Formerly the WVLTCP, we are now WVPEL, Inc.
Funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

What's new with the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living?

In December of 2014, the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living made the transition from an on-going project of West Virginia Community Voices, Inc. (WVCV) to becoming a non-profit corporation in its own right. We received official 501(c)(3) status with the IRS in 2015. We thank CommunityWorks in West Virginia, Inc. and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for their continued support.

We also thank the dedicated individuals and organizations that have supported our path and who continue to travel with us on this journey as well as those who will join us as we continue our mission “to foster and maximize opportunities for West Virginians to live, age, and contribute with dignity and vitality.” By becoming our own fully-formed entity we are now able to pursue additional avenues to advance this mission.

Please join us in welcoming the new members of the 2018 West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living, Inc. Board of Directors, pictured below. The newest members were elected during our 2017 membership meeting held in November of 2017.

Our membership continues to grow. Our newsletters go out to nearly 600 subscribers and our Facebook page now has over 750 followers. If you would like to become a member, please click HERE for additional information.

Tom, Kuhn, Chair

Mr. Kuhn is a Program Consultant for the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC)/ Partners in Health Network, Inc. (PIHN). His duties include Network/Program Development; Liaison for 32-member Rural Health Network, developing and sustaining collaborative relationships, responsible for hospital affiliation, Recruitment of new network members, Customer Service, problem solving and information sharing among network members.

He has had experience in a variety of capacities including time spent as an Interim Assistant Administrator for a Critical Access Hospital; Interim Director of Operations while building a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program in West Virginia; volunteer as Secretary for the CAMC Civic Affairs Council; and is currently serving as lead for the CAMC Tele-medicine program.

Tom is a past Board member of the West Virginia Rural Health Association; past Committee member for Boy Scout Troop 68; past Treasurer for West Gate Homeowner’s Association; and President of the Cross Lanes United Church Thrift Store Committee.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mars Hill University; Master’s degree in Community Health Education from West Virginia University, School of Medicine; and a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from California College for Health Sciences.


Vanessa VanGilder, Vice-Chair

Vanessa is the Olmstead coordinator for West Virginia. She began her position in October of 2014. She is a parent of a daughter with a developmental disability.

Ms. VanGilder is a member of the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council, the Fair Shake Network, the Central West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services Consumer Affairs Committee, and the West Virginia Behavioral Health Planning Council. She was the Fair Shake Network director for 3 ½ years.

She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking. She has a bachelor’s degree from WVU Tech and a Master’s degree in Rehab Counseling from West Virginia University.


Jenni Sutherland, Secretary/Treasurer

Jenni Sutherland has worked in various capacities in the aging field for over fifteen years. She currently serves as the Executive Director for Putnam County Aging Programs. 

Jenni has extensive experience working with home and community based service programs and the Older American’s Act.   She spent nearly ten years working for the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services as the Director of West Virginia’s Aging and Disability Resource Network (WV ADRN) and the Lighthouse Program.   She was responsible for statewide implementation of the Aging and Disability Resource Center initiative and played a major role in the development of a comprehensive on-line statewide resource database that is fully accessible to the general public 24 hours a day. In addition, she has administered various federal grants and served on numerous advisory committees and boards. 

Jenni is a West Virginia native with two children.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Marshall University and a West Virginia Social Work license. 


Melora Cann


Melora Cann is a retired teacher, having spent 31 years serving in the DoD overseas school system, the last 24 years in Vicenza, Italy. She moved to West Virginia in 2006 to be near family. She became her mother's full time caregiver at home until her mother's passing 2011. Since then, Mel has been active in church, as co-editor of their monthly newsletter, and in the community, including the Kanawha Valley Village People since its inception in 2012. She has served on their Board and is now their director of communications, publishing bi-weekly eBulletins and a bi-monthly newsletter. She now works part time at an engineering firm.

Greg Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter is the Director of Sales and Service for the WV Medicare Division of The Health Plan. He graduated from WV State University with a business degree and from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia with a master’s degree, cum laude, in Theological Studies. He is a Navy veteran, and his previous employment includes sales and service for Union Carbide/Dow Chemical; Coventry Health Care WV Medicare Sales Manager; and he developed the Senior Markets Division at Commercial Insurance. He is native West Virginian, raised on the West Side of Charleston.

Mr. Carpenter is committed to serving seniors and providing Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans to West Virginians. His knowledge and experience will be invaluable to WVPEL.

Nancy Daugherty

Nancy Daugherty is currently the Associate Director of the WV Geriatric Education Center (WVGEC) where she administers a federal grant funded program to improve the training of health professionals in geriatrics. The programs and interprofessional network ultimately improves the skills and expertise of health professionals who care for our state’s older population.  All programming and projects are interprofessional, capitalizing on the idea that care for senior is best provided by a team of health professionals working collaboratively. WVGEC is funded by West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, under the WVU – Research Corporation. Daugherty spent over 30 years in state government as a grant administrator, program coordinator, section chief and supervisor for federal employment and training initiatives in workforce development.  She was awarded the David Z. Morgan’s Award for Excellence in Geriatrics Education by the WV Geriatrics Society in 2015.


Patricia L. Hamilton


Patti Hamilton has served as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Association of Counties since October, 1997.  Her work experience includes several years as a high school teacher, a small business owner, and as a Utilities Analyst and legislative liaison for the WV Public Service Commission. She is a cum laude graduate of West Virginia University and earned a master’s degree in Management/Public Administration from the West Virginia Graduate College. She is nationally certified by the American Society of Association Executives as a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia and the County Leadership Institute, sponsored by the National Association of Counties. 

She is Past President of the National Council of County Association Executives and the Conference of Southern County Associations (15 states). She is currently Vice President of the WV Society of Association Executives. Accomplishments of the WV Association of Counties under her tenure include the founding of the Local Government Leadership Academy (now Community Leadership Academy) in collaboration with West Virginia University, the implementation of the WVACo Dental/Vision Benefit Plan in 2000, and the creation of the WV Counties Risk Pool in 2007.  The most recently completed project is the making of a video tribute for WV PBS, “Living Monuments - The West Virginia County Courthouse” which won the 2011 “Spirit of West Virginia” Award from the Division of Tourism and was nominated for an Emmy. The movie led to a project that resulted in a full-color book featuring all 55 county courthouses, published in time to celebrate WV’s 150th birthday.  

Raised in Oak Hill, Fayette County, Patti resides in Charleston with her husband Dave Higgins and is proud to say that all three of her sons are WVU graduates!


Joanne Martin


Ms. Martin is the social worker for Valley Health- Hampshire Memorial Hospital in the small town Romney, WV. Hampshire Memorial is a 14 bed critical access hospital and a part of the Valley Health System network.She is responsible for various units including; Medical/Surgical, Emergency Room, Multi-Specialty Clinic, and Long Term Care. Some of her duties include discharge planning, admission coordinating, and crisis intervention. On their long term care unit, she oversees social services for 30 residents.Ms. Martin is the chair for the ethics committee and the co-chair of the Community Needs Assessment Work Group.  Her past positions include in home therapy for at-risk youth and substance abuse counseling, crisis advocate for a women’s domestic violence shelter, and supervisor at a group home for intellectually disabled elderly adults.

Ms. Martin grew up in Garrett County, Maryland and that’s where her passion to serve small town, rural America began. She now lives in Burlington, WV with her husband and their fur baby, Lulu. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Frostburg State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University. She has been a licensed social worker for 5 years.


Kyla Nichols


Kyla Nichols currently serves as the Program Director for the YWCA Shanklin Center for Senior Enrichment and Empowerment Homes for Women.  The first facility of its kind in West Virginia, the YWCA Shanklin Center provides permanent supportive housing for elder abuse victims, helping seniors to navigate the difficult physical, emotional and financial challenges that come with age, helping them to live in peace and with dignity. 

Kyla graduated cum laude from WV State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.  She is a licensed professional social worker with more than 12 years of experience working with seniors who are experiencing homelessness as a result of elder abuse.  Kyla is an active member of the Kanawha Valley Collective, a collaborative network dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness.  One of Kyla’s major focuses is joint advocacy among social service agencies to help strengthen West Virginia laws and bring relief to abused senior citizens through increased communication among law enforcement, government and service agencies, and our court system. 

Kyla currently resides in Kanawha County with her husband and 11 year old daughter.

Mary Skeens


Mary Skeens is currently the Executive Director of Community Works in West Virginia, a statewide housing network with a membership of 27 nonprofit housing providers serving low and moderate income families around West Virginia.  Since becoming its Executive Director she created the Campaign for Excellence, a leadership program designed to empower nonprofit housing managers; developed an Affordable Housing Internship Program; and sponsors the work of the WV Housing Policy Group and is part of a collaboration that hosted the 1st Annual WV Housing Conference in 2014. 

Prior to joining Community Works, Mary worked for FAHE, and held various positions at the West Virginia Housing Development Fund with the HOME Program in the Commercial Business and Development Department. Mary has over 35 years’ experience in housing and community development industry.  Mary is a Board Member and past-Chairperson of the West Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  She was the West Virginia Affordable Housing Hall of Fame Inductee in 2012.

Mary and her husband Jim reside in the Charleston area.


Ann Stottlemyer


Ann M. Stottlemyer is retired.  For 10 years she had served has a consultant to various health care related groups.  Prior to that she was the Commissioner of the WV Bureau of Senior Services, Director of State Services for WV Medical Institute, Commissioner of the Bureau for Medical Services (Medicaid), Deputy Director of PEIA, and various other non-profit or state positions in the areas of public health, mental health and aging.  She has an undergraduate degree from Bethany College and an M.L.S. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Chris Zinn RN MSc BSN


Chris Zinn has worked as a hospice nurse in West Virginia for more than 30 years and served as the first administrator of the Hubbard Hospice House from 2001-2007. She is currently the Executive Director of the Hospice Council of West Virginia, the state hospice organization. She serves on the Board of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care Advisory Board.

She has been involved with West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living since 2011 and has served on the Elder Transitions workgroup and Future of Aging and Caregiving Taskforce.

Chris lives in Charleston with her husband David and loves books, foreign films and travel.