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VHWDA awards community grants

5/14/2013, 1:32 p.m.

— The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA) has awarded $369,162 to eight organizations across the Commonwealth to strengthen health workforce and pipeline development. These grants are part of a $1.93 million federal grant awarded in 2010 to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on behalf of the VHWDA under the Affordable Care Act State Health Care Workforce Development Implementation Grants (#T55HP20285). Of the $1.93 million awarded, $1 million is allocated for community-based projects. The grantees are widely distributed across the state and include non-profits, institutions of higher education, primary care providers and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC). Each project is designed to address one of the following categories: primary care provider shortages, nursing shortages, geographic maldistribution shortages, diversity shortages or pipeline development.

"This is an exciting time to enter the healthcare industry, to train in a health professions program and to practice in Virginia," said Gay Plungas, MPH, Executive Director of the VHWDA. "Virginia is developing a statewide model of health workforce planning and the VHWDA, along with many stakeholders, is a partner in this effort. As the only state to receive a Workforce Development Implementation Grant, Virginia has the opportunity to serve as a national model."

"The eight projects recently awarded include innovative ways to address both statewide and regional health workforce needs. Several grant awards will support the creation and development of grades K-12 pipeline programs to engage our youth in traditional and non-traditional health career opportunities. One grantee is focusing on the use of telemedicine to expand the scope of provider services. Another grantee is implementing an innovative curriculum to address the demand for oral health care, especially in underserved areas of Virginia."