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Concurrent Sessions 1



Breastfeeding Matters: Shifting the Narrative

pdf iconBreastfeeding Matters (PDF)

This session highlights the activities of #RVAbreastfeeds, a VFHY-funded Healthy Communities Action Team that seeks to reduce childhood obesity by promoting a breastfeeding-friendly community. Building on recommendations from the 2011 Richmond Mayor’s Breastfeeding Commission, #RVABF brought multiple stakeholders together to address the complex social and structural challenges that surround breastfeeding. Working collaboratively with grassroots partners, nonprofits, public health agencies, and our community enabled us to multiply opportunities for novel approaches for improving the local breastfeeding environment, including citywide public awareness campaigns that opened multiple spaces for community dialogue; symposia that trained care providers and citizens in the use of evidence-based messaging tools and explored the impact of structural racism on breastfeeding; the display of “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” decals in over 150 public spaces; and a mayoral proclamation for Black Breastfeeding Week RVA.

Creating Healthier School Environments

pdf iconLunchroom Collective (PDF)

pdf iconGame On for PE Teachers (PDF)

The school food environment plays a critical role in shaping children’s eating behaviors. A nationally representative sample found that school meals provide superior nutrition to those brought from home. Increasing school meal participation is thus a public health priority. However, barriers to participation exist, including negative perceptions of school food and sub-optimal cafeteria environments. Members of the Lunchroom Collective, an interdisciplinary partnership dedicated to improving the school food environment, will describe a comprehensive needs assessment designed to identify barriers and facilitators to school meal participation. Action for Healthy Kids’ Game On program is an evidence-based online framework that provides resources to create healthier school environments for students, staff and the communities they serve. As we move toward creating healthy and active schools through the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAPs), a more unified and collaborative approach is critical for sustainable, systems-level change. During this workshop, attendees will explore the WSCC and CSPAP models, connect Game On to leadership and advocacy opportunities within the school setting, and discuss school wellness best practices for health and physical education teachers in small and large group settings.

It Takes a Village: The Role of Collaboration in Ending Childhood Hunger

This interactive session will allow participants to see the value of forming partnerships and coalitions in their local communities to improve access to childhood meals programs and feed more kids across the state. No Kid Hungry Senior Manager Sarah Steely will walk attendees through real examples of the impact of strong partnerships in Virginia such as a stakeholders group that helped to form the Virginia Breakfast Challenge and summer meals planning meetings that led to innovative partnerships in feeding kids. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn best practices in forming and running collaborative planning meetings with various partners in the community, including how to bring the right stakeholders to the table, how to facilitate an effective meeting and ways of developing accountability measures to ensure the success of your coalition.

Plot To Plate: Growing Interest in Local Foods through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia

pdf iconPlot to Plate (PDF)

Participants will learn about the Plot to Plate program, a successful community gardening initiative from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia. Attendees will learn how to leverage the support of small businesses, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions to deliver effective programming through after-school and summer youth programs. Plot to Plate programming brought together the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, Chef Aaron Deal of River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke and Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Roanoke unit to educate third- and fourth-grade students about how to grow their own food and use it to prepare healthful meals and snacks.

Prescriptions for Obesity Prevention

pdf iconPrescriptions Pt 1 (PDF)

pdf iconPrescriptions Pt 2 (PDF)

This session will combine the efforts of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and Loudon Hunger Relief programs to prevent childhood obesity in their communities through improved nutrition. A group of second-year medical students at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, are conducting research at a local pediatric clinic to better learn about this population’s beliefs about nutrition when it comes to their children. Results will be used to tailor a nutrition intervention program for caregivers of patients attending this clinic and to better understand the needs of our community for future directed research opportunities. Funded by Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) implemented a pilot launch of the Integrated Pediatric Care Plan in 2017. This was provided to obese & pre-obese pediatric patients of LHR via a food prescription program, which can be scaled up to address broader obesity among low-income families with less affordable food choices. The program’s goal was to improve the likelihood that low-income families will make healthy choices, preventing or reducing the impact of childhood obesity.

