Our Work in Communities


2006 - PRESENT

Active Academics® (activeacademics.org)

Active Academics® is a free web-based resource developed to provide practical ideas to classroom teachers for integrating physical activity throughout the school day. Active Academics® currently provides lesson ideas for K-8 teachers that integrate physical activity with math, reading/language arts, science, social studies, health/nutrition, and physical education. Each content-based activity idea utilizes the Common Core Standards or the National Education Standards. Teachers can also choose “classroom energizers” that will provide simple ideas for giving students a “moving break” from classroom activities. Additionally, there are activity ideas for large-group settings, such as lunchtime and recess. The website also provides information about physical activity in general, as well as tips on successful integration of physical activity in the classroom. If your school is interested in hosting a professional development workshop for teachers, that is also provided by the Active Academics® team.

Check out all the lesson ideas and information at the Active Academics website.


Friday Adapted Physical Education Program

Play Video

This program is a cooperative venture which provides a developmentally appropriate physical education/physical activity programming to approximately 80 school-aged students with various disabilities from Monongalia County Schools (WV) each semester. This program serves as an invaluable hands-on service-learning opportunity for WVU students enrolled in majors such as Physical Education and Kinesiology, Coaching and Performance Science, Recreation Parks and Tourism Resources, and students in the WVU Occupational Therapy Program. Further, the Friday Adapted PE program provides an outlet for community service for students at Saint Francis Central Catholic School.

2013 - 2016

McDowell CHOICES (Children’s Health Opportunities Involving Coordinated Efforts in Schools)

This is a full color version of the McDowell Choices logo used as a graphic element on the website.

The purpose of McDowell CHOICES (Coordinated Health Opportunities Involving Communities, Environments, and Schools) was to plan, implement, and evaluate an integrated approach for childhood and adolescent health related to improved physical activity participation using evidence-based strategies in the school setting. The Highmark Foundation awarded the WVU College of Applied Human Sciences a 6-month planning grant and a one-year implementation grant (2012-14) to develop Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP) in all eleven schools in McDowell County. The schools served approximately 3,244 PK-12 students in McDowell County.

A group of McDowell Choices kids practice archery skills.
A group of McDowell Choices kids are performing ballet on a stage with a blue curtain backdrop.

In efforts to maintain the positive momentum and awareness of physical activity, the McDowell CHOICES team successfully secured a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the amount of $61,000 to support continued after-school programming for one additional academic year.

To learn more about McDowell CHOICES, visit our McDowell CHOICES website.

Kristjansson, A. L., Elliott, E., Bulger, S., Jones, E., Taliaferro, A. R., & Neal, W. (2015). Needs assessment of school and community physical activity opportunities in rural West Virginia: The McDowell CHOICES planning effort. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 327.

2011 - 2014

Greenbrier CHOICES (Children’s Health Opportunities Involving Coordinated Efforts in Schools)

This is a full color version of the Greenbrier Choices logo used as a graphic element on the website.

The Greenbrier CHOICES Project was a multi-site intervention targeting two middle schools in Greenbrier County, WV. Greenbrier CHOICES was funded by a Carol M. White PEP Grant from the US Department of Education. The three-year program (2011-2014) aimed at developing, implementing, and evaluating an integrated approach for adolescent health using complementary intervention strategies and settings (school, community, and health care). The program targeted the total student population in the two middle schools (grades 6-8) in Greenbrier County (approximately 1250 children).

The school component of Greenbrier CHOICES focused on the development of a standard-based, middle school curriculum in physical education that incorporated culturally-relevant lifestyle activities that utilized available community and natural resources. In addition to the enhanced physical education curriculum, comprehensive school physical activity programming in both middle schools was incorporated. The community component extended the curriculum by increasing family access to alternative educational experiences focused on healthy eating and developmentally appropriate physical activity. The health care component complemented the efforts in the school and the community by providing a mechanism for identifying at-risk adolescents (overweight and obese) for purposes of prevention, treatment, and referral.

Jones, E., Braga, L., Bulger, S., Elliott, E., Cho, K., & Lilly, C. (2020) Initial findings of a multi-component school health intervention in rural Appalachia: The Greenbrier CHOICES Project. Health Education & Behavior.

Braga, L. & Elliott, E. (2018) Culturally and Geographically Relevant Content in Secondary Physical Education: Lessons from the Greenbrier CHOICES Project. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance.

2004 - 2012

Schools on the Move

This is a graphic of the Schools on the Move Grants 2005 to 2012 Summary. 52 grants were awarded in 26 West Virginia counties.

From 2004-2012, West Virginia on the Move’s Schools on the Move program helped West Virginia PreK-12 public or private schools promote physical activity by awarding $5000 to up to five schools a year through a competitive grant cycle. School projects supported a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program approach, focusing on quality physical education, physical activity before, during or after school, parent and community involvement, staff wellness, and/or active transportation.

Initial funding for the project was provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and was later provided by the West Virginia Children’s Hospital Foundation. Additional support was provided by the WV CARDIAC Project and the End Childhood Obesity (ECHO) Race.

Healthcare and Families

1998 - PRESENT


The mission of the WV CARDIAC Project is to provide sustainable comprehensive risk factor identification, education, awareness and advocacy to engage and empower West Virginia children, families and communities to embrace a culture of wellness. Since 1998, The WV CARDIAC Project has provided in-school health screenings for Kindergarten, Second, and Fifth graders that include height and weight (BMI measurement), and Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) identification (a dark pigmentation on the back of the neck that can indicate prediabetes). Fifth graders and their parents can also consent to a blood pressure measure and a family history check for the child. Results are distributed to parents and the school principals/nurses. Results are also sent to primary care physicians if identified by the child’s parent.

This is the WV CARDIAC Project logo which depicts a cartoon heart character with a baseball cap smiling and walking.

Up until 2017, in-school lipid screening was also offered to all 5th graders with parental consent, but lipid profiles are no longer available due to the withdrawal of financial support from the state legislature. Currently, sustainability of the WV CARDIAC Project in 25 counties is being provided through the WV SNAP-ED allocation to the Family Nutrition Program in WVU Extension.

School-based and community-based interventions are being provided and/or endorsed by the WV CARDIAC Project to aid children and their families in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes choosing healthy foods/drinks and participating in physical activity at least 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.

Learn more at the WV CARDIAC Project website.

Elliott, E., Lilly, C., Murphy, E., Pyles, L., Cottrell, L., & Neal, W. (2018). Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC):  An 18 Year Review. Current Pediatric Reviews (14). DOI 10.2174/1573400514666180117093652

2007 - 2012

Camp NEW You

This is a Camp New You logo graphic that says, "It's still you... just healthier." The graphic features images of kids posing together, exercising, in nature, and in classroom settings.

Camp NEW You (NEW standing for nutrition, exercise, and weight management) at WVU was an innovative program designed to help youth and their parents identify and practice lifestyle changes to assist in reducing unhealthy bodyweight through increased physical activity and good nutrition. The camp program focused on goal setting and decision making, and emphasized the importance of parent participation in helping to create healthier home environments that provide opportunities for healthy eating and regular physical activity. Three follow-up weekends throughout the year provided additional support and educational opportunities for both campers and parents.

Camp NEW You was a collaboration between WVU College of Applied Human Sciences, WVU School of Medicine, the WV CARDIAC Project, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, WVU Extension Service, and Concord University. Campers and their families had access to experts in the fields of exercise physiology, medicine, physical education, nutrition and behavioral medicine.


2019 - PRESENT

Be ActiveWV Grant Program

West Virginia University College of Applied Human Sciences, through a partnership with West Virginia Health Promotion and Chronic Disease, is funding projects statewide to increase physical activity.

2018 - PRESENT

Be Wild. Be Wonderful. Be Healthy.

Be Wild. Be Wonderful. Be Healthy. is a 5-year project promoting increased access to physical activity and improved access to healthy foods in Clay and McDowell counties. This project prioritizes local solutions to health-related challenges in WV communities.

2017 - 2019

Improving Health and Wellness Through Empowerment Project

Improving health and wellness through empowerment. Extramural grant submitted to the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Submitted July 24, 2018. Applied for $182,591. Funded. Role: Co-PI. This project, funded by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, aims to empower individuals with disabilities, families, wellness professionals, and community organizations in the Shenandoah Valley (VA) by producing sustainable capacity-building changes.  Collaboration, online training, and support developed and provided in this project will help community physical activity organizations implement and sustain a system designed to meet the individualized health, wellness, community integration, and programming needs of individuals with disabilities.
Learn more at the Inclusive Wellness website.

2015 - 2019

Let's All Play in Lifetime Activities Programs

This project, funded by the National Inclusion Project, aimed to increase inclusion of children with disabilities in the community-based CAHS Lifetime Activities Programs. This partnership provided training for instructors and mentors within the Lifetime Activities Programs, and individualized support to participants with disabilities. This project expanded opportunities for participants with disabilities to participate in children’s swimming lessons, gymnastics classes, and NYSP camp alongside their peers.

News articles and related stories:

2008 - 2018

PEIA Weight Management Program

The PEIA Weight Management Program provides nutritional, exercise and behavioral services from recognized professionals within their fields. PEIA has developed a monthly schedule of services and fee schedule which is premised upon individualized assessments and follow ups by the dietitian and exercise physiologists. More information about the program can be found at the PEIA website.