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WVU faculty awarded CDC grant to help southern West Virginia communities build healthy futures

Improving the healthy lifestyle landscape in some West Virginia areas might sound like a tough task, but a group of passionate West Virginia University faculty and staff believe the secret lies in empowering communities and providing the support they need to take control of their own health.

Last fall, faculty from WVU Extension ServiceWVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences , and WVU School of Public Health and West Virginia Prevention Research Center entered into a five-year contractual partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and launched the Be Wild, Be Wonderful, Be Healthy project.

CPASS faculty members working on this project include: Eloise Elliott, Ware Distinguished Professor; Sam Zizzi, associate dean for research and Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor; Sean Bulger, professor and associate dean for graduate and online education; Andrea Taliaferro, associate professor. 

“The CPASS faculty involved it this innovative project are thrilled to work with the citizens of Clay and McDowell counties to find local solutions to increasing healthy living opportunities,” Elliott said.

Eighteen organizations across the two counties that are focused on improving access to healthy foods and physical activity in innovative ways have been selected to receive funding. These partnerships allow the project to expand its reach, gain a deeper connection to the communities and create sustainability.

“Our roles include providing assistance in implementation, evaluation, and communication as the Be Healthy team begins to work with 18 local contractual partners to make things happen,” Elliott added. “We plan to expand this opportunity to include more local partnerships in Year 2 of the initiative beginning in October 2019.”

Funded by the CDC’s High Obesity Program, Be Wild, Be Wonderful, Be Healthy is a community-based project that aims to create local solutions to our state’s health-related challenges by supporting projects in Clay and McDowell counties that increase access to physical activity and healthy foods. Since launching, the project team has been working with communities in these counties to identify local resources, build connections and give community members a voice.

To keep up with the Be Wild, Be Wonderful, Be Healthy project, follow @behealthywv on Facebook and Instagram. The project team encourages followers to use #BeHealthyWV to interact and connect with others involved in the project on social media.

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