Revamping Schools: Reducing Sugar in Breakfast, Inspiring Healthy Hydration & Ensuring Recess

pdf iconRevamping Schools (PDF)

In addition to teaching core academic subjects, all schools should inspire students to eat healthier, hydrate better and move more. Creating school environments that make the healthy choice the fun and easy choice is essential for our students to fully thrive. In this session, you will learn how a coalition of community partners worked together to transform the environments of Richmond Public Schools. The panel will discuss successful policy and programmatic initiatives to reduce sugar in school breakfasts, encourage hydrating with water during the school day and ensure that every elementary student enjoys daily, active recess.


Concurrent Sessions 2



Church, Extension and Campus Partnerships: Empowering Healthy Communities

pdf iconChurch Extension Campus Partnerships (PDF)

This session combines the efforts of Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech in bringing together key community stakeholders to empower healthy communities. Representatives from VCU’s Center on Health Disparities will describe a proposal of collaborative approaches to address social and health inequities in Richmond’s East End, by changing systems and environmental supports specific to opportunities that neighborhood children and youth have to play. Along with resource advocates of the Creighton Court community, representatives from VCU embark on a call to action to bring about youth leadership roles to a project for consistent, inclusive community physical activity. Kathy Hosig with Virginia Tech will present information on Empowering Healthy Families (EHF), a five-year childhood obesity prevention research project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. EHF is a partnership among the Virginia Tech Center for Public Health Practice and Research, Virginia Family Nutrition Program (FNP), Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia – a statewide association of black churches. EHF follows principles of community-based participatory research and is grounded in health behavior theory.

Game On! Along with Running!

pdf iconDesk to 5k (PDF)

pdf iconGame on Girl (PDF)

We know the lack of physical activity outside of school for elementary and middle school students leads to obesity, depression and excessive screen time. And we know that by age 18, the majority of girls do not engage in any physical activity outside of required PE classes. In this session you will hear about the Williamsburg-James City County School Health Initiative’s successful after-school running club program in all of its elementary and middle schools. The running clubs use a blend of training programs and incorporate fun running games to build confidence as students increase their skill and endurance. You will also hear about Greater Richmond Fit4Kids’ newest program, Game On, Girl! and how programs like it can contribute to the physical, emotional and social health of adolescent girls. You will leave this session feeling empowered to create change in your community and get kids of all ages physically active, nutritionally fit and ready to take on the world!

Giving Babies a Healthy Start with Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care

pdf iconBreastfeeding Friendly Child Care Pt 1 (PDF)

pdf iconBreastfeeding Friendly Child Care Pt 2 (PDF)

This presentation will combine the efforts of the Virginia Department of Health and Eastern Virginia Medical School. VDH will introduce the free VDH Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care Center Resource Kit, the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care Award (BCCA) to participants. The toolkit is a self-paced tool that teaches the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Child Care Centers as defined by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. EVMS will introduce the Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care program, which has engaged dozens of early care and education providers across Hampton Roads. This session will allow participants to explore their own feelings and knowledge about breastfeeding, provide evidence-based information on the benefits of breastfeeding, stress the importance of creating supportive environments and reducing barriers to breastfeeding and address feeding, storage, and information-sharing practices in early care settings. This session will share program outcomes and detail how the programs can be successfully replicated across communities.

Healthy and Hunger-Free

pdf iconHealthy and Hunger Free (PDF)

This session will explore several initiatives the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition has implemented to improve health outcomes and reduce child food insecurity, including the Virginia 365 Project to End Childhood Hunger, the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) project, and an upcoming collaboration with AmeriCorps to incorporate nutrition education in the classroom and cafeteria. It will also provide an overview of the history of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and the impact that expansion of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program has had on children in Virginia’s school divisions and community agencies. The session will highlight regulatory streamlining opportunities the Virginia Department of Education is maximizing to reduce the administrative burden on school divisions, as well as upcoming Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Meal Pattern Training plans focused on integrating local fresh foods into meals, procuring local fresh foods, and incorporating regional and cultural needs into after-school supper menus.

Shop Smart, Eat Smart: Using Retailer Perspectives to Design a Statewide Healthy Retail Program

pdf iconShop Smart Eat Smart Pt 1 (PDF)

pdf iconShop Smart Eat Smart Pt 2 (PDF)

The voices of those who implement evidence-based health strategies are often missing in program development. This presentation details the inclusive research, flexible implementation and uniform evaluation of Shop Smart, Eat Smart (SSES), a statewide healthy retail program by Virginia SNAP-Ed. Food retailers were targeted for mixed-methods research to understand their feasibility to implement choice architecture and marketing mix strategies in stores that informed a ‘menu’ of strategies to initiate retailer partnerships. SNAP-Ed Extension Agents are working across rural and urban settings, reflecting the importance of flexible programming. The Market Basket Assessment Tool (MBAT) and retailer perceptions for each strategy are being used to evaluate SSES. The MBAT measures the presence of healthy food, and each store is scored prior to and throughout implementation. This detailed, uniform evaluation will allow us to tell a statewide story while revealing areas of improvement.

