The National Center of Excellence in Women's Health has touched over 3,000 women across the State of WV and completed over 19,000 Health Screenings

What is WOW?

The Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (CoE) works with communities to develop community partnerships. These partnerships reach women of all social economic and ethnic groups and link them to the resources in their community through the Women on Wellness Program. The Women on Wellness (WOW) program started as a partially an interactive, one-day behavioral change retreat designed to help women make lasting, positive lifestyle changes for themselves and for their families. The retreat will give women the tools to assess their own health and build/plan their own journey towards enduring wellness. Now Women on Wellness wants to continue the this behavioral change and keep educating women through our online content and our wide-range of other community based programs, such as Women Love Your Heart and WOW 5Ks. 

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When Women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier, they are better fed, their income, savings, and investments go up. And what is true of families is true of communities and eventually, whole countries.
— Kofi Anon, UN Secretary General

Based on 5 Actions to Make Lifestyle changes

  • Feelings- Feel good about your body
  • Thoughts and Beliefs - Change how I think about my body. Focus on my positive attributes rather than being critical. 
  • Behaviors- Make behavioral changes that improve the way I maintain, move, and nourish my body. 
  • Consequences- Create a circle of positive reinforcement for my new behaviors and way of thinking. 
  • Impact on Others- Understand the impact my lifestyle choices have on others I care about. 

Women have the power to lead our state to healthier lifestyles.

  • Women age 50 and older control net worth of $19 trillion and own more than ¾ of the nation’s financial wealth.
  • Women 50+ years old are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation in the history of women
  • Women spend over $5 trillion annually…over ½ the U.S. GDP.
  • 70% of all new businesses today are started by women.
  • In a two year period, the number of wealthy women in the U.S grew 68% while the number of men grew only 35%.   The number of wealthy women investors is growing at a faster rate than that of men.
  • Women represent 51% of the population.
  • Women live an average of 7 years longer than men and represent 65% of the over 65 population.
  • Women make 80–85% of all consumer purchases from autos to healthcare Yet 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.
  • 80–85% of all healthcare decisions
    • 65% new cars
    • 93% food
    • 93 % OTC pharmaceuticals
    • 85% of all brand purchases are made by women.
  • 66% of women feel misunderstood by health care marketers.


Sources: Mass Mutual Financial Group 2007 and Demographics by Mark Miller;; Internal Revenue Service; The art and Practice of Branding; The spectrum Group; Source: The Power of the Purse, Fara Warner, Sources: 2004 Kaiser Women’s Health Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation; Kjerulff et al. Women’s Health Issues 2007; Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2000–2002. The Advisory Board Company (2006) Society for Women’s Health Research, (2007)


WOW Retreats

What are the main goals of the WOW Retreat?

  • To help women make lasting, positive lifestyle changes through our one-day behavioral change program which focuses on prevention.
  • Provide health screenings to make women aware of their current state of wellness.
  • To link each participant to resources in her community that can support her personal wellness journey.
  • To empower women with the knowledge that no two women start at the same place, and to teach each participant how to develop a set of goals and strategies.
  • To assist each woman in developing her own personal lifestyle plan.
  • To provide a safe and fun environment for participants that allow motivational interchange between participants and movement session leaders during a choice of activities that will help identify new and preferred forms of exercise.
  • To help participants develop personal strategies and make better choices with an afternoon that is focused on motivational, informational, and preventative education group sessions.
  • To ensure that each participant leaves with a personalized step-by-step strategy to improve her lifestyle and renewed energy to focus on improving her health through exercise, nutrition, preventive health, mental health, and chronic disease management.

What topics will be addressed at the Women on Wellness Retreat?

  • First thing in the morning, women will participate in health screenings such as blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, and glucose.
  • Throughout the day, women work through the Make “It” Happen guidebook which has been specifically written for the WOW Retreats.
  • Mid-morning women are provided with the opportunity to choose three movement sessions to help them to discover a fitness choice that is fun and productive for them.
  • Mid-day features a keynote speaker and a healthy lunch.
  • In the afternoon, women are provided an opportunity to choose three educational sessions that focus on preventive strategies to keep the body, mind and soul in balance.

What types of movement and educational sessions are offered?

  • Participants have the opportunity to sample a variety of exercise such as yoga, Pilates, strength training, stretching, and Zumba. These sessions are offered by local fitness instructors so that participants are connected to resources in their community.
  • Afternoon educational sessions focus on health and wellness and include topics such as breast health, stress management, how to start your own business, financial wellness, healthy cooking and much more. The afternoon sessions are led by local professionals so that participants are connected to these resources in their community.

  • It is our firm belief that in order to change behaviors, we need to change attitudes and the Body, Mind and Soul must be in balance. The focus of the day is on maintenance, movement, and nourishment in all of these areas.

Are we talking about physical wellness/emotional wellness or something else?

  • 90% of all health care decisions are made by the women in the home.
  • West Virginia has some of the highest death rates among women due to heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and diabetes-related death.
  • West Virginia is also one of the few states in which women have not yet met the Healthy People 2010 targets for reducing death due to coronary heart disease and lung cancer.

Why focus on the needs of women?

  • No one size fits all.
  • Each woman’s first step is different.
  • We each start from a different place.
  • At the end of the day we hope to inspire women to make a positive lifestyle change which can be as simple as adding a piece of fruit or a vegetable to a diet or starting an exercise routine they enjoy.
  • As a role model for her family, once a woman takes her first step others will follow and soon they will make healthier choices too.

Why is it necessary to provide women with a personalized wellness program?