MORGANTOWN – Jackson Kelly attorney Taunja Willis-Miller received the award for Leadership in Rural Health from the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. at a luncheon Oct. 27 during the 19th Annual Rural Health Conference.
The award recognizes an individual for leadership and noteworthy initiative in improving access to and quality of health care in West Virginia's rural communities.
Willis-Miller is a member of Jackson Kelly in the firm's Morgantown office and works to improve the health and welfare of West Virginians through active participation in a variety of community activities. She serves as chair of the Board of the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center, a model for integrated services, as the secretary of the United Way of Central West Virginia, on the Board of West Virginia Health Right (the state's largest free clinic) and on the Loan Committee of the Center for Rural Health Development. In 1989, Willis-Miller was appointed by Governor Gaston Caperton to become West Virginia's first Secretary of Health and Human Resources. During her tenure, she gained significant experience in the area of healthcare - overseeing the department that includes Medicaid, the certificate of need and rate review agency, an acute care hospital and several long-term care facilities, the health facilities licensure and certification agency and public, community and emergency health services.
In her work at Jackson Kelly, Willis-Miller has a broad-based business practice. She represents hospitals, other healthcare providers, 501(c)(3) organizations and higher-education institutions in financial and other business transactions - including tax-exempt financings and organizational matters. Willis-Miller also works in the areas of economic development, bank financings and other transactions, low income housing tax credits and business immigration.
Willis-Miller is only the third recipient of the Leadership in Rural Health Award since its inception in 2003. Past recipients are: Beverly Walter (2003), Former Vice President for Programs at The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Margarette R. Leach (2007), former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Jill Hutchinson, chair of the Center for Rural Health Development's Board of Directors said, "In presenting this award, I am pleased to be able to recognize the dedication and commitment to West Virginia that Taunja has provided over her entire life. She is a leader that has made a real difference in our state."
The Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. was formed in 1994. The organization's mission is to ensure access to an appropriate level of health care services throughout rural West Virginia by helping communities maximize the health care resources available to them. It is within this context that the Center works to illustrate the linkages between health care and economic development. The Center reminds communities that quality health care is as important to the local economic infrastructure as are roads, schools, housing and utilities.
Jackson Kelly is a national law firm representing leading global corporations, national companies, entrepreneurs and individuals in areas of law such as environmental, business, labor and employment, federal and state workers' compensation, civil litigation and occupational safety and health. The firm has offices in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.