WOW Spotlight

Meet Nnenna Minimah

She will be leading a session on “#METOO What's it all about?” at the WOW Women’s Health Day.

Ms. Minimah’s background is in Psychology and she has also studied in the area of Public Health. She has volunteered in grassroots Community Health Organizing since 2006 with the WV Coalition for Minority Health as an Outreach Coordinator. Her past work experience includes working as a Prevention Education Coordinator and the Monongalia County Sexual Assault Response Team at the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center from 2010-2014. Ms. Minimah worked at the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WVCADV) as the Program Coordinator. Ms. Minimah provides effective domestic violence training to Domestic Violence Advocates, Legal Aid Attorneys, CPS, APS, Youth Service Workers and other organizations serving children, youth, elderly persons and persons with disabilities. She is responsible for managing, coordinating, and implementing WVCADV projects pertaining to survivor safety, perpetrator accountability, and oppression. She works collaboratively with organizations and agencies invested in reviewing and revising, creating and developing policies, protocols, and practice on survivor-centered advocacy and batterer accountability.

Nnenna is one of many presenters at the March 3rd Women on Wellness event at the Chestnut Ridge Church. Sessions include health screenings, movement, healthy foods, cooking demonstrations, women’s legal issues, how to start your own business, breast health, self-defense and many more.


WOW Spotlight

Meet Elizabeth Halliday-Reynolds. 
Specialties: Ayurvedic Body Treatments, Polarity, Reflexology, Sacred Hot Stone, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy and Chakra Balancing Treatments. She will be leading a session on “Why Aromatherapy” at the WOW Women’s Health Day.

Elizabeth Halliday-Reynolds is the founder of BlissBlissBliss a full service wellness center in Morgantown, West Virginia. Building thriving communities through wellness and supporting individuals by providing access to as many healing modalities as possible in one place is what BlissBlissBliss is all about. BlissBlissBliss is a grounding space that offers many forms of bodywork including massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, energy work, yoga. Workshops on crystal healing, Reiki certifications and a thriving yoga teacher training program round out the programs. Elizabeth started her business life out with a masters degree in Library & Information Science and worked in the high tech industry for a decade. When she came up for air, she made a radical shift to become a licensed massage therapist, Aromatherapist, yoga teacher, Reiki Master and certified ayurvedic life style consultant.


WOW Spotlight

Meet Dr. Megan Burkart, DPT, CLT.
Dr. Burkart is a 2013 graduate of the WVU physical therapy program. She is lymphedema certified and the first STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehab)-certified practitioner at WVU and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in oncology rehabilitation from Oakland University.
Dr. Burkart will be leading a session on “30 minutes a day keeps the doctor away: exercise and cancer from prevention to survivorship” at the WOW Women’s Health Day.


WOW Spotlight

Meet Dr. Ehab Akkary, MD, FACS, FASMBS. He is a bariatric surgery specialist in Morgantown, WV and has been practicing for 10 years. He graduated from Ain Shames Medical School in 1998 and specializes in bariatric surgery, general surgery, and more.

Dr. Akkary will be leading a session on Cosmetic, Bariatric surgery, breast, tummy tuck, neck, etc. at the WOW Women’s Health Day.


WBOY 12 News: Local church to host 'Women on Wellness' retreat

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Registration has opened for a Women on Wellness event that will be held in Morgantown next month. 

The event will be hosted at Chestnut Ridge Church on March 3.  

Over 40 organizations will be a part of the event to provide health screenings, breakfast, lunch, workout sessions and a personalized health plan.

Women on Wellness is a community-driven, health initiative using behavior change techniques for a healthier lifestyle.

"So at the end of the day, whatever that behavior is that you want to change, it's different for each of us. We all have a different first step, and now you'll be connected to those resources to make those changes on your own," said Betty Critch, executive director of the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health and Director of Women on Wellness Program.

Find more information on the event here

Article Written by:  Megan Hudock from WBOY 12 News

Original Video and Article

Love Your Heart

It may surprise you that 80% of deaths from heart disease can be prevented. 

Ways to be involved:

♥       Take the Wear Red Office Challenge on Friday, February 2, and post your office pic on the WVU Facebook page with the hashtag #wearredday. For more fun, have healthy red food covered dish lunch and take a walking break.

♥       Incorporate heart health into all programs planned during February.

