April 2, 2024
Media Contact: Julie Thacker,

Crater Health Advisory Council Convenes to Address Priority Health Issues Across the Region

PETERSBURG, Va. – Many of the localities within the Crater Health District lack adequate funding and resources and share many of the same health and quality of life challenges.  To address these challenges together and better coordinate resources, the Crater Health District established the multi-jurisdiction, cross-sector Crater Health Advisory Council (CHAC) on August 21, 2023. The CHAC is made up of representatives from across the Crater region, including the cities of Emporia, Hopewell, and Petersburg, as well as the counties of Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex.

The CHAC has met four times since it was established and is working to create a regional health improvement plan. The Council reviewed community health assessment data from all eight localities and has established five strategic priorities, including:

  • Ensuring equitable access to healthy foods throughout the Crater region;
  • Implementing regional strategies to address crime and public safety;
  • Enhancing access to quality, affordable healthcare, including medical, dental, and mental healthcare;
  • Preparing our youth to thrive in adulthood; and,
  • Making improvements to the built environment (e.g., transportation access and affordable housing).

The CHAC will release the Crater region health improvement plan upon its completion, anticipated later this summer.

“We recognized the need to do something different because many of the challenges we face in the Crater region have existed for a long time,” said CHAC co-chair and Crater District Health District Director, Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH.  “We know that no single organization working alone can solve these challenges. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish by working together.”

The CHAC is further charged with mobilizing collaborative and effective community initiatives to achieve improvements in health and assessing and promoting the consideration of equitable health impacts of programs and policies across the constituencies of Crater region [e.g., Health in All Policies].

Valerie Liggins, Senior Program Officer at The Cameron Foundation, is co-chairing the CHAC alongside Dr. Hart. “The Cameron Foundation has led regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) processes four times and completed its most recent CHNA in 2023,” Liggins said . “The challenges we learned about in community meetings and surveys are immense. Getting on the same page about priority issues is a huge step forward for the Crater region,” she added.