The Virginia Walkability Action Institute (VWAI) is a statewide initiative by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Equitable Cities LLC (consultant), to enhance walking and walkability across the Commonwealth by providing training and technical assistance to state and municipal staff in multidisciplinary fields such as health, transportation, planning, parks and recreation, and public works departments. In 2019, the first year of the institute, VWAI provided training and technical assistance to its first cohort of interdisciplinary teams from around the state, including Central Shenandoah, Richmond, Piedmont, Eastern Shore, and Chesapeake VDH Health Districts, through a series of strategic in-person sessions and distant learning modules.
The 2020 cohort of VWAI also consisted of multidisciplinary teams from Central Shenandoah, Central Virginia, Portsmouth, Fairfax, and Prince William Health Districts. The 2020 VWAI program was also originally envisioned as a series of both in-person and distant learning modules; however, the VWAI core faculty had to work together to convert the program into a fully virtual format in response to CDC’s Covid-19 social distancing guidelines. The newly revised, fully virtual program included distance learning modules (DLM), office hours with experts, technical assistance, five community site visits, and “special project funding” to implement small scale projects in pursuit of policy, system, or environmental changes to improve and enhance opportunities for walking and walkability in their respective communities. The community/cohort site visits were new to the 2020 VWAI program and were conducted following social distancing guidelines.
Virginia Department of Health
Course Development • Workshop Facilitation • Stakeholder Engagement • Film Development & Production • Evaluation