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 individuals and teams to develop and implement policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes in local communities. Our goal is to increase access to opportunities for physical activity, employment, education, recreation and more by bringing together a diverse group of professionals, advocates, and champions to address local mobility and moveability issues. Participants consist of local/regional teams and individuals. Each receive training and technical assistance, both in-person and virtually. All participants develop a detailed action plan to pursue a PSE change to improve mobility and moveability in their community.

2022 VWAI Cohort Application

VDH is currently accepting VWAI 2022 applications between now and Thursday, September 23, 2021 until 11:59 pm.

  • Overview Document: Review this document to learn more about the VWAI 2022 goals, components, eligibility criteria, and application process. You can access the Overview Document here.
  • Application: The online VWAI application can be found here. You can also download* a PDF copy of the application here.
    *Please note that the downloadable copy of the application is for reference only. All applications must be submitted online.
  • Application Information Webinar: A webinar will be hosted to share more information about the VWAI, changes to the program, and how to apply. The VWAI team will also be available to respond to questions related to the VWAI and the application process. Register for the webinar here. The recording will be shared after the conclusion of the webinar.
  • Application Info Webinar Recording: Click here to view video.

2019 Cohort 1 Team

Central Shenandoah
Eastern Shore
Richmond City

2020 Cohort 2 Team

Central Shenandoah
Central Virginia
Prince William