2022 West Virginia Workplace Wellness Conference

Workplace Wellness Conference and Awards Wrap Up

The 2022 West Virginia Workplace Wellness Conference was a massive success thanks to all of our attendees, presenters, sponsors, and partners. This years conference focus was on changing the narrative around Workplace Wellness, which can have the stigma of “just doing squats in the office”. 


Keynote speaker James Vance opened our day with a brief look at what inspired his journey to lose close to 300 pounds in a matter of years. Through various workplace wellness initiatives, James moved into a position with the West Virginia Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease. In his role as the Policy Branch Manager 1, James is a Master Trainer for the CDC Work@Health® program, which is a valuable resource Active SWV provides to workplaces throughout the state. The free Work@Health® training through Active SWV allows participating worksites to apply for $1,500 in capacity building grant funds!


Presenter Eric Murphy from the West Virginia University (WVU) Center for Excellence in Disabilities brought us all together to focus on mental health in the work place, a topic often overlooked as a critical piece of Workplace Wellness programming. With his activity “Who You are When You’re at Work and at Home” attendees examined the way they were raised to make connections with the way they interact with people in the world today. Learning different communication skills is crucial to success at work, and this can’t happen until we understand our inner self first!


Success Stories and Hurdles: Panelists Sarah Barton, Bridgit Arnold, Jeremy Morris, Dana DeJarnette, and Casey Napier shared their successes and challenges over the past year in providing award winning Workplace Wellness initiatives at their worksites. With events like fishing tournaments, step and water drinking challenges, and lunch and learns, these sites were able to increase fitness outcomes while keeping all challenges fun and equitable. It isn’t all easy planning though. Panelists discussed managing hurdles such as companies changing management, minimal corporate or overhead buy in, and difficulties in boosting attendance at events. Luckily, with Work@Health® certifications, these folks have done an incredible job of addressing gaps and challenges to create successful Workplace Wellness programs. 

Often we fall into a trap of feeling comfortable or complacent at work and in life. With interactive experiential events, workers can get out of their shells and interacting more. Emily Murphy from WVU brought us all closer with her ice breaker events that got us all laughing and knowing our coworkers better than ever!


One of the hardest parts of any outcome is the actual plan you are going to use to get there. It is important to know what resources you have, who you can partner with, and what real measurable outcomes you want to achieve – list goes on and on. Lauren Weatherford presented on how to create a valuable action plan to achieve positive workplace wellness outcomes. By utilizing SMART goals, any organization or individual can easily succeed in fostering a culture of health in their workplace, community, or home!


We talk a lot about outcomes and how we track wellness data. But we couldn’t do this without a massive amount of help from the Office of Health Services Research. Samantha Shawley-Brzoska and Lakin Davis are our data wizards! This year they presented different partners they work with and how they use data to track changes in the programming we offer over time so show positive effects or gaps we need to address. 


We concluded the day with a panel discussion including Corey Lilly with City of Beckley, Jessica Gamponia Wright with The Manahan Group, and Active SWV Workplace Wellness Director Michael Fisher. The ecosystem that Active SWV is in focuses on community growth, development, and health. Especially post Covid-19 outdoor recreation is in a massive growth state. Beckley is currently focusing efforts on ways to increase outdoor recreation space that also boosts economic development. The Mountain State is rapidly transforming into the East Coast gem for outdoor recreation and tourism, so this growth is coming and will only continue to expand! Studies are already showing increased trail use during lunch hours and after work. This may be due to good advertising or communication about what is available to the area. Jessica’s focus at The Manahan group is to find the best ways to communicate public health information to the area. This line of communication is crucial to delivering successful healthcare on any level. Especially in Appalachia where neighbors may have differing access to phones, email, television, or other communication services. 


We are so excited to plan for next years conference and already know it will be bigger and better than ever before! If you are interested in being a part of the 2023 Workplace Wellness Conference contact [email protected]


“The Wellies”

The 2022 Workplace Wellness Awards

This year, Active SWV in partnership with WVU Prevention Research Center and WV Department of Human Resources and Bureau for Public Health created an online application process for The Wellies. In doing this, a more rigorous and thorough application process was unrolled. 

Organizations that applied were able to receive Bronze, Silver, or Gold rated recognition. The organizations honored this year have proven that programming and activity can promote a healthier culture in any workplace! We are so excited to honor the three following organizations that strive for greatness in providing full circle health and wellbeing initiatives at their work. 


Over multiple years Bridgit Arnold has taken an idea for increased office health, and turned it into an office and personal lifestyle. Through multiple events like walking challenges, lunch and learns, and weekly walking groups, Bridgit is constantly pushing her coworkers to lead healthier lives. Recently, Bridgit has also received multiple fitness training, nutrition, and wellbeing certifications to forward the Workplace Wellness initiative.


Nothing is worse than a boring routine. Jeremy Morris with CFP is a shining example of keeping Workplace Wellness interesting to keep people participating. He has hosted fishing tournaments at the onsite lake, brings healthy snacks to each worker, and provides health education for each worker. His favorite event though? THE PADDLE BATTLE! This event pits groups against one another to stand up paddle board, run a relay race, and work as a team to put a team member into a deeply frozen t-shirt! 


One of the hardest parts of sustaining a wellness program is turnover, especially when those dedicated to the programming have left to embark on a new journey! Kathy Hill, the original chair of the Boone Memorial Wellbeing Committee turned over programming to incoming Ladie Viars upon moving to a new position. Ladie has continued to progress Boone Memorial programming and action plans, thanks to the time taken to set up a lasting and effective program! 

Work@Health® Course

August 2022 Open Enrollment

Are you interested in free CDC backed and evidence based certifications that can qualify your workplace for $1,500 capacity building grants?

Is there a gap in the health and wellness of your staff and their ability to work happily and with minimal absenteeism?

Adding a Workplace Wellness program to your regular needs at work can decrease stress, decrease absenteeism and presenteeism, and decrease costs to the employer and employee related to healthcare and disease, all while increasing happiness, culture, morale, and overall productivity.

We will be hosting our CDC Work@Health®certification course again beginning in August (Dates TBD depending on class participant availability). For more information enjoy our Work@Health® blog or contact our Workplace Wellness Director, Michael Fisher at [email protected]