1. Use handouts such as the “CCC Brochure WVU Extension” (email me about additional handouts/topics).

2. Ask your local health department or clinic to offer blood pressure checks.

3. Show a brief video, such as this 3-minute one

♥       Get the word out. Use the attached media materials in local newspapers, radio, and newsletters.

♥       Plan a community program. It can be as simple as you like. See the attached “Celebrate Heart Health Month flyer” and contact me asap about your plans to receive the PowerPoint and a very nice blood pressure monitor (limited supply - first come, first served)!

♥       Host a CPR/First Aid class or show the “Hands Only CPR” video.

♥       Stay tuned for more. Communications will feature heart health information during February on our FB page and website.

Remember, each of us can do something to prevent early death and disability from heart disease.

Reconnecting with Your Authentic Self

Reconnecting with Your Authentic Self

“Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really vulnerability is Courage. We must ask ourselves...are we willing to show up and be seen?” Brené Brown

My grandmother Clara was fearless. She marched to the beat of her own drum and she never worried about what others thought of her. To say that Clara was colorful and unique would be an understatement. She boldly dared to be herself every moment of every day and even those who had trouble understanding her had to admit she had a flare all her own. She was an extraordinary woman who loved adventure. She traveled the countryside all by herself for many years, taking odd jobs here and there, staying on just long enough to make enough money for her next big adventure. When in her later years, she finally decided to settle on a single location, she decided on an isolated area of the Mogollon Rim of Arizona, with nothing around her for miles save cactus and coyotes. She was no sissy.

Fun Family Fitness at Blackshere Elementary

 Women on Wellness led a community mapping station at this Spring's Fun Family Fitness night at Blackshere Elementary School in Marion County, WV.  Tuesday, April 19th, students and family members went to multiple workshop stations where they tried out yoga, learned to make healthy smoothies and also visited the school garden. Women on Wellness's mapping station set out to discover what resources are a part of regular life for the participants in Williamson, WV and surrounding counties.  Adults and children were grouped separately, making the maps a lot different. The children drew more bodies of water and green space while the adults focused on resources like doctors offices, restaurants, and churches. Community mapping is a great tool for the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health to reference when planning W.O.W. retreats. For instance, when hardly any parks are mentioned on the maps, or the rail trail fails to be highlighted, it can be assumed that these areas are not being used as healthy living options regularly.  W.O.W. retreats are a excellent means to rediscover what these forgotten spaces can offer and rediscover where healthy living begins in one's community.

Marion County WOW! Retreat Sept. 24

This retreat will give individuals the opportunity to receive:
-Health Screenings
-Nutrition Counseling
-Fitness Workshops
-Educational Opportunities
-Holistic Offerings, and much more!

Registration Fee: $25.00 (Includes materials & food.)
Military Veterans, Active Duty, and Wife or significant other of veteran or active duty personnel participate free of charge. …
(This includes Reservists & Guards.)
However, NO ONE is turned away.
Ask about volunteer and sponsership opportunities.

For more information please visit:

Or call us at: (304)293-5690

Greenbrier County WOW! Retreat September 10th, 2016


This retreat will give women of Greenbrier and surrounding counties:
-Health Screenings
-Nutrition Counseling
-Fitness Workshops
-Educational Opportunities
-Hollistic Offerings, and much more!

Registration Fee: $25.00 (Includes materials & food.)
Military Veterans, Active Duty, and Wife or significant other of veteran or active duty personnel participate free of charge. ...
(This includes Reservists & Guards.)
However, NO ONE is turned away.
Ask about volunteer and sponsership opportunities.

For more information please visit:

Or call us at: (304)293-5690

We hope you join us on September 10th, 2016 at Rainelle Elementary School in Rainelle, WV!

Go RED for Women

Williamson Health & Wellness Center hosted an American Heart Association Go Red for Women® awareness event on February 5th at the Health Innovation Hub on Third Ave. in Williamson.  There were over three dozen women in attendance including guests from Crossroads Recovery in Gilbert, the healthcare sector, and Tug Valley area churches.  Melissa Justice, RN, CDE, who coordinated the event said, “This event had the best turn out ever.  We had the right people in the room.”

Vicki Hatfield, APRN, CDE, with Williamson Health & Wellness Center (WHWC), and Dana Wright, WVU Extension – Families and Health Services, were both on hand to share techniques for healthy eating and exercise to lower risks for developing heart problems because of unhealthy choices.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death among females in America.  Caring for your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the secret weapon to preventing heart disease, which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80 percent.      

