DHHR announces Healthy West Virginia awards

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health, Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease (HPCD) announced Berkeley and Kanawha counties as recipients of Celebrating Healthy West Virginia awards, which recognize advanced community-level commitment to supporting healthy choices.

Celebrating Healthy West Virginia is a collaborative effort by HPCD, WVU Prevention Resource Center, WVU Office of Health Services Research and Active Southern West Virginia. Applicants for this recognition document community-led efforts to inspire and connect West Virginia residents with information and resources that promote health and well-being by implementing policies, programs and environmental changes related to nutrition security, physical activities and tobacco prevention.

“West Virginia’s communities work hard each day to create healthy and happy environments for their residents,” said James Vance, HPCD Prevention Policy Senior Manager. “We are excited to celebrate their efforts and congratulate Berkeley and Kanawha counties for achieving the Celebrating Healthy West Virginia designation this year.”

Berkeley County’s application focused on lifestyle change programs offered to residents including Walk with Ease, Dining with Diabetes, and FARMacy; enhancement and expansion of walking and biking trails; clearly marked bike lanes; and its comprehensive Clean Air policies. The county’s paved walking trails increase trail accessibility for individuals with low mobility or who have physical disabilities, earning Berkeley County the additional honor of the Jessica G. Wright Health Equity Award.

Kanawha County’s application highlighted community and school-based gardens; organizational support from partners Keep Your Faith and United Food Operations to increase access to fruits and vegetables; multiple farmers markets, with at least one market accepting EBT/SNAP benefits, senior vouchers, and WIC; and access to walking and biking trails. Kanawha County received the Community Innovation Award for its commitment to testing, vaccines, physical activity and nutrition as part of the county’s COVID-19 response.

“Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, these communities went above and beyond, ultimately creating a brighter, healthier future for West Virginians and visitors to our state,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.

Celebrating Healthy West Virginia awardees receive signage and other materials to promote their commitment to policies, programs, and practices that promote healthier lifestyles. Berkeley and Kanawha counties will also receive funds to help achieve additional community health improvements.

To learn more about the Celebrating Healthy West Virginia program and how to participate, visit https://celebratinghealthywv.com/.

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