Our story

About the Project

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center on Society and Health produced this work for the Northern Virginia Health Foundation with the help of a 14-person advisory board made up of historians and local experts. Special thanks also to the libraries, archivists, and private collections that have helped us in this endeavor. 


Patricia Mathews

Northern Virginia Health Foundation

Lead Author
Steven Woolf
Mary Lee Clark
Project Manager
Sarah Blackburn
Creative Director & Designer
Cassandra Ellison

Advisory Board

Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Ph.D.
Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture


Karla Bruce, MPA
Fairfax County Government


Gail C. Christopher, D.N.
National Collaborative for Health Equity
Paul DesJardin
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments


Brian Engelmann, MPSGIS, Ph.D.
Prince William County Government


Sheri Ann Huerta, Ph.D.
George Mason University


Chandra Manning, Ph.D.
George Mason University


Wendi N. Manuel-Scott, Ph.D.
George Mason University


Krystyn R. Moon, Ph.D.
University of Mary Washington


Douglas Reed, Ph.D.
Georgetown University


Eugene Scheel


Sarah Jane Shoenfeld, M.A.
Prologue DC


Curtis Vaughn, Ph.D.
Robin Wilson, MPH, MPA
Fairfax County Government


The Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health is an academic research center that studies the health implications of social factors — such as education, income, neighborhood and community environmental conditions, and public policy. Its mission is to answer relevant questions that can “move the needle” to improve the health of Americans, by presenting work in formats and venues that are useful to decision-makers and change agents. The Center pursues these goals through collaboration with scholars in different disciplines at VCU and other institutions, and by nurturing partnerships with community, government, and private-sector stakeholders.

The Northern Virginia Health Foundation makes strategic grants to non-profit organizations that address the health and health care needs of residents of Northern Virginia, with particular emphasis on those who live in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The Foundation focuses its grantmaking on those organizations that address the Foundation’s priorities and promote its values.

Submission Guidelines

Pitch Us: Have a great idea for a blog post? You can pitch the Center on Society and Health by filling out the form to the right. We are looking for Virginia-based stories that focus on Black resilience, resistance, and activism. We only accept unpublished drafts. Please send two paragraphs stating your idea, your sources, and why you think it would be a good fit for this website. If you do not hear from us please assume your submission was not a good fit for the website at this time.