According to Mary Jo Dudley, a guest at the event, “It was just a wonderful event, and people were uplifting.”  Regarding the numerous health awareness events hosted by WHWC and its community partners, Dudley laughed and said, “You all just put us (women) on the move!”    

Everyone can be a part of WHWC’s #HealthyInTheHills community effort to improve 9000 healthier lives in the Tug Valley area in 2016.  Check WHWC’s Facebook page for events and programs that provide opportunities to do something “healthy” with family and friends.  The next WHWC sponsored event will be American Diabetes Association Alert!Day® on March 22nd at Food City in South Williamson, Kentucky, where free health screenings and risk assessments for type 2 diabetes will be available.  For more information about #HeatlhyInTheHills call (304)235-3400 or visit

Community Partner Highlight- ABLE Families in Kermit, WV

My name is Marlene Spaulding. I have recently been named the Executive Director of A.B.L.E. Families. We are a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph.

A.B.L.E.  Families Afterschool Program serves children who attend K-8. We ask the children from to time to time to share with us how they feel about after school programming, and I want to share with you one of our responses.

Hi my name is Adam. I go to Kermit Pre K – 8. I am in the 6th grade. I have been coming here for a year. I live with my dad. I like coming to Afterschool, because the crafts that we do. One time we made a volcano for a craft, it was cool. Afterschool helps me with math homework when I don’t understand it. The things we learn at Afterschool are respect, and care for each other.

Adam lives about two miles from after-school.  He has had a hard life. He lost his mom at a young age. He lives in a trailer lot with his dad, step-mom, brother and a sister. His siblings were already coming to after-school. A teacher called us and asked us if we had room for Adam because she thought that he would benefit from coming here. I am thankful for that teacher, because he really enjoys being with us. As he said he loves the crafts especially the volcano. It was something that he helped create with his own hands. When he first came here you could tell he wasn’t used to someone telling him what to do. He didn’t like the homework time. He would always say he didn’t have any, so we would give him multiplication problems. He has improved on them tremendously. Adam said he learns respect and care for each other.  At circle time we encourage Adam to respect others while they are talking and just listen to them. When it comes time for him to speak we ask the other children to do the same for him. We have a book reading day and if the children read six books they can pick a prize from the box. Last week Adam had a wonderful day! He acted as though he didn’t like to read but he finally read his sixth book. He was so excited and he got to pick a football for his prize.

We offer guitar lessons to eight of our children and one of them had dropped out so we had to choose another one. We do this by putting the children’s name in a bag and draw one. Adam really wanted to be a participant and he was so afraid because there were so many of the other children that wanted to too! When we drew his name you should have seen his reaction. He was so excited! Adam had his first practice and the next day after his practice the instructor emailed me and said he was so pleased to have Adam and that the smile that Adam had never left his face during his thirty minutes with him. This is awesome! We also have a basket that we put names of children in that do good things for others or just participated well with each other and at the end of the day we pick two names out and Adam got chosen. All these things happened in one day He sure was a happy boy.

 The staff at A.B.L.E. Families is so thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life such as Adam. In a world where sometimes life seems bleak, it blesses us that we can bring a ray of sunshine to Adam and others like him. Giving them the tools that they can use in the future to become good citizens in our community! 

*note: names have been changed to protect the rights of the children and families served. 

Want to Start a 5k Race in Your Community? Here’s How a Group of Locals in Mannington Did It.  

-Christina Hunt, WV Physical Activity Network

Photos courtesy Patty Reutter/2015 WOW 5k

Photos courtesy Patty Reutter/2015 WOW 5k


What do you do if your New Year’s resolution is to run a 5k – but your town doesn’t have one? You start one, of course.

That’s what Carol McGinty did in her home community of Mannington. Carol, along with lots of other partners, organized the first 5k run through Mannington streets, which took place this past Halloween.

The first step in bringing the 5k dream to life was attending the statewide Try This conference in June 2015. Main Street Mannington sent a team of people to the conference, including Carol, and one of the breakout sessions about organizing 5k runs stuck with her. After hearing from others in the state who were race-organizing pros, like Alexis Batausa from the Tug Valley Road Runners Club, Carol was inspired to try it in Mannington.   

Carol wanted to provide an opportunity for people in Mannington to be active and make friends through the 5k race. Once she got involved with helping to organize it, all the pieces started to fall together.

Local people who were working to make Mannington a healthier place had previously created a Live Well Mannington Facebook pageto share information and plan events. And WVU’s Center for Excellence in Women’s Health was also working with residents to plan a Women on Wellness (WoW) retreat in Mannington.

