Williamson Health & Wellness Center (WHWC) in Williamson, West Virginia, has become an anchor organization in the southern part of the state, working to drive community health improvement through collaboration with economic development initiatives and health care and education programs.
WHWC serves a predominately low-income population in Mingo County, which has been deemed one of the unhealthiest and most distressed counties in the state. The center operates primary care clinics, provides a variety of outreach services that promote healthy living, and offers treatment to individuals battling substance use disorder.
To help combat food insecurity and promote healthy eating, WHWC established the Williamson Farmers Market in 2011, and has expanded to include a high tunnel green house, mobile market, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and a healthy meal kit initiative. WHWC also founded the Healthy in the Hills network, a group of organizations with a shared vision for improving rural health.
Hiking for Health in Mingo County
In the fall of 2020, the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington awarded WHWC a grant to help promote physical activity through revitalization of existing hiking trails in Mingo County. The funds allowed WHWC, in partnership with Healthy in the Hills, to mark trail paths with new Hiking for Health wayfinding signage and provide guided hikes. Participants were incentivized to hike at least five trails with a chance to win hiking equipment, and sticker badges were given to participants as they completed each hike.
Support for Individuals in Opioid Use Disorder Recovery
Mingo County has a drug overdose death rate that is three times higher than the national average. To help combat the issue, WHWC opened its Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for individuals recovering from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). In 2020, WHWC was awarded a Core Priorities grant from the Pallottine Foundation to provide additional support and services to patients in the program.
The grant provides for weekly healthy meal kits delivered to approximately 40-60 MAT participants who face food insecurity. The grant also includes support for a stigma reduction program featuring six community stakeholder forums and a consultant to develop a comprehensive peer support model for the MAT program.
Mingo County LIVE Virtual Spotlight & Calendar
Under the fiscal sponsorship of WHWC, the Mingo County Family Resource Network, received a Healthy Communities grant in Spring 2021 to fund its LIVE Virtual Spotlight and Calendar, a video guide of available services organized to address social barriers in West Virginia and Pike County, Kentucky. Videos and a live calendar showcase healthy offerings to improve access to more than 100 activities in the community. This collaboration will partner with 10 other organizations to provide project content and assistance with overall program promotion.
For more information about Williamson Health and Wellness Center, please visit williamsonhealthwellness.com.