The VHWDA is working strategically and continuously with its partners to elevate awareness about opportunities that are available for individuals to become health professionals.  These are individuals who are competent, committed, compassionate, and driven to promote health and treat those who are challenged by their poor health status.

During the last several months, the VHWDA has created a framework to support its statewide AHEC Scholars Program.  The design provides for subcommittees that are managed by the VHWDA Executive Director and charged with developing deliverables that address key elements of the Scholars Program as required by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a condition for continued funding.

The Authority is indeed fortunate and honored for health care experts in the Commonwealth to step up and serve in a leadership role as chairs of the following subcommittees:

Curriculum Development Committee
Dr. Alan Dow, Chair
Assistant V.P. of Health Sciences  for IPE and Collaborative Care,
Assistant Dean for Medical Education
Virginia Commonwealth University
Faculty Recruitment/Development Committee
Dr. Keith Howell, Chair
Associate Dean for Research and Program Evaluation
College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University

Student Recruitment/Retention Committee
Ms. Aileen Harris, Chair
Center Director
Capital Area Health Education Center
Program Promotion, Development, and Funding
Dr. David Trinkle, Chair
Associate Dean of Community and Culture 
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Program Evaluation/Reporting Committee
Mr. Rexford Anson-Dwamena, Chair
Program Evaluator, VHWDA
Site Identification/Preparation Committee
Ms. Donna Dittman Hale, Chair
Center Director
Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) AHEC

The subcommittees will convene in Richmond on April 11, 2018 to share proceedings and outcomes, comment on the provisions of the master plan, and identify next steps to assure a roll out of a high-quality program that makes a statement in Virginia and the nation as best in  class.

The second initiative involves the design and implementation of a Youth Health Summit for 10th and 11th grade students from Richmond Public Schools on April 16, 2018 to be held at the Bon Secours, Washington Redskins Training Center.  The interactive, half-day summit will motivate students to learn more about careers in health care. The event will provide students with various hands-on activities designed to give them a glimpse into the health professions field. The various exhibits and workshops will also serve as a forum to meet and ask questions of the many professionals and current health professions students in the field.  Exposing students to careers in health care represents a proven strategy that helps to fill the pipeline of highly qualified professionals. The program will also help jumpstart the thinking of participating youth to consider health care careers. The Authority anticipates participation by exhibitors who have distinct roles in educating, training, or employing health care workers.
I am inspired by the broad-based support that the VHWDA has experienced in its programming.


Mr. Neal Graham  serves as the treasurer for the VHWDA and brings a wealth of relevant experience.  He is CEO of the Virginia Community Healthcare Association and has led this organization since 2001. He is responsible for the overall operation, management, program development, and fiscal control of the Association. Mr. Graham has a wealth of expertise to carry out successfully his primary duties include agency management, financial development and administration, legislative advocacy, membership recruitment, community assessment, long-range planning and staff supervision. Prior to joining the Association,  Mr. Graham served for more than ten years as the Virginia Department of Health's Director of Tobacco Use Control Program, which focused on the prevention of tobacco-related deaths and diseases in Virginia.
Mr. Graham currently serves on several Boards including the Virginia Rural Health Association, the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (treasurer), and the Connect Virginia Health Information Exchange. Mr. Graham received a Bachelor and Master of Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University .


Launch of AHEC Scholars Program 
Updates on the new GME Funding
Breakfast and Learn Symposiums
New VHWDA Partnerships

Keisha L. Smith, MPA
Tel: 804.562.4928 
Henrico, VA