Local Communities

The built environment is where we live, work, and play. It can include anything from roads, utilities, infrastructure, buildings, furnishings, and open and public spaces. These spaces directly impact a population’s health.

Many Virginians are at risk for developing chronic diseases. This is due to health behaviors that are influenced by a built environment. Some environments can limit accessibility to nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity. Low income and Black, Latino, and other ethnic minority communities are most negatively affected by their built environment.

One of our priorities is to improve walkability in cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Our work focuses on improving walkability through active transportation, health equity, and transportation equity. To do this, we work closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Virginia’s State Engagement Model (StEM) Activity Communities: 

VDH is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to create a statewide action plan to improve active transportation, walkability, health and transportation equity. VDH has received technical support from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors for this work.

Virginia Walkability Action Institute (VWAI):

VWAI works with local and regional teams to create policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes to local communities. Their goal is to increase access to physical activity, with a focus on walking and walkability. Members receive training and technical assistance, both in-person and virtual. Teams develop a detailed action plan to pursue a policy or system change to improve walkability in their community.

2021 VWAI Application

VDH is currently accepting VWAI 2021 applications between now and Tuesday, October 20, 2020 until 11:59pm.

  • Official VWAI 2021 Announcement: Use this to share with your partners and networks.
  • VWAI 2021 Overview Document: Read this document to learn more about the VWAI 2021 goals, schedule, and the application.
  • VWAI 2021 Application: A link to the online VWAI application can be found here. You can also download a full copy of the application here.
  • VWAI Webinar Recording: View the recording from September 24, 2021 here.

2019 Cohort 1 Team

Central Shenandoah
Eastern Shore
Richmond City

2020 Cohort 2 Team

Central Shenandoah
Central Virginia
Prince William