, exhibit area, gift shop, conference room, restrooms, storage rooms and offices for HOA which will be relocated to the site.

“The Three Rivers Destination Center is a needed project in the Heart of Appalachia region because we lack that one place where a person can go to receive information about things to do in the entire seven-county and one-city region,” said David Woodard, HOA Tourism Authority executive director in a statement. “Each county may have a visitor center, many towns do and state parks do an excellent job with information for visitors. However, we are one of the only places in Virginia that does not have a regional visitors center.”

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Abby Simpson (center), class of 2024, with Lew Singer and Dotsy Clifton at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.  Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Retired ophthalmologist establishes medical scholarship

Lewis Singer, a retired ophthalmologist from the Roanoke Valley, has established the Lewis J. Singer M.D. Scholarship at the  Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine to be awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. 

“Medical education is a real reach for many families,” Singer said in a statement. “I’m grateful to be able to make it more affordable.”  He practiced in Roanoke and Lexington before retiring in 2010. Singer became involved in VTCSOM when it opened its doors in 2010 by participating in the school’s multiple mini-interview (MMI) process, during which applicants are interviewed in a round-robin style by faculty and members of the community.

The first beneficiary of Singer’s generosity is Abby Simpson, a second-year student at the school. Simpson studied neuroscience in college, then worked for three years as a research coordinator to help save money for medical school.

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NRCC SHRM program offered in February 

Registration is open for New River Community College’s online Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional of Human Resources program that begins February 17, 2022.

The SHRM Certification Preparation Course will prepare students pass the SHRM-CP exam, all in an interactive “live” virtual class environment.

The SHRM program is eligible for tuition assistance through the G3 program. This program provides Virginia residents who qualify for in-state tuition and whose family income falls below an identified threshold with tuition assistance. Additional financial assistance may also be available. To register, email Ryan Adams at or call (540) 674-3600 ext. 4435.