Virginia Public Health Association
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Connecting the voices of public health in Virginia

The President's Message

November 15, 2020

As we approach Thanksgiving this fall, it’s hard to believe that we are still in a fight to stop COVID-19. During the spring, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual conference and host a virtual poster session on our website. A special journal issue was created to highlight the virtual posters and abstracts.  

In recent months, we sent out a membership survey. You spoke, and we listened. Based on member feedback we will be offering free webinars. Our first webinar will be provided on December 8, 2020, on Influenza:  Burdens, Disparities, & Vaccine Effectiveness by Dr. Ferdaus Hassan. Additional webinars will be provided in 2021. We will also be adding a student member to the board of directors. We will announce the student application process soon. Lastly, a virtual town hall will be hosted so members can share what they would like VPHA to accomplish this year.  

As we approach Spring 2021, we will be hosting our annual conference virtually. Save the date of April 9, 2021. Stay tuned for additional opportunities to get involved in VPHA.

Thank You,

Ashley Tharpe, MA, MPH, EdD, CHES

President, VPHA 

March 24, 2020

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Virginia Public Health Association!  VPHA is a state affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA). 

Public health is in the headlines right now as COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is sweeping across the world and our nation. You can access accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on the Official Site of The Commonwealth of VirginiaYou can also find reliable information and updates about the virus on the website and social media platforms of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now more than ever, it is an important time to join VPHA and the growing community of public health professionals and students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

We look forward to collaborating and partnering with you on shared public health interests - please contact us at any time with any questions or suggestions you may have.

To your good health, 

Ashley Tharpe, MPH, EdD, CHES

VPHA President

February 19, 2018

Welcome to the VPHA website! Our Board is comprised of public health professionals in both community and academic settings.  Our focus is to provide a an opportunity for the public health community to network and learn of all the public and community health related efforts going on in Virginia. To that end, we are looking forward to our upcoming VPHA 2018 Annual Conference and Student Research Day.  This is a great opportunity for the public health community in Virginia to network, present posters, and hear some timely presentations on the Opioid Crisis and Gun Violence.  The VPHA Annual Conference and Student Research Day is Friday, April 20, 2018 at Liberty Mountain Conference Center 3700 Candler’s Mountain Road Lynchburg VA 24502.  For more information look under the Events tab or under Upcoming Events. 

Kerry J. Redican, MPH, PhD, CHES

President, VPHA

(540) 231-5743

May 27, 2016 

At the unofficial beginning of summer, I'm writing to provide a brief update on VAPHA. On April 29th, the Association held its 7th Annual Career Fair and Research Day. An employer expo featuring public health organizations from around Virginia took place in the morning. The keynote presentation was given by Dr. Julietta Rodriguez-Guzman, with PAHO/WHO, entitled "Public Health Workforce Around the World." VPHA members conducted roundtable discussions on career planning and jobs in public health. In addition, over 20 public health students participated in the Student Research Poster Presentation Competition, with prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

In recent months, VAPHA weighed in on several important public health advocacy issues. In May, we joined other public health organizations in opposing H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016). This bill would significantly weaken school nutrition standards for meals and snacks and beverages (Smart Snacks), accountability and compliance and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The bill would also weaken access to school meal programs. In April, VAPHA signed onto a letter with the American Lung Association in Virginia  urging Governor McAuliffe and his administration to protect the Clean Power Plan from legislative attacks in the General Assembly. In February, we signed onto a letter from APHA and other public health organizations supporting level funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration in the amount of $7.48 billion in the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. 

Our annual conference has been rescheduled for Spring 2017. It will be combined with the Annual Career Fair and Research Day. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in the planning!

In the meantime, please take some time to visit to see recent news and job postings. I hope everybody enjoys their summer!

Mike Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

President, VPHA


December 2015

Season’s Greetings VPHA Members,

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our progress over the last year, and our plans for 2016. Since the fall of 2014, VPHA has been an all-volunteer organization due to the end of grant funding. While this has slowed us down a bit, it has not stopped us from making progress as an organization.

On April 23rd of this year, VPHA hosted our annual student career fair in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Twelve (12) employers participated, along with 57 students. Immediately after the career fair, we conducted our annual meeting, during which I assumed the role of President for the next two years.

Also during the past year, several long-serving Board members completed their service to VAPHA and were replaced by a new cohort of talented public health professionals who are equally committed to leading VPHA. Please visit the website to learn more about the current Board and the organizations they represent.

You may recall responding to a survey in June of this year that asked for your feedback on how VAPHA can most effectively support its members and promote the public’s health.  The summary report, which was completed by an MPH student intern, can be found here. The responses identified several benefits that would be valuable for members. These include advocacy and policy development, social networking, and continuing education opportunities. We have begun to focus on these priorities in a number of ways.

In the last several months, VPHA has lent its support to several advocacy efforts to promote public health. We signed on to the American Lung Association’s Clean Power Plan for Virginia, APHA letters to maintain federal funding for the CDC and HRSA, a letter from a coalition of national public health organizations to support the confirmation of the acting Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a letter from national organizations encouraging Congress to end the ban on federal funding for research into gun violence. Most recently, VPHA has become a supporter of the American Heart Association’s Closer to Your Grocer campaign in Virginia to advocate for funding from the General Assembly to support the creation of grocery stores in food deserts across the Commonwealth. Overtime, we anticipate the opportunity to engage VPHA members directly in these and other advocacy efforts.

To address members’ interest in networking opportunities, VPHA will hold its annual career and internship fair and student poster session in April of 2016 and its conference and annual meeting in the fall of 2016. The latter event will also provide opportunities for members to earn continuing education (CE) credits. As the planning for both events progresses, we will reach out to the VPHA membership to engage you in the planning. We hope to make other CE opportunities available throughout the year as well.

In Spring 2016, we will publish (online) the inaugural issue of the Virginia Journal of Public Health.  The issue will go into production in January and should be available sometime in February.  We are looking forward to having the journal serve as an opportunity for Virginia-based public health professionals to publish practice and research articles of interest to the Virginia public health community.

Finally, in order to define our organizational direction more clearly and to meet the needs of members as identified in the survey, the VPHA Board will conduct a half-day strategic planning retreat in March of 2016. Between now and then, please share any additional thoughts you may have about how VPHA can serve you and how you can become involved in VPHA to shape it into a leader in advancing the public’s health.

I sincerely thank you for your membership in VPHA and hope that you are as excited as the VPHA Board and I are about the great things we can do for our profession and the Commonwealth in 2016 and beyond.  Please spread the word and encourage others to join us on this journey!

Happy Holidays,

Mike Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

President, VPHA


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