When Dr. Amanda Pennington first came to Elkins several years ago to visit her husband's family, she knew immediately that this was where she was going to live.
"I was just so certain. When I was offered the pediatric position at Davis Memorial I was very excited," she said.
Pennington already feels like it is a perfect fit. "I love the size of Davis Memorial Hospital; it has all the resources you need, yet is personal enough to know everyone by name. There's nothing worse than feeling like you are just a number," she said. "The hospital has a very friendly, family atmosphere and when you are starting out that's very important."
Pennington recently completed her residency as chief pediatric resident at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University where she also received her medical degree.
She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Marshall University as well.
While at Marshall, she completed an extensive research project on infant mortality in West Virginia, investigating five years of data on infant mortality, neonatal and pediatric intensive care departments throughout the state.
"Interestingly, the infant mortality rate in West Virginia is somewhat lower than the [national average]; however, the instances of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS has dramatically increased," she said.
This interest in pediatrics began as soon she started medical school. "I always knew I had a certain connection with kids and I especially enjoy adolescent care - perhaps because of my age," she says with a smile.
While it is extremely important to have extensive medical training and the latest technology, Pennington points out that "with pediatrics about 80 percent of what we do is educating the parents. It's very important to have that connection."
"I truly believe that it takes the whole family to keep a child healthy, just like the saying about it taking a whole village to raise a child. We really need to work on that as a community," she said.
Pennington had been active with several programs in the Huntington area to improve pediatric health including a program with schools called "Let's Get Moving." Childhood obesity is a significant concern of hers and she hopes to get involved with similar programs in this area.
"This is such a beautiful community, with a homey feel and a great respect for the outdoors," she said. She and her husband, John, will live in East Dailey where they are looking forward to starting a small farm.
After visiting Elkins many times over the last several years, including being married at Graceland, she is excited about putting down roots here.
"I'm looking forward to getting established and just simply getting out there to meet people," Pennington said. "My first priorities are being available to the patients and becoming part of the community."
Pennington will begin seeing patients on Aug.3. Her office will be located in Suite 304 of the Physicians Professional Building across from DMH on Gorman Avenue.