Health district in Virginia to drop ‘Jefferson’ from name

Virginia Department of Health sign in Martinsville, Virginia. (Jeff Williamson, WSLS 10)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Concerns over Thomas Jefferson’s history of owning enslaved people has prompted a local health district in Virginia to drop the Founding Father’s name and call itself the Blue Ridge Health District.

Director Denise Bonds told The Daily Progress in Charlottesville last week that the name change is an effort to be more inclusive.

She said Jefferson was a really important historical figure. But she said individuals in the community are descendants of Jefferson’s slaves.

She said the district wants them to feel comfortable coming to the health department. The district serves Charlottesville as well as the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson.