Danny TK Avula, MD, MPH

Dr. Danny TK Avula is the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services, one of the commonwealth’s largest agencies. He oversees the agency's work to help stabilize families and give Virginians a pathway out of poverty. In 2021, he led Virginia’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination effort, helping Virginia become one of the top 10 most-vaccinated states in the country. Prior to that, he served as the director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health Departments.

A public health physician, Dr. Avula specializes in pediatrics and preventive medicine and continues to practice clinically as a pediatric hospitalist. After completing his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Virginia, he earned his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master's in public health at Johns Hopkins University. He is an affiliate faculty member at VCU, where he regularly serves as an advisor and preceptor to graduate and medical students.

Dr. Avula was a member of the State Board of Social Services from 2013-2021 and served as board chair from 2017 to 2019. He is also a former board chair of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. The recipient of numerous awards, he was named one of Richmond’s “Top Docs'' annually from 2013-2022, a Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year honoree in 2019, and Style Weekly's "Richmonder of the Year" in 2020. 

Dr. Avula's work has been covered extensively in state and national media, including by The New York Times and NPR and on the "PBS NewsHour." He can be found on the TED circuit with his TEDx talk "Dependence Isn't a Dirty Word."