Nelson Community Wellness Alliance getting a big federal boost

Nelson Community Wellness Alliance getting a big federal boost
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 3:18 PM EDT
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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Nelson Community Wellness Alliance just got a big boost from federal funding.

The Central Virginia nonprofit is one of just two Virginia organizations who are receiving the grant for community health workforce training. The NCWA is led by a two-woman team working to increase access to health care in Nelson.

Five years into its work, the wellness alliance is now getting almost $3,000,000 to expand their work.

“[When I heard,] I was in the parking lot of the Martins in Waynesboro pumping gas in my car, and I think I let out a scream loud enough that people thought I was being accosted. I was so excited about it,” Co-Executive Director of the Nelson Community Wellness Alliance Tracy Henke said.

The Community Health Worker Training Program Grant will help the alliance continue to expand access to health care in Nelson.

“We kind of put it in as a long shot, we, you know, hoped and crossed our fingers, but we really didn’t think it would happen,” Founder and Co-Executive director of the Nelson Community Wellness Alliance Stephanie Martin said.

Now that the alliance knows it has the funding, it is getting the ball rolling.

“We’re going to be working to create a community health worker training program where students in the high school potentially, but also community members that would like to work in the health care industry will be able to partner with Piedmont Virginia Community College and work with them as well as Virginia Career Works,” Henke said.

The money will also go towards removing barriers to getting this education, like transportation or childcare.

“We’re just going to sit down with folks and kind of see what their needs are and how we can help them to successfully complete the program,” Martin said.

They hope their work will go beyond Nelson County.

“I think that there’s a really solid model here for rural communities that have a problem with health care shortage,” Henke said. “We’re signing up with not only folks that can hire the community health workers but also some of the health care delivery programs where we can kind of try to make sure that more folks across Virginia have an opportunity to get the health care, but also get training to become healthcare providers.”

The grant stretches over three years.

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