Virginia Public Health Association


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See below to stay up to date on what we are doing to strengthen public health practice and promote sound public health policy.

  • 09 Apr 2014 4:19 PM | Deleted user

    The nation’s health is improving in more than half of the critical measures that are known to have major influence in reducing preventable disease and death, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Healthy People 2020 represents the nation’s current 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. Twenty-six specific measuresundefinedin categories such as access to care, maternal and child health, tobacco use, nutrition and physical activityundefinedwere identified as high-priority health issues. These Leading Health Indicators (LHI), if addressed appropriately, have the potential to significantly reduce major influences or threats on the public’s health that cause illness and death.

    “The Leading Health Indicators are intended to motivate action to improve the health of the whole population. Today’s LHI Progress Report shows that we are doing just that,” says Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health. Koh also notes that with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we can expect to see more improvements across these indicators.

    There are 14 health indicators that have either been met or are improving in this first third of the decade, including:

    • Fewer adults smoking cigarettes;
    • Fewer children exposed to secondhand smoke;
    • More adults meeting physical activity targets; and
    • Fewer adolescents using alcohol or illicit drugs. 

    While progress has been made across several indicators, the LHI Progress Report highlights areas where further work is needed to improve the health of all Americans. There are 11 Leading Health Indicators that have not shown significant improvement at this point in the decade, and 1 indicator where only baseline data are available.

    For more information about the Leading Health Indicators Progress Update, please visit

    Full Press Release

  • 25 Mar 2014 1:00 PM | Deleted user

    The Virginia General Assembly returned on March 24, 2014 for a special session to complete the work on passing a budget and to consider options for closing the insurance coverage gap in Virginia.

    The Affordable Care Act intended to expand access to health care coverage by increasing Medicaid eligibility to all individuals below 138% of the federal poverty limit and creating health care exchanges that would offer subsidies to individuals with incomes between 100% – 400% of the federal poverty limit. Many Virginia lawmakers have been opposed to expanding Medicaid, citing concerns that it would be too costly to the state budget and noting their opposition to expanding government funded health care. 

    • Failure to expand Medicaid will leave a coverage gap in Virginia, with many individuals and families currently making less than the federal poverty level, but not otherwise eligible for Medicaid, being ineligible for insurance subsidies on the insurance exchange. 
    • This means that while a family of four earning between $8,500 and $23,000 would need to pay full price for insurance, those earning more can qualify for subsidies.  Nearly 200,000 Virginians fall into this coverage gap, of whom, approximately 70% are working families.
    • Virginia businesses already pay over $1 billion per year to insurers to cover costs for care for the uninsured.  These costs will continue to rise without closing the coverage gap of the uninsured. Most uninsured Virginians receive care at rural or teaching hospitals. Due to changes in federal funding, these hospitals face a shortfall of over $368M in indigent care funding from 2017-2022 if Virginia does not cover the uninsured.
    • Virginia tax payers and businesses forgo $4-$5 million in revenues each day that the Commonwealth does not expand Medicaid coverage.

    Neither the Senate nor House passed a bill for Medicaid expansion during the 2014 General Assembly.  However, the Senate has proposed an alternative, called Marketplace Virginia, which would seek to use federal money that would otherwise cover Medicaid expansion, to provide insurance premium assistance for low income Virginians, not covered by Medicaid, to purchase insurance through a managed care system.  The Senate Finance Committee has posted a presentation of Marketplace Virginia.

    The House budget does not contain any provisions for addressing the coverage gap in Virginia and the majority of delegates are opposed to such a provision; the Senate budget includes Marketplace Virginia.  Governor McAuliffe is due to release his budget this week; he has indicated that he will not sign a budget that does not contain provisions for closing the coverage gap. 

    With approximately one million Virginians (13%) currently uninsured, closing the coverage gap will have striking implications for the citizens of Virginia.  We urge you to get informed and to contact your state legislator to express your views.  You can find contact information for your legislator at the General Assembly website by clicking on Who’s My Legislator at the top of the page and entering your address.

