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Virginia Public Health Association


policy priorities

Promoting sound public health policy is a key part of the Virginia Public Health Association’s (VPHA’s) mission. VPHA’s Board of Directors, based on input from our 325+ members, adopted the following three public health policy priorities in December 2023: protect public health professionals’ ability to do their jobs, strengthen Virginia’s public health workforce, and ensure foundational public health services are available to all Virginians. You can view the policy priorities and corresponding legislative requests below.

Policy Priority: Protect Public Health Professionals’ Ability to Do Their Jobs

Virginia’s public health professionals work tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy. Unfortunately, their work is under threat. Several states have passed laws that prevent public health professionals from doing their jobs. These unnecessary restrictions are dangerous and put our health at risk. 

Our long-term goal is for policymakers and the public to understand the crucial role public health professionals play in keeping us safe and healthy.

  • Legislative Request: Oppose bills that restrict public health professionals from doing their jobs.

Policy Priority: Strengthen Virginia’s Public Health Workforce

The Virginia Department of Health received one-time, COVID-19 relief funds to bolster the public health workforce. A portion of these funds support over 100 Community Health Worker (CHW) positions across Virginia. These funds begin to expire in 2024. These CHWs are at risk of losing their jobs unless Virginia legislators replace these relief funds with state dollars. CHWs are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the communities they serve. Losing them would harm the health of communities throughout the Commonwealth. 

Our long-term goal is for Virginia to adequately invest in the public health workforce so every community can recruit and retain talented public health professionals. 

  • Legislative Request: Maintain funding for CHW positions at Virginia’s local health districts.

Policy Priority: Ensure Foundational Public Health Services are Available to All Virginians

Virginia ranks 38th nationally in public health spending per capita. This meager investment means many Virginians do not adequately benefit from foundational public health services, including communicable disease control, chronic disease and injury prevention, environmental public health, maternal, child, and family health, and access to and linkages with clinical care. 

Our long-term goal is for Virginia to adequately invest in public health so every Virginian can benefit from the foundational public health services. Our legislative request is to:

  • Legislative Request: Prevent state funding cuts to foundational public health services.

VPHA’s members also care deeply about specific public health issues. Preventing gun violence, protecting access to reproductive health care, and promoting maternal and child health as well as behavioral health especially resonate with our members. We are committed to working with partners to address these important public health issues.

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