WVU Extension Agent—
Families and Health, Cabell County
For Brenda Porter, the WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Cabell County, her role in the community revolves around a positive outlook and a dedication to battle health struggles in her county. Porter’s efforts focus on the prevention of health problems before they arise and helping West Virginians with useful steps to reach health goals.
She challenges herself to not only adapt programs to reach a wider and more diverse audience, but to also make the program outcomes more obtainable and meaningful for Cabell County residents by using incremental steps and goals.
One program Porter takes particular pride in is ‘A New You: Health for Every Body’. The program encourages minor changes in everyday routines that can welcome everyday healthy habits that grow into lifelong, healthy habits.
“We need to lose the doom, gloom and dissatisfaction that occurs with weight loss goals and focus on feeling better through positive attitudes and actions,” Porter said. “It’s as much about a positive outlook as much as it is numbers.”
Porter’s work also focuses on preventative health programs, such as pre-diabetes, heart disease and hidden calories in food and drinks.
And, while she says that her office door is always open, she also reaches out to her community members in new and creative ways. Porter serves as a recurring guest on a Huntington-area news broadcast and delivers weekly health messages to senior citizens through a phone call system.
In addition to addressing current issues, Porter also works to curb future ones, like workforce development.
“With one of the largest cities in the state at our doorstep, it’s critical to make sure that we have a trained and qualified workforce to support both people and industry around a busy college town,” said Porter.
She serves as an instructor for the Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist project which creates skilled and informed early childhood care professionals.
Porter is also a certified ServSafe instructor, which allows her to help restaurant managers and employees adhere to proper food safety regulations.
She belongs to numerous professional organizations, including the Extension Association of West Virginia, Epsilon Sigma Phi and formerly serving as the president of the Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
She received a master’s degree in adult and technical education and a bachelor’s degree in business accounting from Marshall University.
To contact Porter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Cabell County office at 304-743-7151.