    Links to additional information and resources:

  • 18 Mar 2014 2:21 PM | Deleted user
    New campaign empowers women.

    (Richmond, Va.) The most recent surveillance data collected by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH)indicates that 6,600 women are living with HIV disease in Virginia.Forty-eight percent of those cases progressed to an AIDS diagnosis by the end of last year. This data shines a light on the impact that HIV has upon women.

    “HIV and AIDS are taking a toll on the lives of women and their families,” said Interim State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH. “The health of women is indicative of the health of our Commonwealth.One way to improve the lives of women, and therefore families, is to empower women with knowledge and support for healthy living.”

    VDH is doing just that.In collaboration with a coalition of public and private sector partners, VDH has launched a new statewide public health campaign.The campaign, called Virginia Greater Than AIDS (Virginia>AIDS), reaches out to women through personal stories and conversations. More information...

  • 12 Mar 2014 1:48 PM | Deleted user

    The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) has released its FY 2013 annual report, outlining VFHY's latest initiatives to reduce and prevent youth tobacco use and childhood obesity across Virginia.

    Since VFHY began its efforts in 2001, the number of high school smokers in Virginia has been cut more than in half and the number of middle school smokers has been reduced by more than 70 percent!

    Download VFHY's 2013 Annual Report (PDF)

    More information

  • 12 Mar 2014 1:41 PM | Deleted user

    27 percent of February Federal Marketplace enrollees are young adults

    Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace continued to rise in February to a five-month total of 4.2 million.

    As in January, the percent of young adults who selected a Marketplace plan was 3 percentage points higher than it was from October through December (27 percent versus 24 percent).  Based on enrollment patterns in other health care programs, it is expected that more people will sign up as we get closer to the March 31st deadline.

    “Over 4.2 million Americans have signed up for affordable plans through the Marketplace,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Now, during this final month of open enrollment our message to the American people is this: you still have time to get covered, but you’ll want to sign up today – the deadline is March 31st.”

    Key findings from today’s report include:
    •More than 4.2 million (4,242,300) people selected Marketplace plans from Oct. 1, 2013, through Mar. 1, 2014, including 1.6 million in the State Based Marketplaces and 2.6 million in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace. About 943,000 people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans in the February reporting period, which concluded March 1, 2014.
    •Of the more than 4.2 million: ◦55 percent are female and 45 percent are male;
    ◦31 percent are age 34 and under;
    ◦25 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34;
    ◦63 percent selected a Silver plan (up one percentage point over the prior reporting period), while 18 percent selected a Bronze plan (down one point); and
    ◦83 percent selected a plan and are eligible to receive Financial Assistance (up one point).

    Today’s report details state-by-state information where available.  In some states, only partial datasets were available.

    The report features cumulative data for the five-month reporting period because some people apply, shop, and select a plan across monthly reporting periods.  Enrollment is measured as those who selected a plan.

    To read the report visit:

    For state-level tables highlighting enrollment-related information for the Marketplace visit:

    To hear stories of Americans enrolling in the Marketplace visit:


    View Press Release

  • 12 Mar 2014 1:36 PM | Deleted user

    Tobacco is the only product that, when used as directed, kills. Every year, more than 480,000 Americans die, millions more get sick and health care and related costs reach more than $289 billion due to tobacco use.
    Target, Wegmans and, most recently, CVS Caremark have all done the right thing – they removed tobacco from their shelves. We applaud their courage and believe that together we can build on this momentum. APHA is asking all pharmacies and retailers in the business of wellness to put their customers’ health ahead of profits from tobacco. Join us.
    Sign APHA’s petition: No tobacco sales in stores with pharmacies and

    Please add your voice to the growing number of people and organizations working to stop the epidemic of tobacco. Sign APHA’s petition and share it with family and friends.
    Together we will make the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation.


