WILLIAMSON — The Williamson Health and Wellness Center, the anchor institution of Sustainable Williamson, recently launched the “health innovation hub,” a vehicle for economic development and neighborhood revitalization with an overall goal of improving the community’s health.
“And what better place to start, than in the heart of coal country and within one of the unhealthiest regions in the United States,” Dr. Dino Beckett, President of the Williamson Redevelopment Authority, said.
The “health innovation hub,” according to a recent Sustainable Williamson campaign, is focused on overcoming major health care barriers and poor health outcomes by strengthening the local economy, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious foods, promoting a healthy built environment, such as parks, bike and walking paths) while encouraging a treatment and preventative approach.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.) praised the project, saying, “Williamson is a wonderful community that values its proud history and perseverance. Revitalizing this great community will require everyone working together, and I’m a willing and eager partner. I always stand ready to bring new opportunities for jobs, a highly trained workforce and an education that looks to the future.”
Darrin McCormick, Mayor of Williamson, was also enthusiastic about the opportunities that the project would bring to his city.
“We hope that the ‘Health Innovation Hub’ will stimulate interest across the nation in what we believe to be one of the most innovative approaches to sustainable development in rural America,” McCormick said. “Throughout the process of designing our hub model, we hope to be accepted into the HUB Global network.”
The HUB Global is a network of 30 business development HUBs located throughout the world, from Zurich, Switzerland to Melbourne, Australia. The Williamson-based“health innovation hub” would be the only HUB model that promotes business development through a health and wellness lens.
McCormick said that the “health innovation hub” could “provide a working example of (how) private and public partnerships, how government agencies and elected officials, can work with rural economies to develop solutions to some of the most perplexing problems of our region. We can in turn share our successes with other communities across Appalachia and perhaps the nation.”
For more information, visit www.sustainablewilliamson.org.