“We all love what Try This West Virginia is doing to help get us off the worst health lists, and we want to draw more West Virginia health professionals into this movement,” said Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, a Professor at WVU School of Medicine. “Try This gives our state a chance to be a national model for healthy change from the grassroots, so we hope many health care professionals and healthy living enthusiasts will come to Buckhannon for the Health Professionals Day and stay for the full conference June 2-3.”
The Health Professional Day is sponsored by WVU Medical School, The Future of Nursing West Virginia and the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, all Try This West Virginia partners. Try This West Virginia is a coalition of 20 statewide groups that also includes The West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, the Bureau for Public Health, the State Office of Child Nutrition and 15 other partners.
Organizers of the Health Professionals Day have participated in the Try This West Virginia Conference for the past three years. “It’s an opportunity for nurses and other health professionals to collaborate with the community for a healthier WV” said Aila Accad, director of The Future of Nursing West Virginia. “Try This is getting thousands of grassroots people involved, so we want to do what we can to get health professionals on board.”
“We’re thrilled with the addition of the Health Professionals Day, and we encourage them all to stay for the Try This Conference,” said Try This co-director Kate Long. “Two days with hundreds of West Virginians who are creating one great healthy-community project after another does your heart good. It’s inspiring and renewing.”
For the past three years, the Try This West Virginia conference has attracted more than 500 local healthy-community activists to Buckhannon to network and trade ideas, attend more than 40 “how-to” workshops, and get ready to apply for minigrants for healthy-community projects. “Most of our attendees are not medical professionals,” Long said. “They’re parents, teachers, ordinary people who are passionate about creating a healthier West Virginia for their kids.”
Since 2014, Try This West Virginia has awarded close to $300,000 for 153 minigrant projects statewide. Projects range from running and bicycling programs and active school projects to farmers markets and community gardens. The Try This West Virginia Web site is packed with hundreds of “how-to’s” for affordable projects local people can do to create a healthier community.
The June 1 day will take a more clinical approach, focusing on new approaches for preventing and controlling diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Physicians, nurses, and dieticians, exercise physiologists, and other health professionals and students are encouraged to attend.
“Our shared mission is to improve the health of West Virginia,” said Brooke Nissim Sabbat. “Obesity and metabolic disease is by far the most important health issue affecting current and future generations, and we have to find new ways to involve whole communities in healthy living.”
Internationally-known nutrition writer Gary Taubes will headline the Health Professional Day. Taubes is the author of the bestselling The Case Against Sugar; Good Calories, Bad Calories; and Why We Get Fat. His writing is featured in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic,Esquire, and Science magazine. He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.
The Health Professionals Day speakers come from across the State and across disciplines and institutions. The full list of speakers and their subjects is below.
Physicians, nurses and dieticians attending both the June 1 Health Professionals Day and the Try This conference are eligible for Continuing Education Credits. For more information, see the Health Professionals Day Registration Page.
The preliminary program covers the scope of critical problems and solutions:
Changing Medicine from Steve Jobs to the Dalai Lama ; Clay Marsh, MD, Vice President and Executive Dean of WVU Health Sciences
Putting Diabetes in Remission-WV Can’t Wait; Mark Cucuzzella, MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine WVU School of Medicine—Eastern Division
Collaborating with Communities to Fight Diabetes; Richard Crespo, PhD, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University
Nutrition for Opioid Dependence; Brooke Nissim-Sabat, MS, MPH, RD, LD Associate Professor of Foods and Nutrition, Pierpont Community and Technical College
Community Initiatives at the School of Osteopathic Medicine; Drema Mace, PhD, MSP Executive Director, Center for Rural & Community Health, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Merging Fitness with Primary Care; Sam Zizzi, PhD Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology West Virginia University
Prescribing for Health: FARMacy Program, Wheeling; Carol Antonelli-Greco, DO, Wheeling Health Right Clinic