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Mountain Health Network appoints new positions

Mike Mullins, FACHE, president and CEO of Mountain Health Network (MHN), has announced several director appointments for the system.

Key appointments include Nick Chinn, information system security officer, who has more than 34 years of training and experience in information systems, serving as the director of information systems at St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC) since 2015.

In his new role, Chinn is responsible for management of information security policies, procedures, standards, and related programs in support of the organization’s Information Systems Security Program. He received his bachelor of science in applied technology from Marshall University.

John “J.K.” Fife, MBA, director of supply chain operations, was named the assistant director of supply chain operations for MHN earlier this year. Fife previously served as the assistant director of materials management at Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH).

He will be responsible for planning, developing and controlling the acquisition and distribution of equipment, supplies and services to support the operation of MHN and its member hospitals. He received his master of business administration in strategic leadership from Amberton University and a bachelor of business administration from Marshall University.

Fife’s responsibilities will begin Jan. 1, 2021.

Denise Gabel-Comeau, MHA, CPHQ, CJCP, CBB, CCC-SLP, director of quality and patient safety, has more than 25 years of healthcare-related experience, serving most recently as the director of quality and performance improvement at CHH.

In her new role, Gabel-Comeau is responsible for setting and implementing an innovative agenda for improving performance and value in the delivery of clinical services by facilitating clinical leadership, supported by physician and staff engagement.

She received her master of science in speech language pathology from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas; a master of healthcare administration from the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee; and a bachelor’s degree in general studies in speech and language hearing from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

Gabel-Comeau is certified in healthcare quality by the National Association of Healthcare Quality, a certified Joint Commission professional, a certified Lean Facilitator and a Six Sigma Black Belt. She is also a certified speech-language pathologist through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Holly A. Mount, MSN, RN, CPXP, director of patient experience, has served as the patient experience manager at Cabell Huntington Hospital since 2016.

In her new system position, Mount is responsible for leading a team of professionals focused on ensuring that the experience for the patients and guests is consistent, seamless and exceptional.

She began her nursing career at CHH as a nurse extern in 2002, later working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

A certified patient experience professional, Mount received her master of science in nursing informatics from Walden University and her bachelor of science in nursing from Marshall University.

Jo Andrea “Andy” Watson, RN, DNP, MSN, CCRN, CPAN, director of organizational development and learning, has served as the director of Organizational Development and Learning (ODAL) at St. Mary’s Medical Center since 2016.

As the system director of ODAL, Watson is responsible for the coordination of educational programs within the framework of Mountain Health Network’s vision that align with the MHN strategic plan.

With more than 41 years of healthcare experience, she has worked as a nurse in intensive care, open-heart recovery, post-anesthesia care and interventional radiology and as acritical care educator.

Watson earned her master’s degree in nursing and doctor of nursing practice from Walden University, and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from West Virginia University. She is a certified critical care registered nurse and a certified post-anesthesia nurse.

Tufts recognized by Marshall’s shool of medicine

Third-year pediatric resident Lauren M. Tufts, M.D., has been named October Resident of the Month at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, announced Paulette S. Wehner, M.D., vice dean of graduate medical education at the school.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Tufts’ caliber as part of our residency programs here at Marshall,” Wehner said. “Her go-getter attitude has already resulted in three publications with a fourth one pending. Dr. Tufts has been instrumental in the development of the I-PASS process, which assists in decreasing miscommunication during handoffs between members of the same care team. She has done a wonderful job improving patient care through the development of safer handoffs.”

A Kenova native, Tufts earned her undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Marshall University, where she also earned her medical degree. She will complete her residency in June 2021 and is currently interviewing for a fellowship position in pediatric hospital medicine. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Alex.

“Dr. Tufts is a stellar resident,” said Audra Pritt, M.D., pediatric residency program director. “The faculty and residents at Marshall Pediatrics truly enjoy working with her.”

As part of her recognition, Tufts received a plaque and designated parking spot.

Atkins elected chairman of National Coal Council

The National Coal Council (NCC) has elected as chairman one of America’s foremost advocates of “coal for products” and developing alternative uses for coal beyond burning it for energy.

Ramaco Coal chairman and chief executive Randall Atkins has formally taken the chairmanship of NCC — the coal industry’s advisory group to the federal government — following a term as vice-chair that began in 2019. Atkins was originally appointed to the NCC by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in 2017.

Atkins is a member of the NCC’s Executive Committee and chaired a task force that issued a white paper to former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in 2019 on advanced uses for coal, including in the manufacture of many forms of carbon products and materials. The report, “Coal in a New Carbon Age: Powering a Wave of Innovation in Advanced Products and Manufacturing,” was delivered in May of last year.

In July 2018, Atkins testified in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resource Committee on the same subject, in a presentation titled “Assessing Alternative Uses of Coal.” The effort has garnered coverage from many mainstream media organizations, including Bloomberg and Axios.

Atkins has been involved in energy-related investment, management and financing for more than 35 years. He is also a member of the board of directors of the National Mining Association and the Kentucky, West Virginia and Wyoming coal associations. Prior to the formation of Ramaco, Atkins had a career in investment banking, private equity, and energy development. He began his career at Ashland Oil. Atkins holds a B.A. degree from Duke University and a J.D. degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law. He divides his time between Ramaco operations in Lexington, Kentucky, and Sheridan, Wyoming.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at

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