Service Learning at EVMS is integrating meaningful community service‌ with structured learning and reflection experiences to enhance our student physicians’ overall ‌learning experience. It strengthens foundational science knowledge, clinical skills and problem-solving skills in the context of real-world experience.

Our service learning initiatives give students opportunities for learning that cannot be experienced in a classroom alone.

We aim to effectively address our community's high-priority health needs through these service learning pathways:

First Response

Aimed primarily at cardiac and stroke challenges in Eastern Virginia, these initiatives focus on first response. 

  • Bystander CPR: Students research our region's difficulties surrounding cardiac arrest and teach Bystander CPR classes in the community.
  • Community Stroke Awareness: Students research the regional challenges and teach Stroke Awareness and Response in the community, primarily in geriatric settings.
  • Stop the Bleed: Students learn and teach the public lifesaving responses to bleeding emergencies.

Nutrition and Exercise

Diabetes and obesity are two prevalent issues in our region. Initiatives in this service pathway focus on nutrition and exercise.

  • Choosing Healthy Options for Wellness (CHOW): Students teach nutritious eating and exercise.
  • LIFT: Students work with homeless clients over 30-, 60- and 90-day periods teaching nutrition, exercise and life skills.
  • P.B. Young: Students work at an elementary school in a large public housing project. They read and play with the children and conduct nutrition education. 

Underserved and Health Inequities

Unfortunately, there are people in every region of our nation who have a difficult time accessing healthcare. Initiatives in this pathway focus on those who do not readily have access to healthcare.

  • Community Innovations: Students analyze audiences, conduct group needs assessments and design effective programs for community health literacy.
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation: Students assist those struggling with addiction at the Salvation Army Rehab Center.
  • Environmental Health: Students research potential environmental sources of illness, such as harmful agents in air, water, food and soil, and propose solutions.
  • HOPES Student Run Free Clinic: Students work in various capacities at this free clinic run by EVMS students.
  • Let's All Take a Breath: Students learn the skills necessary to conduct community-engaged research in a topic of interest with a true master.
  • Mothers and Baby Mermaids: Students become navigators with young mothers to help them journey through the pregnancy experience.
  • Street Health: Students work with Norfolk's Office to End Homelessness to find and conduct initial health screening for the community's unsheltered homeless population.
  • YMCA After-School (James Monroe Elementary): Students work in an urban school setting, conduct needs assessments and design health literacy programs.

The Elderly and Chronically Ill

The elderly represent a rapidly growing demographic in Eastern Virginia. Initiatives in this pathway focus on the elderly, chronically ill or disabled.

  • Beyond Clinic Walls: Students work with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia and visit elderly residents, identifying and responding to their needs.
  • Hotspotters: Students identify patients with multiple conditions who frequently use medical care and develop options for them to reduce their need for frequent care.

Infectious Disease

Eastern Virginia is home to a higher proportion of individuals living with HIV/AIDS than anywhere else in Virginia. Further, the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is higher here than in most cities. Initiatives in this pathway currently focus on individuals living with HIV/AIDS or STIs.

Global Health Equity

Global health inequities become local health issues quickly. This service pathway places students in the context of some of these locally-felt global issues. 

  • Medical French: Students work with French-speaking patients and earn a French Clinician Certification through Alliance Française.
  • Medical Spanish: Students work with Spanish-speaking patients and earn a Spanish Bilingual Clinician Certification.
  • Refugee Health: Students work with local refugees and refugee service organizations.

We will change our community

Through their service, our students will make a tangible difference in the priority needs of our community. 

Our students will grow

After participating in our Service Learning experiences, our graduates will exemplify:

  • Community obligation and responsibility. They will live out a well-defined sense of community understanding, community responsibility and community leadership reflected in their choices, future plans and stated values.
  • Human compassion. They will demonstrate humanistic compassion for the people with whom they interact.
  • A value for interdisciplinary problem solving. They will value and demonstrate skills in interdisciplinary approaches to solving the health challenges of their communities.
  • Skills to investigate and meaningfully address problems. They will be skilled at investigating, meaningfully engaging and responding to the health needs of their communities.

Our students' residency applications will be stronger

Through the pathway-specific instruction and qualifications, our students will gain expertise in the disciplines associated with the pathway, and in most cases receive formal qualifications or certifications.

Students remain with their service learning initiative for four years. This allows for both a cumulative impact that students can see, and a depth of expertise in the area that would not otherwise be practical.

  • In M1 and M2 years, students serve for about 15 hours each year.
  • In the M1 year, students complete two hours of eLearning in Followership, Leadership and Systems Thinking.
  • Typically, in M2 year, students have training that focuses on their service pathway. For example, in nutrition and exercise, there is an eLearning curriculum that is part of a nutrition certification.
  • Students are mentored by both faculty and more senior students. We often find M2 students leading M1 students in projects, which makes sense because they know the ropes.
  • The demanding requirements of clerkships often result in limited participation for M3s, but M3s have opportunities to mentor M1 and M2 students on their projects.
  • In M4 year, students focus on Capstone research, presenting on that research in April.

You may report your service hours or view Service Learning web content here: