Helping communities throughout West Virginia track progress, celebrate their wins, and take ownership of a vibrant future.
West Virginia’s communities do not get enough respect for the hard work happening on the ground. Despite the state’s reputation for poor health outcomes, many of West Virginia’s communities have been quietly creating places where citizens can thrive through impactful policies, programs, and partnerships.
Recognizing positive progress is the first step in writing a new story.
Imagine West Virginia as a national leader and role model for building healthier communities. That’s the ambitious goal of the West Virginia Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease and its partners.
Since becoming a project partner in 2019, H+W has:
- Built a comprehensive brand (naming, visuals, and messaging)
- Facilitated strategic program development and evolution of evaluation benchmarks.
- Conducted an economic impact study to grow collaboration and create tools to measure the collective impact of Public Health, Tourism, and Economic Development efforts.
- And we’ve provided ongoing communications, graphic and web design support
Implement. Iterate. Repeat.
To help create a useful state-wide evaluation and recognition program, we designed an application process that leverages active listening. By engaging communities and partners before, during, and after the evaluation, the program’s benchmarks can adapt as needed to meet the state’s changing health goals over time.
The program’s evaluation benchmarks help community leaders and lawmakers fill in gaps and incentivize improving access to healthy food and places to be active and clean air and water.
Connecting the Dots.
Tourism, local food security, and community revitalization efforts can all benefit when communities make progress in achieving the program’s benchmarks. Our goal is to build a shared way to measure that combined benefit.
During the study, we focused our efforts on two areas. First, we built stronger collaborations with organizations and agencies in these other industries. Second, we worked with them to further the development of tools to measure the economic impact of health initiatives in West Virginia.
These efforts resulted in some pretty impactful numbers. Some can be seen in the project images below.
Trail access close to home is an area that provides tangible things to measure and communicate. Making walking easy for people improves health and can provide a marketable asset for places. According to WV Trails, every mile of trail results in $14,000 in annual direct outdoor recreation tourism spending–that’s more than $70M annually in WV!
The biggest takeaway from the many efforts is this. Regardless of what agency or organization you represent. Your work has a broader impact than you think. Through collaboration that work can be elevated and expanded.