Date declared Women on Wellness Day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Registration is now open for the annual Greenbrier County Women on Wellness (WOW) Retreat. The event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Rainelle Elementary School.

The retreat is hosted by the Greenbrier County Community Partnership Committee and the West Virginia University National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (CoEWH). Registration is $25, with scholarships and gift certificates available to women who are in financial need. The program is free for women in the military (active duty, guard, reserves, veterans) and wives or significant others of service personnel.

The WOW retreat is a one-day, interactive behavioral change program designed to motivate and empower women to make lifestyle changes that will have a positive impact on their health and, by extension, the health of their loved ones. WOW connects participants to the resources in their community through movement, education, and holistic session offerings. It is a day for and about women, where women learn ways to lead a healthier lifestyle in safe and non-judgmental community centers, such as elementary schools.

Mayor James Nichols of Rupert and Mayor Andrea “Andy” Pendleton of Rainelle proclaimed Oct. 24, 2015, to be Women on Wellness Day. The mayors met with WOW representatives on Thursday, August 6, in their respective cities to sign the proclamations.

“West Virginia is near the bottom nationally in almost all health measures, and the fact that the United States ranks 35th globally clearly indicates we are doing something wrong,” Betty Critch, executive director of the CoEWH, said. “We believe our unhealthy lifestyles are at the root of the problem. The answer is not in one particular diet but lifestyle change. In response to this need, we developed a behavior change program designed to provide women and their families the tools they need to lead healthy lifestyles.”

The WOW Retreat will provide health screenings with an individual health consultant; movement sessions, such as Zumba and belly dancing; education sessions, such as how to go back to school, heart health, how to talk to your provider, vaccinations, stress management, and financial health; holistic sessions, such as massage and essential oils; and more.

In tune with WOW’s message of personal empowerment, participants will go through a three-part program of activities meant to maintain, move, and nourish the body and spirit. Ultimately, the goal is for women to walk away with the confidence and knowledge they need to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families.

The WOW retreat represents a partnership between the CoEWH and the community. Community champions Vanessa Bailey, R.N., B.S.N., allied health instructor at New River Community and Technical College, and April Vestal, M.P.H., director of the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health, alongside other partners, including but not limited to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Rainelle Medical Center, The Greenbrier, and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, come together to host the event.

To date, the program has served more than 3,000 women in 36 counties, offered 19,000 free health screenings, and worked with more than 170 community partners from the private and public sectors across the state of West Virginia.

“The program does not endorse any particular diet,” Critch said. “It gives women the tools they need to lead a healthy lifestyle, connecting them to resources in their community. By motivating and empowering women with knowledge, we believe our participants lead a grassroots effort to change the gruesome health statistics in the state. By helping women make positive changes, we can impact not only their lives but the lives of their families and the community.”

The WVU CoEWH is a nonprofit organization focused on providing care to women at every stage of their lives. The WVU center is one of 20 CoEWHs in United States. Unlike its sister centers, which are located in urban areas, the WVU CoEWH serves the entire state.

For more information or to register, visit or call 304-293-5690.

For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs and Creative Services, 304-293-7087
bc/sw: 08-11-15