Community event to be held to promote health benefits of walkability

A relatively new public health program to improve health for vulnerable community members will hold an event this Saturday morning to spread awareness of their work 

Betsy Peyton is the director of WellAWARE, a partnership program between UVA Health, the Charlottesville Free Clinic, and Central Virginia Health Services that seeks to serve medically underserved communities. 

“We are an innovative, new community health program that sends community health workers into people’s homes to help connect them to better health care,” Peyton said. 

Peyton said this includes neighborhoods such as Rose Hill and the 10th and Page neighborhood as well as the Esmont area in southern Albemarle. 

“We chose these neighborhoods related to health data,” Peyton said. “Highest rates of obesity, stroke, highest rates of low acuity emergency room visits, so people going to the emergency room for things like a headache.” 

WellAWARE is intended to connect people to primary care physicians. 

“We’ve signed a lot of people up for Medicaid who are scared to go the doctor because they weren’t sure how they would pay,” Peyton said. “We drive people to the doctor or provide free cabs to the doctor.” 

Peyton said the organization also holds events to promote awareness of healthy lifestyles, and this Saturday there’s one coming up in central Charlottesville.

“So this event, we’re partnering with Move 2 Health Equity and it’s going to be a big event in Washington Park called Healthy Streets and Healthy People,” Peyton said. 

Peyton said the event will draw importance to the need for environmentally healthy streets. 

“If you’ve looked at maps of Charlottesville and the region, the areas that have the least shade also have the worst health outcomes, are also the poorest, and traditionally African-American neighborhoods,” Peyton said. “And so part of the mission of this event is to talk about more bikeability, more tree canopy, usable parks.” 

The event will take place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be a “gentle” walk/run with prizes, a field day event for kids, and gardening sessions where people can take home containers of potted herbs and vegetables. There will also be some general medical training. Learn more in this link to a press release.

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the July 13, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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