Since its launch in 2011, WVSOM's Healthy Children's Initiative and Abracadabra television series have served as a springboard for greater visibility of the school and engagement with health issues of importance to West Virginians.
In recognition of the show's positive impact, the school's Healthy Children's Initiative was recognized with the 2013 Governor's Award for Excellence in Rural Health during the West Virginia Rural Health Conference Annual Awards and Recognition Luncheon.
The Governor's Award for Excellence is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of exceptionally meritorious contributions to the improvement of health for rural West Virginians. It honors creative work of particular effectiveness in applying knowledge or innovation to the betterment of community health.
WVSOM's Healthy Children's Initiative is composed of four elements – television, online activities, live events and publications. Thirteen new episodes of Abracadabra achieved strong ratings in their second season, elevating conversations about children's health and nutrition among influential viewers.
New outreach efforts into schools, community centers and health fairs around the state allowed WVSOM to further connect with young audiences on issues of health and wellness. Educational concepts have been developed to address childhood health, science and other themes with supporting materials distributed to West Virginia school teachers, librarians and other educators who may incorporate the show's messages into their classroom instruction. In collaboration with WV Public Broadcasting, new elementary curriculum modules are in development to encourage improved retention of health messages.
"As I travel around the state to meet with government and education leaders, alumni, donors and friends of the school, I find an enhanced awareness of who WVSOM is as an institution and what we stand for in terms of medical education, rural care and patient health. This is important to the advancement of our mission," said WVSOM President Michael Adelman, D.O., D.P.M., J.D. "Whether it is the compassion and commitment demonstrated by our students in their community service projects, the work of WVSOM's Healthy Children's Initiative to improve health outcomes for a new generation of West Virginians, or the impact our student doctors and graduates are having in their day-to-day care of others, WVSOM stands out as an institution passionate about service."