New Active SWV Workplace Wellness Director Laura Baker

Active Southern West Virginia recognizes the value in a healthy workforce for increasing productivity, retaining talent and attracting new businesses to southern West Virginia.

It is our mission to increase opportunities for physical activity throughout schools, businesses, communities, and across all ages. The Active SWV Workplace Wellness program will be the model businesses, agencies and organizations can follow to improve the health of our workforce. As of 2017, West Virginia’s labor force participation rate (25-54 years of age) was the lowest among all states in the nation at just over 53% according to the West Virginia College of Business and Economics, Economic Outlook 2019-2023. The health and availability of our workforce is key to retaining young talent and attracting new industries.

Welcome Laura

Laura Baker comes to Southern West Virginia from San Antonio Texas where she earned a bachelors in Kinesiology at St. Mary’s University, a Masters in Human Nutrition and completed a 1240 hr dietetic internship from Texas State University. She has been a nationally recognized Registered Dietitian since 2015. Laura was the Director of Clinical Nutrition Services at San Antonio Hospital for 2.5 years before moving back to West Virginia. She and her husband previously worked as river guides and quickly fell in love with this area. They decided to return to southern West Virginia to raise their two daughters and be surrounded by the world class recreation opportunities, longtime friends, and a small town quality of life. Laura will be working full time at our Beckley office and out meeting with businesses to facilitate the Active Southern West Virginia Workplace Wellness program.

“I am a wife of an outdoor enthusiast and river guide, mother of two adventurous little girls, avid trail runner, foodie and lover of adventure. I try to have balance with life, food and health and enjoy helping others to do the same.
I am thrilled to be part of the Active SWV team and look forward to working with local businesses to support and empower others towards building a healthy, productive workforce and improve overall health and well-being in Southern West Virginia.”

Physical Activity in the Workplace

Many people spend a significant portion of their lives at work, which is why it is imperative workplaces prioritize health initiatives that are simple to understand, are not expensive to implement, and last beyond onetime events. Employers in southern West Virginia can improve the health of their employees by participating in the Active Southern West Virginia Workplace Wellness program. Improvements such as stretching and walking breaks, designated fitness areas, ergonomic work stations, friendly step challenges, and educational presentations can help increase the opportunities for active living within the workplace. These small changes can add up to employees being healthier, feeling better, increase co-worker moral, and ultimately reduce sick days and increase productivity while at work.

Active SWV Workplace Wellness Program

Employers in southern West Virginia can improve the health of their employees by participating in the Active Southern West Virginia Workplace Wellness program. Participation will also connect workplaces to the already successful Active SWV programs; Community Captains offering free outdoor physical activity weekly programs, elementary school Kids Run Clubs, the Bike/Walk SWV advocacy model, and high quality special events.

The Active SWV Workplace Wellness program is designed to be customized for each workplace. The framework is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Workplace Health Promotion and the program is supported by the WV Bureau of Public Health. Each workplace will follow the Active SWV Workplace Wellness Manual set of guidelines to build their personalized program. Each site will complete a Health Scorecard for assessment, employee survey to gauge health needs and interests, form a wellness committee to choose and be responsible for action items, each action item will have an evaluation element, and celebration along the way. Workplace Wellness Director, Laura Baker, will provide assistance throughout each step of this annual process.


Now Accepting Businesses for the Program

Active SWV in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and Try This WV can now support 12 workplaces across Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, and Summers counties. The program is open and free to any size workplace. Contact our office for more information at [email protected] or (304) 254-8488.


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