One of the keys to turning West Virginia’s health problems to health assets is collaboration and cooperation. Our universities have a big role to play. We’re charged with teaching the people who will care for the state’s health over the next several generations.

They learn in the classroom – and across the state.

Paris Charles from WVU is new to West Virginia. She’s fallen in love with the state and wants to make it better.  Amber Lancaster from Marshall comes from Weirton and wants to focus on making children more active. Both are inspired by the work going on in communities all across West Virginia. They met at this year’s Try This Conference.

Sam Zizzi – an Elkins native who teaches in the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences  -- sees many students in his classes who want to build careers in health. They’re motivated. They want to make change. And they soon learn that there are barriers and frustrations that must be overcome on the road to wellness.

As Sam takes his expertise across the state to work on the health issues facing public employees and retirees,  Christiaan Abildso of the WVU School of Public Health is on the road – on foot and on two wheels.  He’s an unflagging advocate for people-powered transportation.

Students like Paris and Amber and faculty members like Sam and Christiaan are making our colleges and universities into laboratories for change. And they’re partnering with community leaders, volunteers, and individuals across the state to find the best and most effective ways to involve thousands of West Virginians in this effort.

Thanks to the grassroots network being developed through the Try This movement, those connections are growing stronger.

There’s something good happening in your community, too. Let me know about it. We’re all stronger together.