Weight Bias: Recognizing Its Influence on Addressing the Obesity Epidemic

pdf iconWeight Bias (PDF)

Implicit beliefs regarding overweight and obese persons are often filled with biased attitudes that can negatively influence the health of overweight and obese individuals. Despite the efforts of well-intentioned health-promoting individuals and organizations, health messaging often perpetuates microaggression towards individuals struggling with obesity. Discern how to identify weight bias and size-based discriminatory messages in order to re-brand your efforts to address this health epidemic, particularly in children. In this session, you will learn to originate inclusive and empowering health messages that motivate individuals to live a healthy lifestyle.


Sub Plenaries



Breaking Down Barriers to School Breakfast

pdf iconBreaking Down Barriers to School Breakfast (PDF)

Alternative breakfast models break down barriers that traditional school breakfast programs often have that prohibit students from eating breakfast before school, such as lack of time, unreliable transportation, or busy mornings. Learn how two alternative models, “Great Starts with Breakfast” and “Breakfast after the Bell” are being implemented in Virginia schools to ensure all students have the ability to start their day with a healthy meal. The panel, comprised of Virginia DOE staff and representatives from No Kid Hungry will share advice, best practices, and success stories of each model and discuss some of the ways you can get involved in school breakfast in your community and local schools.

Childhood Obesity Systems Model

pdf iconChildhood Obesity Systems Model (PDF)

Obesity impacts more children than any other health condition. In Virginia, this equates to approximately 55,900 10- to 17-year-olds with a body mass index (BMI) for age exceeding the 95th percentile (the state of obesity). Using a simulation model to educate legislators, other state leaders and stakeholders about policies that have the greatest impact on childhood obesity prevalence can inform state policy and implementation of evidence-based strategies. This interactive session will feature use of a computer-based childhood obesity systems model. The model was created by experts in childhood obesity, health economics, systems dynamics and policy as well as state legislators and their staff to simulate the impact of policy interventions on the prevalence of childhood obesity. Beginning in 2008, the model has been used annually as part of a legislative health education program to inform state policymakers about the impact of specific strategies on childhood obesity prevalence through 2034. The model was updated in 2014-2015 to add additional policy interventions that have been proven to impact BMI. Related state level policy change that has been adopted will be reviewed. Participants will be able to interact with the model to develop an understanding of the on-the-ground policy impacts that may be of interest to their community coalitions, state legislators and other decision makers.

Good Nutrition and Plenty of Water

pdf iconIt’s Water Time (PDF)

pdf iconGood Nutrition and Plenty of Water (PDF)

This Sub-Plenary pairs two partnerships that are implementing initiatives proven to reduce childhood obesity by improving what children eat and drink in Early Care and Out of School Time, including Preschool. The Loudon County Health Department will present the “It’s Water Time” program, developed in partnership with Loudon County Head Start to create policy, systems, and environmental changes to increase water consumption in the preschool setting. Results have shown decreases in both BMI and juice consumption among the children enrolled in the program in it’s pilot year. The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and Virginia Department of Health CACFP program will briefly describe research about Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participation, and community-based strategies for expanding access and enrollment. Participants will hear about community successes in raising CACFP awareness among local child care educators and directors and bolstered enrollment. Participants will learn about state resources and supports available to support local efforts and outreach.


Plenary Day 2



CHOICES: How to Pick the Best, Cost-Effective Strategies for Childhood Obesity Reduction

pdf iconCHOICES (PDF)

Katie Giles, project manager at the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HPRC), will discuss the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) model for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of programs and policies intended to reduce childhood obesity. Giles will share information and resources from the CHOICES menu of effective strategies and their relative impact on health, implementation cost and health care costs. Dr. Jamie Jeffrey, a West Virginia participant from a CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership, will share how the results of CHOICES analysis can help in state decision making on program/policy selection and implementation.