As fate would have it, one of WoW’s goals was to add 0 – 5k training for the WoW communities. Although a leader in organizing the 5k day-of logistics, Carol doesn’t consider herself a runner and didn’t feel comfortable in a training coach role. So she recruited Fairmont State student Maddi Wade to help. Maddi, who is studying to become a physical therapist, was excited about the idea and agreed to serve as the training coach.

And they were off! About 23 people signed up for the training, and a group of about 15 came consistently. Maddi and her exercise physiology professor, Paul Reneau, worked together to develop a two-month training program for walkers and runners. Maddi led the group once a week in the workout, then gave two “on your assignments” for the rest of the week to prepare for race day. She also developed the route for the 5k and held the training sessions on the 5k course, so participants would feel comfortable with it on the big day.

When not training, Carol and the team were hard at work preparing for the race.

Guided by the WoW team, and using tools from the Try This website, they started talking to everyone they could about the race. This included city officials, police, local businesses, area churches and other groups involved with Main Street Mannington, and Marion County Parks and Recreation.

 Carol, along with other community members (such as Janie DeVaul shown here) and the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, organized the first 5k run through Mannington streets. They wanted to provide an opportunity for people in Mannington to be active and make friends through the 5k race.

 Carol, along with other community members (such as Janie DeVaul shown here) and the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, organized the first 5k run through Mannington streets. They wanted to provide an opportunity for people in Mannington to be active and make friends through the 5k race.

“It takes up a lot of time,” said Carol – who also has a full time job. But she was determined to see this idea become reality.

On race day, it was clear that talking to all those different people had paid off. The group received donated signage, water and time from local churches, businesses and Marion County Parks and Rec. The middle school cross country team participated. The 0 – 5k training group put on a strong showing. Some people ran the whole race, some mixed running and walking, and some people walked to participate.

All in all there were close to 50 participants in the race, the very first one organized in the town. And so an opportunity to move, connect and have fun was created.

So, was it worth it? Carol says it was. She sees this first race as the start of a more physically active Mannington. The feedback from participants was very positive, and Marion County Parks and Rec is now a strong supporter and has plans to include the race as part of their race series for next year.

But the best part for Carol was the relationships formed through the training. She works from home full time, so for her, the regular training schedule was not only a way to keep her on track for the race, it also provided an opportunity to get out of the house, see friends and be social.

This has helped transform her view of exercise as a chore or a “should” to a fun activity to enjoy with friends.

Mannington is on its way to building an active culture that emphasizes well-being. People in town are continuing the projects from the WoW training, and various participants of Live Well Mannington and other groups are looking forward to attending a regional Try This gathering on April 1 in Fairmont, and the statewide conference June 3-5 in Buckhannon.

Organizing this 5k was a major event for the town, but judging from the energy and partnerships in Mannington, it seems like it’s just the starting line.

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. Women on Wellness (WOW) is 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.

With a focus on prevention, WOW stresses that no two women start at the same place and it teaches each retreat participant how to develop and prioritize a set of goals and strategies. Each woman will leave the retreat with her own personal lifestyle plan.

Each participant is provided:

  • A variety of health screenings to help women assess their current health status.
  • Opportunities to try different movement activities and exercises in a safe, fun and non-judgmental atmosphere.
  • Educational sessions led by experts that give women the skills needed to become informed consumers and advocates for themselves and their families.
  • A guidebook written specifically for the WOW retreats.
  • A journal for women to use to support their ongoing efforts after the retreat.
  • Connections to valuable resources in their community.   
  • The knowledge and understanding that her health care provider is a partner in her healthy lifestyle journey.

The goal of WOW is that every participant will leave the retreat with a personalized plan, a wealth of information, the resources to reach her goals, and a renewed commitment to herself and the motivation to continue the process she has started.

We also hope that the knowledge and excitement gained during the retreat will be brought back into their community, providing the foundation for a grassroots effort that can have a powerful impact not only on retreat participants, but on those they care about.

WOW Outreach to Date: WOW has held programs in Wetzel, Mingo, Mercer, Lewis, Marion, Preston, Greenbrier, and Hampshire Counties. WOW has had participants from 36 out of 55 counties in West Virginia. In addition to WV, WOW has had participants from other states, which include Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, and Arizona. To date, the WVU National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health has touched over 3,000 women across the State of West Virginia totaling in over 19,000 screenings offered.