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Healthcare and Life Sciences

"The medical field in Hampton Roads is not merely hospitals and physician’s offices. It is a commitment to the health and wellbeing of its citizens. The region’s nationally ranked health systems are supported by stellar academic programs that produce knowledgeable, talented graduates, as well as industry leading research conducted at any of our local research centers. A culture of collaboration and cooperation has enabled the different institutions to specialize while also sharing their innovations. We believe this model benefits not only the industry, but public health as well."
-Bill Downey, Riverside Health System

The healthcare and life sciences industry plays a major role in the Commonwealth of Virginia with an annual economic output of $7.4 billion. Hampton Roads significantly contributes to this output with more than 50 medical corporations in the region, working in conjunction with the following renowned healthcare systems: Sentara Healthcare, Riverside Health System, Bon Secours, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, and Children’s Hospital of The Kings Daughters.

U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked Sentara Heart Hospital among the best heart programs in the nation and the best in Virginia.

Key Companies

  • Sentara Healthcare
  • Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System
  • Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
  • Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School 
  • LifeNet Health
  • Operation Smile
  • Riverside Health Systems

Regional Industry Highlights

Approximately 65,000 people are employed in the medical and life sciences industry in Hampton Roads alone. Companies such as the ones listed below as well as more than 33 hospitals and 65 urgent care clinics continue to enhance the region's medical presence.

  • Sentara Healthcare – Headquartered in Norfolk, Sentara Healthcare is one of the largest employers in Hampton Roads. Operating seven hospitals in the region, the healthcare system employs more than 20,000 people in the area.
  • LifeNet Health – A leader in the fields of tissue and organ research, as well as regenerative medicine, LifeNet is headquartered in Hampton Roads and employs more than 500 people in the region.
  • Operation Smile – Transforming children’s lives through surgery, Operation Smile performs free medical procedures to repair cleft palates and other facial deformities for children in over 60 countries around the world. The organization’s headquarters are located in Hampton Roads, where it employs about 100 people.
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) - EVMS is one of the only schools of medicine and health professions in the nation founded by the community. EVMS Medical Group physicians care for more than 1,600 patients daily. It is estimated that the regional economic impact of EVMS has grown to $1.2 billion annually.
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth – 4,300 military medical personnel work to keep more than 420,000 active duty members, family members and retirees in Hampton Roads healthy.

Educational Resources

Over 3,100 licenses and degrees are awarded each year in the healthcare field. Below is a sampling of degrees.

2016-2017 Degrees Conferred In Hampton Roads
Institution Year Associate's Bachelor's Master's Doctorate
Total Public Four-year Institutions 2016-17 0 909 117 79
Norfolk State University 2016-17 0 103 0 0
Old Dominion University 2016-17 0 806 117 79
Total Public Two-Year Institutions 2016-17 505 0 0 0
Paul D Camp Community College 2016-17 22 0 0 0
Rappahannock Community College 2016-17 44 0 0 0
Thomas Nelson Community College 2016-17 96 0 0 0
Tidewater Community College 2016-17 343 0 0 0
Total Public Institutions 2016-17 505 909 117 79
Total Private, NonProfit, Four-year Institutions 2016-17 0 32 45 24
Hampton University 2016-17 0 32 45 24
Grand Total, All reporting Institutions 2016-17 505 941 192* 103

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, 2016-2017; Includes New from Regent University

Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS)

Began a partnership with the College of William and Mary in 2014 to create dual Doctor of Medicine and Master of Business Administration program. Medical students at EVMS will gain a better understanding of the complex healthcare environment and acquire business skills.

Major medical initiatives include:

  • The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine – A global leader in infertility research and home of the first IVF birth in the United States
  • National Center for Collaborative Medical Modeling and Simulation – A joint project with Old Dominion University to develop new medical simulations and training curriculum
Degrees Conferred
Institution Year Masters Total
Eastern Virginia Medical School 2016-17 126 273

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, 2016-2017

ECPI University

Founded in Norfolk in 1966, ECPI University has pioneered the field of accelerated format education. A SACSCOC accredited institution, ECPI offers courses of study in dozens of disciplines through its colleges of Health Science, Nursing, Business & Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, and Technology—one of the first programs in the nation to offer classes in computer programming. Throughout its nearly half-century history, ECPI remains committed to providing hands-on learning, small class sizes, and a world class student-centered learning environment.

Specifically, their College of Health Science, Medical Careers Institute is located in Virginia Beach and offers multiple career paths including Registered Nursing, Dental and Healthcare Administration. The Virginia Beach campus is proud to boast they hold the highest NCLEX exam pass rate of all ECPI Universities nationwide.

The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI)

Offers the latest and most precise cancer-fighting technology, applying protons used to deliver high doses of radiation to a concentrated area while avoiding healthy tissues and organs.

  • The nation’s 8th proton therapy facility is one of the largest in the world
  • The $225 million state-of-the-art treatment and research center treats over 2,000 patients per year

Norfolk State University

Department of Nursing and Allied Health offers degrees in nursing, as well as Health Services Management and Medical Technology.

Additionally, the region's 4 community colleges: Thomas Nelson Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, Tidewater Community College, and Rappahannock Community College provide certificates and programs in fields including nursing, laboratory technology, pharmaceuticals, and physical therapy.

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