Last week, a group of us from the WVU Health Sciences Center had the privilege of meeting with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, her staff, a leadership group from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and colleagues from Marshall University, West Liberty University, and Bluefield State.

The meeting was to discuss the impact of the IDeA (Institutional Development Award) program from NIH, which gives states with historically low funding additional chances to build infrastructure that positions them for competitive research.

The senator and her staff invited the leadership of the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) – Drs. John Lorsch and Fred Taylor. As the director, Dr. Lorsch supports this program of competitive investment in 22 states, including West Virginia and Puerto Rico. Dr. Taylor helped create this program and has championed it through several directors. Drs. Lorsch and Taylor get it – the purpose of the NIH is to improve the lives of America’s citizens. This enables all states to participate in the goal of discovery to community to home to person – improving the health of our country.

In addition to these terrific leaders from NIH, we also had the pleasure of hosting Senator Capito and her staff. She is an impressive person and leader who is carrying the purpose of her father Arch Moore forward as a champion for West Virginia. Although her dad and mine did not see eye to eye, I think they would be proud of us for our work and focus on West Virginia. She is an abundance thinker, with a service- and purpose-oriented mindset. Her staff is also terrific, and I would say that West Virginia hit a home run here.

While it was great to host Senator Capito and the NIGMS leadership, I was just as happy to see leadership from Marshall, West Liberty, and Bluefield State come together with leadership from WVU. The talent in the state is impressive, and the spirit wonderful.

I am so proud of our team representing the Health Sciences Center and the University, but I was even more proud to see the energy, collaboration, and eye to the future – for West Virginia, for the country, and for the world. Mentors, scientists, clinicians, and administrators are coming together with a single purpose – to improve health and to change the world.

The power of One West Virginia is beginning. It is going to be fun.