Message From the Executive Director

Sheryl Garland is the executive director of the Office of Health EquityVCU Health’s mission to preserve and restore health for all people of Virginia and beyond means engaging with patients to address their overall health — not just their condition, illness or injury. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition is also a mindset, and adopting it means addressing barriers, such as economic and social hardships, and removing obstacles that prevent our patients and community members from living the healthiest lives possible.

In 2016, VCU and VCU Health joined with community members to develop the Health Equity Initiative to help improve health for populations and communities by integrating the principles of health equity into our mission through patient care, education and training, and research. In June 2021, the Health Equity Steering Committee determined that the core mission had been achieved, however, the projects and initiatives launched needed ongoing management and support.

Our team is pleased to take on the management of this initiative and build on these prior accomplishments by continuing to develop educational programs and activities, expand on the university and health system’s initiatives to address social determinants of health that impact the communities we serve, and increase the quantity and quality of health equity research.

I encourage you to connect with our team, as we look forward to continuing our vital work of addressing health equities together.

Thank you,

Sheryl L. Garland, MHA, FACHE
Executive director, VCU Office of Health Equity
Chief of health impact, VCU Health System