Southside Health Education Foundation

Project Lead:
Deborah Williamson, JD, MPA
Executive Director, SHEF
Phone: (804) 721-9930

Ms. Williamson has spent over 20 years managing organizations, advocating for individuals and issues, and educating adult learners. She has worked for numerous national, state and local organizations. She served as an attorney with the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy and has held faculty positions in higher education for nearly a decade, including current positions with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Office of Community Engagement. Ms. Williamson has over ten years in nonprofit leadership roles including particular expertise in collaborative regional development work. Her primary professional responsibility is to the Southside Health Education Foundation, where she serves as Executive Director, and, under the direction of its Board of Directors, leads fundraising efforts, manages its scholarship and loan programs, and collaborates with community leaders in the health care industry and K-12 and higher education to build a “home grown” health care workforce for the region.

Project Summary

The Southside Health Education Foundation (SHEF) is awarded $38,400 to develop and implement a health careers pipeline program—Southside Health Care Careers Experiential Learning Program (Health-CEL)—for students from 16 to 20 years of age. Under the leadership of SHEF, area hospitals, health care providers, colleges and universities have partnered to support this 40+ hour program which will provide students with experiential learning.

In its first year, students will be introduced to health careers and current practitioners at area hospitals, learn the requirements for specific career paths, become familiar with hospital and post-secondary educational campuses, learn about educational financial resources and map a personal health career pathway. Each activity is designed to help students cultivate the intellectual potential and social capital needed to pursue education and find career success in health care positions in Southside Virginia. This is the Southside region’s first collaborative partnership to address high poverty, poor educational attainment and chronic disease levels.

Southside Health Education Foundation
P.O. Box 867
Colonial Heights, VA 23842
Phone: (804) 733-1414

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