Establishing the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority

The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA) was established by the General Assembly to identify and address health workforce issues in the Commonwealth. The VHWDA accomplishes this by addressing nine core functions as stated in the Code of Virginia. The VHWDA assesses health workforce needs in Virginia; sets priorities for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program; informs health care workforce policy; promotes strategies for health workforce pipeline development; supports collaborations between communities, businesses, and social organizations to facilitate recruitment and retention efforts; advocates reducing the student debt load of health professionals; identifies High Priority Target Areas (HPTAs) within each region of the Commonwealth; and aims to create innovative health workforce development models.


VHWDA Mission

The mission of the VHWDA is to facilitate the development of a statewide health professions pipeline that identifies, educates, recruits, and retains a diverse, appropriately geographically distributed and culturally competent quality workforce. The mission of the Authority is accomplished by:

  • providing the statewide infrastructure required for health workforce needs assessment and planning that maintains engagement by health professions training programs in decision making and program implementation;
  • serving as the advisory board and setting priorities for the Virginia Area Health Education Centers Program;
  • coordinating with and serving as a resource to relevant state, regional, and local entities including the Department of Health Professions Workforce Data Center, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the Joint Commission on Health Care, the Southwest Virginia Health Authority, or any similar regional health authority that may be developed;
  • informing state and local policy development as it pertains to health care delivery, training, and education;
  • identifying and promoting evidence-based strategies for health workforce pipeline development and interdisciplinary health care service models, particularly those affecting rural and other underserved areas;
  • supporting communities in their health workforce recruitment and retention efforts and developing partnerships and promoting models of participatory engagement with business and community-based and social organizations to foster integration of health care training and education;
  • advocating for programs that will result in reducing the debt load of newly trained health professionals;
  • identifying high priority target areas within each region of the Commonwealth and working toward health workforce development initiatives that improve health measurably in those areas; and
  • fostering or creating innovative health workforce development models that provide both health and economic benefits to the regions they serve.


Funding for VHWDA

The Virginia Health Workforce Development Initiative is a program to facilitate the development of a competent, quality health workforce that meets the primary health care needs of all Virginians. On September 30, 2010, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on behalf of the VHWDA, was awarded a federal grant of $1.93 million under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Affordable Care Act State Health Care Workforce Development Implementation Grants (#T55HP20285), to start this Initiative. This was the only grant of its type awarded in the country. Of the $1.935,137.00 total award, $1,000,000.00 is allocated for community-based projects. The HRSA-funded Model State Supported AHEC (Grant #U77HP03047) provided  9% ($182,336.00) of support for this initiative.

Find Local Support

Blue Ridge Region AHEC – Shenandoah Valley

Capital Region AHEC – Richmond Metro and surrounding areas

Eastern Virginia Region AHEC – Southeast Virginia and Peninsula

Northern Virginia Region AHEC – Northern Virginia

Rappahannock Region AHEC – Northern Neck, Fredericksburg, and Middle Peninsula

South Central Region AHEC – Lynchburg, Danville, and surrounding area

Southside Region AHEC – South of Richmond

Southwest Virginia Region AHEC – Roanoke Valley and West