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Our History

"One of the best coalition meetings I’ve been in. The Petersburg Wellness Consortium awarded micro-grants to agencies working with underserved communities. The focus was oral health and the range of innovative ideas to understand and increase access was outstanding."

We are excited and honored to serve as an alliance of stakeholders who strive to ensure the collective strength of resources are used to empower the community, and strengthen the culture of health in Petersburg. Please take some time to learn about our efforts and our commitment as you consider being a part of this movement.

The Petersburg Wellness Consortium (PWC) was launched in Fall 2012 by Dr. Maghboeba Mosavel, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of Medicine and Dwala Ferrell formerly of Pathways, Inc. This  academic-community partnership, known as the WE Project was established to address obesity in Petersburg. Support for the WE Project and the academic-community partnership was funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (1R24MD008128). It was the work of this partnership, and in particular, the WE Community Health Leadership Council that provided the impetus, support, and time to ensure the sustainability of the PWC. Members of the Leadership Council included: Virginia Commonwealth University, Pathways, Crater Health District, Virginia State University - Cooperative Extension Services, The Cameron Foundation, Petersburg YMCA, Petersburg Parks and Leisure Services, the Black Nurses Association, Community Gardens Network, and Mama Ruth’s Meals.

The PWC was launched after several community meetings were held by the WE project in the Spring of 2012. During these meetings, diverse community stakeholders, including residents, gathered to determine a health priority for the WE research project. These community meetings were well attended and highly engaged. After the community input was incorporated and the WE research grant submitted, Dr. Mosavel decided to launch the PWC independent from the WE project. The PWC was established with the recognition that it is important to “build something” that lives on beyond a research project. Petersburg community and community organizations’ enthusiasm and strong commitment clearly indicated a need for a consortium that would work towards being the umbrella organization for health and wellness in Petersburg. And so, the PWC was formed.














From 2013 to April 2015, the work of the PWC was supported by the WE project, the Leadership Council, and the many volunteers and community organizations who provided countless hours of their time towards improving health outcomes in Petersburg. In May 2015, a steering committee was assembled and received coaching from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Since 2015, a steering committee has formally led the PWC. The Steering Committee (Leadership Team) consisted of Maghboeba Mosavel (Chair: Virginia Commonwealth University); Valerie Liggins (The Cameron Foundation); Tiffany Cox (Crater Health District); Debbie Jones (Cooperative Extension Services) and Mike Roberts (Petersburg YMCA).


The work of the steering committee has been extensive.  Since 2015, under the leadership of Dr. Maghboeba Mosavel, the steering committee worked diligently to solidify the structure of the Petersburg Wellness Consortium (PWC) and to brand the identity of the organization as one that is focused on impacting health and health outcomes in the City of Petersburg using the lens of the social determinants of health. 


Jan O’Neill, Coach, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Project (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), provided guidance in identifying strategies for building the structure of the PWC.  Through the coaching meetings, the steering committee determined that engagement of the Petersburg City leadership, non-profit organizations, and community residents was the key first step in the process.  To this end, the steering committee and the Petersburg Wellness Consortium hosted the I AM Petersburg Stakeholder’s Forum.  The forum was well attended with over 70 attendees representing the sectors of government, health, human services, education, criminal justice, business, and community.  The key questions addressed in the summit focused on (1) Where does the individual, organization, and leadership in attendance see themselves or their organization in the broad picture of improving health in the City of Petersburg, and (2) What is the collective potential of the individuals and organizations present to create improved health for all in the City of Petersburg?


The Forum illustrated both the strengths and challenges faced by the steering committee.  The task of speaking with a unified voice on how to address health indicators was vigorously debated.  Never-the-less, one outcome of the Forum was a shared belief among the majority of attendees and the steering committee that policy change and health education are important investments that are needed in the City of Petersburg. 















The steering committee with the support of the majority of the PWC membership also worked to solidify the organization through: (1) the creation and adoption of the organizations by-laws; (2) the formation of three work groups: chronic disease, youth health and wellness, and oral health integration; (3) the development of the PWC website; (4) the election of the first leadership team: Chair, Theresa Caldwell, Vice-Chair, Annie Mickens, Secretary, Rachel Beck-Berman and Treasurer, Katelyn Schifano; (5) the development of the policies and procedures for the PWC; (6) co-sponsoring the City of Petersburg Healthy and Equitable Communities Workshop, which will result in technical assistance opportunities to assist the workgroups in strategic planning,; and (7) the first Petersburg Wellness Consortium Annual report that will be distributed in 2017. Furthermore, under the guidance of Dr. Mosavel, the steering committee secured funding through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Dentaquest Foundation to assist with the continued work of the PWC.

Historically health issues were addressed through various programs focusing on health indicators; however it was agreed that a policy

and systems approach was also needed to address health outcomes

as a complement to the programming that was already being implemented in the City of Petersburg.

 The steering committee is humbled by the opportunity to serve the community of Petersburg

and looks forward to supporting the new

leadership team as they take PWC

to the next chapter.


Members to decide Plan of Action! Working Group Action Items Forthcoming

PWC bylaws adopted; new PWC board elected

RWJ Action Award received. PWC steering committee spearheaded strategic plan implementation; developed policies and procedures. Oral Health adopted as formal Working Group

15 walking clubs started; Walking Club Toolkit developed - more than 750,000 miles logged across Petersburg; Chronic Disease and Youth Health working groups established

Million Mile Challenge Launched; Partnerships established

WE Project Launched PWC

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