Concurrent Sessions 3



Creative Partnerships to Support Healthy Communities

pdf iconCreative Partnerships (PDF)

Rockbridge County is a close-knit community with a population of approximately 35,000. The area houses three universities and more than 100,000 acres of outdoor recreation space. One benefit of a small community is the ability to form strong working relationships, including partners who are not traditionally health-focused. Working with the Rockbridge Area Outdoor Partnership, originally spearheaded by the Rockbridge County Office of Community Development for economic benefits, has led to the inclusion of health goals and the publication of an outdoor resource guide for local families. Partnership with a biology course at Washington and Lee University has expanded nutrition education efforts with a course requirement of providing Virginia Cooperative Extension curricula in local schools. Representatives from the Rockbridge Area Healthy Communities Action Team will describe these projects, discuss sustainability efforts, and offer guidance on identifying and developing similar partnerships.

Get Moving! Engaging your Early Childhood Network and Families

This presentation highlights a model for recruiting and maintaining early childhood and out-of-school-time programs to make sustainable changes to both policy and practices that align with national best practices of physical activity and nutrition. Participants will learn how to grow their network, increase community partners and increase parent and staff support. Speakers will also share ideas for keeping staff and children excited and invested about physical activity and nutrition. In addition, participants will learn recommendations for increasing their efforts to include breastfeeding-friendly practices, reduced screen time, family style dinning and oral health.

Improving the Culture of Health In Early Childhood Education

pdf iconImproving ECE Health (PDF)

Establishing healthy eating habits and physical activity is important during early years for obesity prevention. This presentation explores how The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi implemented the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAPSACC) model in low-income, early childhood education (ECE) settings throughout Mississippi. This session will identify how The Partnership worked with center directors, parents, food service staff, teachers and community members to develop ECE wellness councils. This session will also explore how collaboration improved healthier eating practices and physical activity opportunities; reduced screen time; developed school gardens and wellness policies; and enhanced family engagement and community involvement programs.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: An Examination of Two Unique School Wellness Promotion Programs

pdf iconOne Size Doesn’t Fit All (PDF)

School wellness teams from Rappahannock and Fauquier County public schools that serve 850 and 12,000 students respectively, will present on health and wellness initiatives within their divisions, including successes and lessons learned. Commit to Be Fit (C2BF) is a grant-funded, school-supported program in rural Rappahannock County that is geared towards creating a healthier culture in three key areas: cafeteria, classroom and the community. Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health (FRESH) is a grant-funded program in Fauquier County School Public Schools, focusing on creating positive and healthy changes in our classrooms, cafeteria, after-school settings and within the community – ultimately helping our whole school community live healthier lives.

Social Marketing and Health Behavior Change

pdf iconSocial Marketing and Behavior Change (PDF)

Social marketing interventions can facilitate change across government, private sector and communities. Many specific social marketing programs and strategies designed to change physical activity and nutrition behaviors have been tested and target specific populations or audiences. Close collaboration between target audiences and public-private stakeholders are critical when developing messaging and communications strategies to influence health behavior. This session will feature a review of social marketing examples and explore the process for creating a strategic social marketing initiative. Participants will work in groups to create a social marketing strategy to change a selected health behavior. Despite the realization of some successful social marketing interventions, there is an urgent need for stronger advocacy and consolidated action of all stakeholders for creating social marketing programs that integrate with specific existing policy, systems and environmental/healthy lifestyle initiatives. This will maximize the impact of social marketing as a driver of social change in specific segments of the population.

Using your School Health Advisory Boards as Vehicles for Systems Change

pdf iconSchool Health Advisory Boards (PDF)


“Schools could do more than perhaps any other single institution in society to help young people, and the adults they will become, to live healthier, longer, more satisfying, and more productive lives.” — Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. A School Health Advisory Board (SHAB) is a council of community members charged with advising school divisions on relevant health and wellness issues. SHABs have the potential to be incredible vehicles for systems change within a school division. They also provide the opportunity for authentic parent and student engagement. In this session, the Chair and School Board Representative of the Chesterfield County SHAB will blend high level information on infusing a school division with health and wellness while also giving specific examples of how their SHAB has implemented policy, programming, and systems change


Prevention Connections Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth


Virginia Department of Education


Optima Health

Barber Martin


Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU