Town of Williamson wins big at health conference

Williamson on Wednesday was named one of six recipients of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize for its efforts to promote healthy food and lifestyles.

The awards were announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight: Health event in Colorado.

Vicki Hatfield, a certified nurses practitioner and diabetes educator at the Williamson Family Care Center, and Dr. C. Donovan “Dino” Beckett, the Williamson Health and Wellness Center CEO, accepted the award. It will be given to the Williamson Health and Wellness Center.

“The award is really a celebration of all the good activities going on in Williamson and Mingo County,” Beckett said. “There was been a lot of negativity toward Mingo County but underneath it all we are just good people that need access to healthy food and a healthy living. We are simply trying to fill that void and have been very successful and now we are being recognized for doing just that.”

Along with the recognition, the town will also receive a $25,000 cash prize. The money will go toward improving health programs that are already in place.

“It is validation of what we are doing,” Beckett said. “This will help create a positive spiral upwards and help in creating resources and programs for children and adults.”

Out of 250 applicants, only six communities are selected each year to receive the award.

In order to be selected, recipients must harness the collective power of leaders, partners and community members; work strategically across the multiple factors that influence health; address problems that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations; develop sustainable, long-term solutions to share community priorities; leverage and maximize resources and measure and share results.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also offered his congratulations and admiration to the town for “taking matters into its own hands,” in order to improve their quality of life and make a healthy lifestyle a priority.

The additional five winners of the award are Durham County, N.C.; Buncombe County, N.C.; Brownsville, Texas; Spokane County, Wash.; and Taos Pueblo, N.M.

Contact writer Josephine Mendez at or 304-348-7917. Follow her at

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