A Regional Leader in Healthcare Pioneered by the Community, for the Community
The Eastern Virginia Medical School, known as EVMS, is one of the only schools of medicine in the nation to be founded by a grassroots effort of the local community. During the 1960s, the ratio was 86 doctors for every 100,000 residents. This shortage of doctors called for a medical school to be built, so the Hampton Roads residents began fundraising. Once they had the funding secured, they approached the Commonwealth of Virginia for the accreditation that was required to start a new public- private school of medicine. Today, Hampton Roads has 331 physicians for every 100,000 residents, with 2,327 total practicing EVMS alumni.
In the year 2015-2016, EVMS received 9,421 student applications for their 18 health professions programs and over 39 educational programs. While their largest program continues to be their Doctor of Medicine, EVMS also offers several other graduate degrees including three PhD programs, 13 Masters programs and a Physician Assistant program. They also have a robust training program for medical-school graduates in their chosen medical specialty through internships, residencies, fellowships and ongoing Continuing Medical Education. Each year, EVMS offers 39 different tracks for residency or fellowship ranging from Family and General Medicine to Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry, or even Otolaryngology.
EVMS does not own a hospital, but rather works closely with the local community through working relationships with health-care facilities to train their students in a variety of medical settings. They work closely with all four of the major healthcare networks in Hampton Roads to include Bon Secours Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Regional Health, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare. EMVS also has longstanding relationships with Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, and the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia.
In addition to the patients seen by EVMS students at one of their many teaching affiliate locations, the EVMS Medical Group is a not-for-profit group of over 150 physicians that sees more than 1,500 people every day at 29 different clinical practice sites in Hampton Roads. The largest of these patients are in family practice and maternal-fetal medicine, but there are also a number seeking specialty, surgery and laboratory services. In 2015, a total of 399,478 patient care appointments were made with EVMS-affiliated medical providers.
While academia was their founding vision, EVMS has also established a prolific name in the research community. Their research department branches across many areas but works together with the ultimate goal of resolving the region’s most pressing health issues. In 2015, 662 journal articles, books or book chapters were authored by EVMS faculty and 73 US patent and applications were filed. Their strongest focus in research, however, is through their many specialty centers and departmental programs.
One of their most successful research endeavors has been the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine. In 1981, the first in-vitro fertilization (IVF) baby in the United States was born at the Jones Institute. This child was also the first in the world born as a result of a stimulated gonadotropin cycle. The ability to induce the development of multiple eggs was a major breakthrough that has allowed thousands of otherwise infertile couples to produce healthy children. Their team is responsible for several new treatments that resulted in thousands of births from parents with infertility issues. Some of their research includes intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), donor egg programs and surrogacy. The team at the Jones Institute has also diverged into drug development by creating a new and popular birth control pill called Seasonale. Other areas of research at EVMS include the Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center, the Strelitz Diabetes Center, a Sleep Disorders Center, the Glennan Center for Geriatrics, the Thomas R. Lee Center for Ocular Pharmacology and CONRAD, a center that focuses on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in developing countries.
From their grassroots beginnings to their many teaching affiliations, EVMS has always enjoyed a strong tie to the local community of Hampton Roads. The school prides itself on being community focused through their many community outreach programs that have contributed greatly to the quality of care in the region. Their most recent establishment, the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health is a major step towards the school’s vision of becoming the most community-oriented school of medicine in the country. This interdisciplinary institute integrates EVMS’ clinical, educational and research programs into one centralized location so students can partake in meaningful service experiences. Additionally, the school focuses on the community by way of volunteering and training of the general public in health-related matters. HOPES Clinic, the first student-run free clinic in Virginia, sees 850 patients a year with nearly 1,400 student volunteers and EVMS librarians have trained over 1,250 members of the public to find proper health information through online mediums. These are just a few of the ways the team at EVMS is active within the Hampton Roads community and is improving the overall quality of life in the region.
Whether it be through their academics, research or community outreach programs, EVMS is committed to bettering the Hampton Roads region, but they also play an important role in the region’s economy. In 2012, Dr. James V. Koch, a professor of Economics at Old Dominion University, conducted a study about EVMS and discovered the school’s economic impact on the region to be over $824 million. “EVMS is one of the region’s most powerful economic engines.” Koch reported. During a time where the region’s economy has been sputtering, EVMS’ impact expanded by 18% from 2007. Professor Koch also noted that “were it not for the international economic recession, EVMS’ impact would have reached over $1 billion.”
Currently, EVMS ranks 20th on a list of largest non- governmental employers in Hampton Roads with over 2,000 faculty and staff and an additional 1,700 volunteer mentors and preceptors. Without EVMS, the Hampton Roads region would lose almost 3,700 jobs and more than 98,000 patients would have to travel to neighboring regions in order to get most of their medical needs met. For this reason, Senator Tim Kaine noted that EVMS is “one of the pillars” to the region’s economy. The Alliance is proud to have EVMS as a part of our region and looks forward to their continued success.