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Spanberger Secures $1.2 Million for Virginia Health Workforce Development

August 10, 2020 by Reece Nations

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., announced Monday the acquisition of $1.2 million in federal grant funds for the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority’s recruitment efforts, continuing education and health care workforce development.

The VHWDA grant will be issued to the organization’s network of Area Health Education Centers, according to Spanberger’s office. This ancillary funding will go towards investments in Virginia’s existing health care workforce and supplementary learning programs.

The continuing education offered through these programs will further inform health care professionals on issues ranging from “the integration of substance use disorder screening” to “interventions into primary care to improvements in how the workforce can address social determinants of health,” the release said.

“If our communities and our country truly want to keep our citizens healthy and safe, we must invest in a strong, resilient, and diverse health care workforce,” Spanberger said in a statement. “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. 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 underserved communities.”

Further, Spanberger thanked the VHWDA and AHEC for the organizations’ role in “fostering the talents of the next generation of health care workers.” VHWDA works to identify, recruit and retain health care professionals through eight AHECs across the state.

In March, Spanberger voted to pass the CARES Act, providing additional funding for AHEC programs across the country. The $1.1 Million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be dispersed through the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration.

“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 aid in our efforts like the continued funding from HRSA,” Keisha Smith, VHWDA executive director and director of Virginia’s AHEC program, said. “These funds will support the critical work of the 8 [sic] 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.” 

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