Members of the Western community celebrated their new partnership with the Southern Ohio Medical Center family (SOMC) on Jan. 9 with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for SOMC’s new family practice located at Western Local Schools.

SOMC Western Family Practice, which serves the local community as well as Western students and staff, is located directly on the Western school campus. According to Pete Dunn, of Western Local Schools, this will make “health and wellness readily available for the Western community.”

“Representatives from the Ohio Department of Education were on hand to witness this pivotal moment, as Western and SOMC work together to provide wrap-around services for students and families in the community,” Dunn said.

“It was great to see your school, your community and the healthcare profession come together to celebrate a game-changing partnership,” said David Cloud, rural school liaison for the Ohio Department of Education, about the partnership between SOMC and Western. “I am not surprised that Western Local Schools are once again providing a stellar example of what it looks like when a community joins together to support the ‘Whole Child’ during their educational journey.”

“Local schools are the heart of many rural communities, making them a natural partner for expanding access to primary care,” SOMC Director of Medical Staff Services Rebecca Fite said. “These clinics are here to serve everyone, not just those affiliated with the school. They are open to the general public and able to provide the same service you would expect from any of our family practice locations.”

“It was important that we design these Family Practices in such a way that they could be convenient for both the public and any students that may need medical attention, while still maintaining the security of the school itself,” Fite said.

Jackie Pierson, FNP, is joining the new practice at Western schools as nurse practitioner. According to SOMC, she received her Associate of Science in Nursing at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro and received a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in Nursing at Chamberlain University in Downers Grove, Illinois.

A family practice for the community is also now open at Eastern Local Schools, SOMC Eastern Family Practice, and was celebrated with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 8. (See related story at or the Jan. 12 edition of the News Watchman.) The open houses at the new family practices gave the community an opportunity to meet the staff and take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Pierson can be reached at SOMC Western Family Practice, located at 7959 State Route 124, Latham, or by calling 740-493-1800. The clinic is open to the public, and its hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To schedule an appointment at any of SOMC’s family practices, you may call 740-356-CARE.

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