March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The VDH Cancer Prevention and Control Program works to decrease the burden of colorectal and other cancers through helping to develop and promote evidence-based strategies shown to prevent and control cancer. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death. However, CRC screening makes dying from this disease preventable. During this month, VDH wants to continue to spread the message that CRC is “Preventable. Treatable. Beatable!”

Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. It is also called colon cancer. Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.

Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. If you’re 50 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 50 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened. Learn about other ways to lower your risk.

To learn more about decreasing CRC risks, visit this page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Coming Soon to “This Week in Richmond” with Host David Bailey

Coming soon to This Week in Richmond with David Bailey, featuring State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA; Chief Medical Officer Chethan Bachireddy, MD, DMAS; Gena Berger, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

This episode will feature topics, including maternal health initiatives, Medicaid expansion, home visiting and doula budget proposals and the Governor’s five-year plan to reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality. Dr. Norm Oliver also briefly addressed the state’s response to COVID-19, as well as VDH preparedness and response activities.

This episode will air the week of March 1, and will available online at:

World TB Day is March 24

It's Time to End TB. World TB Day. March 24

World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of tuberculosis (TB) around the world. For many decades, death was likely for people with tuberculosis (TB). World TB Day celebrates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch discovered the cause of tuberculosis. At the time of Koch’s announcement, TB was raging through both Europe and the Americas. It caused the death of one out of every seven people. Dr. Koch’s discovery was an important step toward the control and elimination of this deadly disease.

Scientists later learned that there are two types of TB Conditions:

  • TB disease – People with TB Disease are sick from active TB bacteria.  They usually have symptoms such as cough, fever, tiredness, or weight loss.  They may spread the bacteria to others.
  • TB infection – People with latent (or inactive) TB infection do not feel sick, Do not have symptoms and cannot spread TB bacteria to others. If left untreated, the inactive, non-contagious form of TB can become an infectious form of the disease.

TB in Virginia

TB was the first disease that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) addressed when it was formed in 1908.  At that time, VDH had a staff of four and a budget of $40,000. At least half of the budget was used to help the 12,100 Virginians living with TB at that time.  Today, TB remains an important preventable disease in Virginia.  Treating cases of infectious TB disease is important, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  We will never end TB without screening people for latent TB infection and treating it to prevent its progression.   Treatment for LTBI can be as short as one dose of medicine a week for 12 weeks!

Should you be screened for latent (or inactive) TB Infection?  You may want to contact your health provider or local health department if you:

  • Have close contact (in your home or workplace) with a person with infectious TB disease;
  • Have lived or visited for 3 months or more in a country where tuberculosis is common;
  • Have been homeless and lived in a shelter or other setting where many people live together;
  • Have a medical condition that makes it hard for your body to fight infections, such as diabetes mellitus, severe kidney disease or HIV infection;
  • Take medical treatments such as steroids on a regular basis or take special medicines for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s Disease.

Want more information about Latent Tuberculosis Infections?  Please visit:

Patients Come First Podcast with Dr. Lilian Peake

– This episode of the Patients Come First podcast features an interview with Virginia Department of Health State Epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake, MD, MPH. During the conversation, Dr. Peake discusses the work of epidemiology and the fight against infectious diseases, including the current coronavirus threat. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastSpotifyStitcherTuneInSoundCloudBlubrryPodbayOvercast, and Pocket Casts. You can also view the podcast by visit: Send questions, comments, or feedback to

February is American Heart Month

This video features Dr. Daniel Carey, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, celebrating American Heart Month and giving heart health tips.

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for men and women in Virginia. About half of all Americans (47%) have at least 1 of 3 key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). A key part of Virginia’s Plan for Well-Being focuses on preventive actions that keep Virginians active and healthy, and the good news is that most heart disease and its complications are completely preventable by making healthy choices and knowing your risk factors.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. If you have high blood pressure, manage it by going to your health care provider for regular visits, taking your prescribed medication, and monitoring your blood pressure at home.

One of the greatest concerns with heart disease, especially CAD, is having a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when a part of the heart muscle dies or gets damaged due to reduced blood supply. If you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack you are more likely to survive.

The four major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulders
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
  • General chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath

If you or a loved one have any of these symptoms call 911 immediately and get to the hospital quickly. Making healthy lifestyle choices after a heart attack can reduce the risk of future heart attacks.

If you make healthy lifestyle choices, you can prevent heart disease and its complications. Make a promise to yourself to:

  • Choose heart healthy meals
  • Limit salt and sodium intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight and learn your body mass index(BMI)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Breathe clean air (don’t smoke) and limit alcohol use

It is easy to keep your heart healthy, so this Valentine’s Day give your loved ones the gift of a healthy and happy heart!

