CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Perinatal Partnership recognized the lifelong contribution of retiring director Nancy Tolliver on Friday by giving her the partnership's No Greater Legacy Award, reserved for "those who have contributed most to the quality of child health in West Virginia."
Tolliver, a registered nurse, founded the West Virginia Childbirth Education Association and Women's Health Center and Birth Center of West Virginia. Her state government positions included director of community health services and deputy commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
She managed the West Virginia Community Voices Project and has directed the Perinatal Partnership since 2006. "Nancy has made a huge difference, caring for women's health for 40 years," said Renate Pore, director of the West Virginia Children and Families Coalition. "She has won the respect of everyone she has ever worked with, here in West Virginia and nationwide."
The Perinatal Partnership also gave The Charleston Gazette and reporter Kate Long a special award Friday for the yearlong Gazette project "The Shape We're In," focusing on efforts to bring down West Virginia's high numbers of chronic disease and obesity.
"The Charleston Gazette has created a badly needed and productive sustained conversation on this issue," said presenter Jeff Allen, director of the West Virginia Council of Churches. "The Gazette's late publisher, Ned Chilton, would have called it 'sustained outrage,'" he said.
West Virginia is routinely among states with the top rates of obesity-related disease, including diabetes, heart disease, strokes and a wide range of costly chronic problems. Obesity-related diseases already cost West Virginians an estimated $11 million per year, estimates health-care economist Ken Thorpe.
The awards were presented at the Perinatal Partnership's annual conference, which ended Friday.