Commissioner Dr. Danny TK Avula
Dr. Danny TK Avula was appointed as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services in February 2022 by Governor Glenn Youngkin. Dr. Avula is the former health director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health departments, where he served for nearly 13 years.
In January 2021, Governor Ralph Northam appointed Dr. Avula to lead the Commonwealth of Virginia's unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination effort. Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Dr. Avula to the State Board of Social Services in 2013, where he served as board chair from 2017 to 2019.
Dr. Avula is a public health physician specializing in pediatrics and preventive medicine. He continues to practice clinically as a pediatric hospitalist. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he earned his medical degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine. He completed residencies at VCU and Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned the Master of Public Health degree. He is an affiliate faculty member at VCU, where he regularly serves as an advisor and preceptor to graduate and medical students.
Dr. Avula is a former board chair of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, recipient of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Community's Humanitarian Award, a 2019 Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year honoree, and was named Style Weekly's "Richmonder of the Year" in 2020.
Dr. Avula's work has been featured nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSNBC, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and PBS Newshour, and he can be found on the TED circuit with his TEDx talk titled, "Dependence Isn't a Dirty Word." A 16-year resident of Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood, Dr. Avula's time is devoted to life with his wife and five kids.