More Resources:

Health Topics

Healthy People Topic Area

Personal Health Tools


Other Resources

As Seen on This Week in Richmond…

On This Week in Richmond with David Bailey, Olivette Burroughs, Health Workforce Specialist, and Veronica Cosby, Partners in Prayer & Prevention Coordinator, discuss what they’re doing to reduce health inequities across Virginia: Learn more about what the Virginia Partners in Prayer & Prevention (Virginia P3) program and the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program (VA-SLRP) are doing in your communities.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Open Enrollment Period Extended!

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Open Enrollment Period Extended!

Virginia Medication Assistance Program clients can still enroll in ACA insurance plans because the ACA open enrollment period has been extended until 3:00 a.m. December 18, 2019 for coverage that will start January 1, 2020.  If you need enrollment help, please call Benalytics at 1-855-483-4647.  If you have other Virginia Medication Assistance Program questions or need help to ensure you submit all information needed for VDH to pay your premiums, please call (855) 362-0658 or Toll-Free Fax to (877) 837-2853.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 1 – 7, 2019

It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

Keep your family strong. Vaccinate. Fight Flu.

It’s that time of year again — flu season. As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Get a flu vaccine now if you have not gotten vaccinated yet this season.

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Even if you are vaccinated and still get sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of your illness. Flu vaccination also can help protect women during and after pregnancy and protect the baby born to a vaccinated mom for several months after birth. Flu vaccine also has been shown to save children’s lives, prevent serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevent flu-related hospitalization among working age adults and older adults. Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as babies, older adults, and pregnant women.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season! CDC Get A Flu Shot Graphic (superhero arm with a bandaid)

You can find out where to get a flu shot in your area by:

Be familiar with the symptoms of flu and the people most at risk from flu complications, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions. If you fall into one of those groups, make sure you get vaccinated promptly, and treated promptly if you do get the flu.

There are also simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of flu:

  • Always cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that get touched a lot, such as door handles, countertops, and faucets.
  • If you feel sick, stay home from work or school

Learn more about the Flu and how to care for you and your loved ones.


World AIDS Day is December 1

World AIDS Day takes place December 1 of each year.  It is a time when people across the world can take the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and show support for those living with HIV, and remember those that have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses.  Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

You can read more about World AIDS Day on the official website*.

Find an event near you and get involved for World AIDS Day 2019.  Show your support by wearing a red ribbon.  Get tested and update your HIV status.  Learn about advances in HIV prevention and care.  Share resources on HIV and World AIDS Day on your social media.  There are many ways to get involved.

This year marks the first full year of Virginia’s Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) program.  Virginia’s CHR program provides new syringes and needles, disposes of used syringes, refers participants to drug treatment and medical care, distributes Naloxone (to reverse overdoses), provides education and counseling, provides testing for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases, and provides referrals to social services and insurance.  Since the beginning of the program, 553 Virginians were tested for HIV.  The program has found previously-identified HIV-positive persons and re-engaged them into medical care.  For more information on the Virginia CHR program or to find locations, visit

For Virginia Medication Assistance Program clients:  Remember that open enrollment for 2020 could be ending soon, depending on your health plan.  Read the enrollment announcement and take action now.

The Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:30 pm.  You can reach a counselor at 800-533-4148.

*This website link is the official website and is provided to give background on the global health day.  VDH providing this link does not constitute an endorsement of the organization’s campaign or a request for donations to the campaign. more>>

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 20-26, 2019

Lead is Still Found in Many Homes

Lead is a toxic metal that is still present in and around many homes in lead-based paint and urban soils. Lead can also be tracked in if parents have jobs or hobbies that expose them to lead. Children who are exposed to lead at a young age are at increased risk for speech delay, learning disabilities, and ADHD. A simple blood test can tell if your child has been exposed to lead. If you have children under six years old, ask your doctor if they might be at risk for lead poisoning. See the EPA’s home page on lead for more information.

Protect Your Child from Lead Around Your Home

If you live in a home built before 1978 your home may contain lead paint. Use a damp rag to clean up any paint chips.  Frequent wet cleaning will remove dust and dirt that could contain lead. Leave shoes by the door to avoid tracking in lead, and don’t let your child play in bare dirt around the house. If you do renovation projects, hire a contractor with RRP certification or follow guidelines for safe do-it-yourself renovation.

Lead Abatement Assistance is Available in Richmond and Roanoke

The cities of Richmond and Roanoke have obtained federal grants that will help pay to control lead hazards in private homes for qualifying homeowners. Residents of those cities who are interested should contact their local health department.

Lead Safe Virginia

VDH helps keep your water safe

Information about lead and drinking water 

CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention

Prevent childhood lead poisoning