Augusta Free Press: Spanberger announces $1.1M for Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority training program

AUGUSTA FREE PRESS

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) today announced a federal grant totaling $1,185,880 for the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority’s network of Area Health Education Centers.

This additional funding will be used to support existing healthcare workforce development and recruitment efforts across Virginia, as well as to offer continuing education for healthcare professionals on topics ranging from the integration of substance use disorder screening and interventions into primary care to improvements in how the workforce can address social determinants of health.

“If our communities and our country truly want to keep our citizens healthy and safe, we must invest in a strong, resilient, and diverse healthcare workforce. This reality has been made abundantly clear by the selfless, around-the-clock contributions of doctors, nurses, and long-term care workers during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Spanberger. “Virginia’s hospitals, health systems, and Community Health Centers provide opportunities for Virginia students to build long and successful careers in our region’s health sector, and this HRSA funding will ensure our Commonwealth can help chart and inspire these career paths for more of Virginia’s young people — including in our minority and undeserved communities. AHEC programs have a demonstrated record of success, and I’d like to thank the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority for its steady focus on fostering the talents of the next generation of healthcare workers.”

The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority recognizes the urgency to recruit and retain a sufficient health workforce for Virginia, and we are pleased to receive to aid in our efforts this continued funding from HRSA,” said Keisha Smith, Executive Director, VHWDA; Director, Virginia AHEC program. “These funds will support the critical work of the 8 regional AHEC centers as we continue our initiative to increase diversity among health professionals, broaden the distribution of the health workforce, enhance health care quality, and improve health care delivery to our most prohibited populations.”

Through eight AHECs across the Commonwealth, the VHWDA helps identify, recruit, and retain healthcare professionals. In March 2020, Spanberger voted to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided millions of dollars in additional funding for AHEC programs like those in Virginia.

The $1,185,880 award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be dispersed through HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration.

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