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Virginia Public Health Association

An HBCU Call to Action: Pathways into Public Health

  • 21 Mar 2014
  • 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Virginia State University Gateway Event Center
  • 69


Online registration for this event is now closed. If you would like to attend, please contact VAPHA administrator Mary Kidd at or 804/367-4860.


Program purpose: Convene a one day meeting of partners from Virginia’s HBCUs, along with representatives from the existing Public Health programs and other stakeholders, to develop a consensus action plan to grow the pipeline for minority students to enter the public health workforce.


Click here for a detailed agenda.


There is a demonstrated and growing shortage of qualified public health practitioners across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the public health workforce fails to reflect the diversity of the state’s population. In order to begin to remedy this situation, the Virginia Public Health Association has joined with Norfolk State University and the Commonwealth Public Health Training Center to host An HBCU Call to Action: Pathways into Public Health on Friday, March 21st at Virginia State University.

In Virginia, where nearly 30% of the population self-identifies as minority, the 2011 Healthcare Workforce Data findings (Department of Health Professions’ Healthcare Workforce Data Center) revealed that:

  • Only 8% of licensed clinical social workers in Virginia are black and the median age of licensed clinical social workers was 52.
  • Only 7% of the licensed professional counselor workforce is black, and the median age of Virginia’s licensed professional counselor workforce was 52.
  • Only 7% of Virginia’s physician workforce is black, and the median age of the physician workforce was 49, with over 62 percent being above the age of 45.

With public health’s focus on health equity and reducing disparities, the partners in this program believe that there is a proven need to encourage more minority students to enter public health as a career field, both to more effectively address looming health crises and to develop a workforce that more accurately reflects the demographic composition of the state as a whole.

While no one initiative can eliminate all of the disparities that exist, the partner organizations will convene interested stakeholders, including representatives from each of Virginia’s HBCUs and the current Masters of Public Health Programs, to begin to address these needs by:

  • Building pathways for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to work with the existing programs of Public Health to develop course content that would prepare students to enter the public health workforce;
  • Increasing access to and awareness of public health education within the Commonwealth utilizing a collaborative approach amongst the state’s HBCUs and the existing academic programs of Public Health in the Commonwealth; and
  • Allowing students to increase their knowledge of Public Health’s core competencies and make an informed decision about Public Health as a career option. 

Program schedule:

8:00 a.m. Registration with Continental breakfast

8:45 a.m. Welcome/Introduction

9:00 a.m. Keynote Address: Allan Noonan, MD, MPH, RADM (ret), U.S. Public Health Service


10:00 a.m.  Break

10:10 a.m.  Breakout Discussions

  • Faculty Session: Valire Carr Copeland, Ph.D., MPH, University of Pittsburgh
  • Student Session: Juanita Graham, DNP, RN, FRSPH, Mississippi Department of Health

11:30 a.m. Lunch

12:30 p.m. Work Sessions

  • Faculty
  • Student

2:00 p.m. Break

2:15 p.m. Next Steps

3:00 p.m. Adjourn

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