West Piedmont Health District Highlights Vital Services During Public Health Week

March 30, 2016


  • Nancy Bell, Public Information Officer, 540-484-0292 x215
  • Erica McDaniel, Public Information Officer, 540-484-0292 x225

(MARTINSVILLE, Virginia) – In celebration of National Public Health Week (April 1 – 9), the West Piedmont

Health District (WPHD) is bringing awareness of vital health department services.

In recognition of Franklin County’s successful Community Giving Gardens Initiative last year, the Franklin County Health Department is offering free vegetable seed packets to the public from April 3 – 7. The packets will bear the following message: “The West Piedmont Health District wants you to help make sure fresh produce is available to everyone in your community. It’s easy! With just this one packet of seeds you can help feed healthy food to someone less fortunate.” The seed packets are available while supplies last and are limited to one per person.

“Last year, thousands of pounds of fresh produce were grown by community giving gardens in Franklin County and donated to food banks and soup kitchens,” states Population Health Manager Nancy Bell. “Not only do we want to celebrate this accomplishment, but we also want to continue the success of the initiative by providing healthy, fresh food options to everyone in our communities.” For more information, please contact Population Health Manager Nancy Bell by phone at 540-488-5004 or by email at Nancy.Bell@vdh.virginia.gov.

Because of the growing opioid epidemic throughout the Southwest region and in our localities, WPHD has been highly involved in our local task force, Drug-Free MHC, and its subgroup Opioid Task Force. Because of this epidemic, WPHD is making drug disposal kits available to the public at the Franklin County, Henry- Martinsville, and Patrick County Health Departments from April 3 – 7 (while supplies last). Kits are limited to one per person.

“Misuse of prescription pain medication is directly linked to use of heroin and other potentially fatal drugs,” states Public Health Director Dr. Jody Hershey. “Using these drug kits to dispose of unused pain medications can help prevent the selling or misuse of these medications.” For more information on the drug disposal kits, please contact Nurse Manager Verna Burnette by phone at 540-484-0292 or by email at Verna.Burnette@vdh.virginia.gov.

One of the most valuable services offered by public health departments in Virginia is the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. The West Piedmont Health District WIC program provides nutritional assistance at all three District locations:  Franklin County, Henry-Martinsville, and Patrick County Health Departments.  WIC fully supports breastfeeding mothers and their infants and can assist with obtaining breast pumps.  For more information on WIC, please contact WIC Coordinator Wyvette Dillard by phone at

276-638-2311 or by email at  Wyvette.Dillard@vdh.virginia.gov.


About West Piedmont Health District

West Piedmont Health District (WPHD) is one of the Virginia Department of Health’s 35 Health Districts and consists of four localities: Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties and the City of Martinsville. From Smith Mountain Lake to Appalachia, WPHD covers 1,568 square miles of land and 25 square miles of water in Southwest-Central Virginia. The mission of WPHD is to achieve and maintain optimum personal and community   health   through   promotion   of   health,   prevention   of   disease,   and   protection   of   the environment. For more information, visit  www.vdh.virginia.gov/lhd/westpied/.

About National Public Health Week

During  the  first  full  week  of  April  each  year,  the  American  Public  Health  Association  (APHA)  brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This observation is used as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. Over the past 20 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW and VDH has organized its own Virginia-related events for NPHW. Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme and VDH has aligned with this campaign. For more information, please visit  www.apha.org.