The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health (BPH) recently received funding from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to promote healthy living and reduce social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) program. West Virginia was one of 20 states to receive these funds.
The BRIC program will help BPH and community-based organizations improve safe access to physical activity, promote healthy eating by improving nutrition security, and reduce social isolation and loneliness. NACDD will collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, the Division of Population Health, and the National Technical Assistance Partnership.
“Strategies to address nutrition security, physical activity, and social connectedness, will be implemented with a focus on health equity and inclusion,” said Jessica Wright, interim co-director of the Office of Community Health Systems and Health Promotion. “The program will also emphasize improving quality of life and reducing health inequities.”
BPH will work with BRIC to tell the story of resiliency to prepare for future pandemics or natural disasters to promote inclusion and well-being in affected communities. For example, BPH’s Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease and the State Office of Rural Health will work together with stakeholders to strengthen, enhance, and expand obesity prevention initiatives in six counties – Boone, Clay, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh, and Wyoming.
“Although this last year has been challenging, West Virginia continues to move forward, working to improve the well-being of its residents, giving them opportunities to live healthy lives,” Wright said. “We are grateful for this funding and recognition from the NACDD. This will help support and enhance efforts, not only in the physical health realm but also in addressing mental health through social connectedness.”