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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Grantee Information

Organization: Virginia Department of Health

Organization Address: 109 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Phone Number: 804-864-7419

Fax Number: 804-864-7440

Organization website URL (if any):

Brief Description of the Organization: VDH was established in 1907. Headquartered in

Richmond, Virginia, and with offices throughout the state, VDH provides a wide range of products and services to promote and protect public health. VDH serves as a leader and coordinator of Virginia’s public health system. In conjunction with partners in the federal government, local communities, and private sector, VDH plays a fundamental role in protecting and promoting the health of all Virginians. It provides services in the Commonwealth of Virginia through 35 health districts and 119 local health departments, and it has a diverse workforce of over 4,000 employees with 78% female and 22% male employees; 30% of VDH's employees are members of minority groups.

Grant Project Information

Title of Grant Project: Virginia Youth Health Equity Leadership Institute (YHELI) Project

Amount of OMH Award: $200,000

Name of Project Director: Amy Burman

Phone Number of Project Director: 804-864-7419

E-mail Address of Project Director:


Danville, Virginia, has the lowest on-time, four-year graduation rate in the state: 75.7% in Danville compared with 89.9% for Virginia. This graduation rate is even lower for African-Americans and males, with only 73.1% of African-American and 68.7% of male students graduating with a regular diploma after four years. The Virginia Department of Education monitors performance standards in all subject areas as well as attendance, school safety, and other contributors to student success through the Virginia School Report Card. The Danville City Public School District serves more than 6,315 students, with a racial/ethnic composition of 67.8% African American, 6.7% Hispanic, 21.3% White, and 4.2% Other. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all students receive free or reduced lunch. Insufficient English language proficiency among the growing Hispanic population is also a barrier to success. The dropout rate among Danville high school students with limited English proficiency is more than double the rate among the entire student population and more than 30% higher than the dropout rate among all Hispanics in the state of Virginia. Performance gaps at J.M. Langston and George Washington High Schools are particularly wide in the areas of math and science, subjects that are essential to employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. According to the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, seven out of ten of the fastest growing occupations (requiring at least an associate degree) are in STEM fields. The project’s overarching goal is to improve the public’s health by addressing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in educational attainment through effective public health practice models. The proposed project will focus on the two lowest performing Danville high schools with a combined student population of 1,533.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) proposes to partner with the Danville Public Schools and Pittsylvania/Danville Department of Health to implement the YHELI curriculum, a best practice intervention developed by OMHHE addressing health promotion, equity and leadership for high-school students, to increase Danville’s on-time, high-school graduation rate.

The expected outcomes of the project are (1) to develop a user-friendly Health Disparities Profile for the Leading Health Indicator topic of “Students who graduate with a regular diploma 4 years after starting 9th grade” in the Danville, Virginia, school district; (2) to improve the on-time graduation rates among ethnic and racial minority youth in the Danville, Virginia school district; and (3) to compile, analyze, and publish reports on Danville YHELI project results to share best practices, lessons learned, and implementation successes.

The project will utilize a program evaluator to compile, analyze, and report on data collected throughout the project period, culminating in a final, published report. The evaluation plan will involve pre- (baseline) and post-intervention administration of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), General Self-Efficacy Scale, and Youth Leadership survey. The YRBS assessments will provide data on the overall population and ascertain whether the youth’s risk behaviors have decreased by participating in YHELI. The other assessments will determine the impact of the YHELI curriculum on self-efficacy and leadership skills. The youth’s academic performance and truancy will be assessed and monitored throughout the program to determine YHELI’s effectiveness in meeting program goals, including on-time, high school graduation program completion.


None identified by grantee.


  • AH-5.1: Increase the proportion of students who graduate with a regular diploma 4 years after starting 9th grade.
1/12/2016 3:59:00 PM