The Virginia Public Health Association applauds Governor Northam and General Assembly leaders for proposing substantial investments in Virginia’s public health. These funds - made available by the American Rescue Plan - will improve the health of all Virginians.
The proposed budget makes significant investments toward universal broadband, clean water, food access, mental health, lead remediation, and improved ventilation in Virginia’s public schools. It also includes funds to rebuild Virginia’s public health system through proposed investments in electronic health records, building upgrades, and network infrastructure. These proposals will help prevent disease, improve well-being, and address underlying social determinants of health.
While VPHA is encouraged by this proposal, it urges lawmakers to not lose sight of existing public health crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include record drug overdose deaths, growing numbers of adults and children struggling with mental health illness, enduring poverty, and disparities in our health care system brought about by years long systematic racism. Lawmakers have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to address these critical issues during the special session and beyond.