    Susan L. Polan, PhD
    APHA associate executive director, public affairs and advocacy

    View APHA message

  • 11 Mar 2014 10:41 AM | Deleted user
    The Time is Now for Health Care in Virginia

    The time is now for health care for all Virginians. The Legislature annually wrestles with questions of how to fund a long list of programs and services including quality public education for our children, supports and services for the elderly and disabled and adequate funding for public safety programs, to name a few. But, from the perspective of people of faith, caring for our neighbors and supporting families are guiding principles that shape our view of legislative decision-making and so we say clearly, the time is now for health care for all Virginians.

    Nearly 400,000 Virginians would benefit from increased access to healthcare coverage. They include members of middle to low income families and about 70 percent of those who could be covered are part of a family where at least one adult works in a low-wage job that does not include benefits. They do not earn enough to buy private health insurance coverage.

    The economic argument for expanding Medicaid is strong. What the uninsured aren’t getting is regular preventive health care that keeps them at work and out of expensive hospital emergency rooms. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services estimates that the expansion could save Virginia $1 billion by 2022 largely because charity care at teaching hospitals, care for prisoners and mental health services would shift from the state's general fund to Medicaid, with the federal government picking up most of the cost. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported that expanding Medicaid will create 30,000 new jobs in the state.

    Ultimately, the decision is about helping people in need. The decision to support expansion does not rest on dollars and cents calculations. The General Assembly has concluded and there is still no solution to the health care coverage gap. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is joining along with other advocacy groups to raise the voices of consumers and everyday people to call for the General Assembly to solve the coverage gap during a special session.

    Please join us on March 15
    th in Richmond, Virginia.  We will meet at the Capitol Bell Tower for a rally to solve the health care gap in Virginia.  All together we hope to have 1,000 people participate from all parts of the Commonwealth, so arrive early to allow for parking near the Richmond Convention Center. We are also making plans for buses to come from northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the New River Valley but those plans are still being finalized so let us know if you need help with transportation.

    Rally for Health Care
    Capitol Bell Tower

    March 15, 2014

    11 am to 12 pm

    Register Online

    Providing health care saves people’s lives, which is what our faith traditions are all about. It is time that our Legislators here in Virginia recognize what we already know: that access to health care is a moral issue, not a political one.

    Marco A. Grimaldo

    CEO & President
  • 28 Feb 2014 4:18 PM | Deleted user

    Boston, MA – Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among childrenundefinedsuch as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexiaundefinedaccording to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed.

    The report will be published online February 15, 2014 in Lancet Neurology.

    “The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis..full article.

  • 25 Feb 2014 4:50 PM | Deleted user

    On Thursday, May 1st, VAPHA will partner with George Mason University to offer the 5th Annual VAPHA Career Fair/2014 Health Career Fair. Registration will open soon for this free event.

    All Public Health Students and recent graduates can take this opportunity to present their research and projects - just submit your poster abstract prior to 5 p.m. on April 17th to be included.

    Abstracts should be no more than 200 words and summarize your rationale, methodology (if applicable), and findings/outcomes. Please include the names of all authors, with contact information, as well as the name of your college/university and program, and note whether your submission will be for display only or should be included in the judging. Prizes will be awarded for those submissions that are judged. Abstract submission deadline: 5 p.m., Thursday, April 17, 2014. Submit your abstracts to Mary Kidd at

  • 21 Feb 2014 4:36 PM | Deleted user
    Men’s health remains a relatively recent area of study compared to women’s health in the United States and internationally. On average, the health of women is better than their male counterparts, but the health of racial and ethnic minority men lags behind their White male counterparts. However self-management can mitigate poor health outcomes experienced by men, particularly racial and ethnic minority men. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between health information seeking and confidence in managing health and health care interactions among men. Dr. Keith Elder, associate professor and chair of the department of health management and policy at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, and his colleagues found health information seeking was not associated with confidence to manage health.


    However, Hispanic men were less likely to agree to have confidence to know when to seek medical care, mention concerns to doctors, and more

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