Leah Clark Payne, M. A. J.
Director of Public Affairs, MUSOM/MUSOP
A native of Charleston, Payne has worked for more than two decades in radio and television news, public relations and advertising, most recently as the media communications specialist in Marshall’s Office of University Communications.
She started her career as a radio news journalist at WTCR in Huntington before moving to Lexington, Ky., where she served as midday news anchor for WVLK-AM. She also served as a news producer for WKYT-TV in Lexington and as a broadcast information specialist for the University of Kentucky.
After returning to Huntington in 1996, Payne freelanced as a healthcare marketing writer for The Herald-Dispatch and also worked in the paper’s advertising department.
“I am very excited to begin working with the talented team of educators, clinicians and staff at both schools,” she said. “In my role as public affairs director, I look forward to serving as a community advocate to promote Marshall University’s commitment to better healthcare for all West Virginians. We are incredibly blessed to have the resources of a medical school and pharmacy school in our region. I’m excited to be part of it.”
Dr. Robert C. Nerhood, interim dean of the medical school, said, “We are delighted to welcome Ms. Payne as the new director of public affairs. She brings a wealth of expertise to this role with the added benefit of personal knowledge and experience with Marshall University.”
Dr. Kevin W. Yingling, dean of the pharmacy school, said, “The School of Pharmacy is extremely fortunate to have Ms. Payne as a member of our team. Her passion for Marshall, her connectivity within the region and her enthusiasm for this new challenge are particularly valuable attributes. We look forward to benefiting from her extensive experience and history of success as she assists us in promoting the school.”
Payne was presented with the 1990 Barry Bingham Senior Media Award for excellence in reporting on mental health issues during her time at WVLK. In 2010, she was honored as a Star Volunteer by the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce for her work with the chamber’s Downtown Live Committee.
She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism, both from Marshall.