Community-Engaged Learning

Integrating meaningful community service with structured learning to strengthen the knowledge and skills of EVMS students.

Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) at EVMS thoughtfully combines meaningful community service with structured learning and reflection to enhance our students’ overall learning experience. It strengthens foundational science knowledge, clinical skills and problem-solving skills in the context of real-world experience.

CEL began as a pilot program in 2015 with 60 student volunteers and the following year became part of the MD curriculum. Since then, the Community-Engaged Learning program has increased tenfold to 600 MD students, 160 Physician Assistant students, and 45 Medical Master’s students actively engaging in 19 initiatives.

Community-Engaged Learning programs give EVMS students opportunities to make a tangible difference by addressing Hampton Roads' priority health needs.

Learn more about the program's history and how you can get involved.

Our Pathways

Initiatives in this pathway focus on those without ready access to healthcare.

  • 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.
  • Medical Educators of Sexual Health (MESH): Trained Medical and Health Professions students deliver comprehensive and developmentally appropriate sexual health education to 13-17 year olds in Hampton Roads.
  • 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.

Older adults represent a rapidly growing demographic in Eastern Virginia. Initiatives in this pathway focus on older adults and individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

  • Beyond Clinic Walls: Students work with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia and visit older residents, identifying and responding to their needs.
  • Hospice: Students explore the role of interdisciplinary teams in the treatment of hospice patients and Advance Care Planning procedures.

Aimed primarily at emergency health events, 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.
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Medical and Health Professions students will develop an understanding and skillset to care for patients in the prehospital setting. 

Initiatives in this pathway focus on those without ready access to healthcare.

  • 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.
  • Medical Educators of Sexual Health (MESH): Trained Medical and Health Professions students deliver comprehensive and developmentally appropriate sexual health education to 13-17 year olds in Hampton Roads.
  • 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.

Older adults represent a rapidly growing demographic in Eastern Virginia. Initiatives in this pathway focus on older adults and individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

  • Beyond Clinic Walls: Students work with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia and visit older residents, identifying and responding to their needs.
  • Hospice: Students explore the role of interdisciplinary teams in the treatment of hospice patients and Advance Care Planning procedures.

Aimed primarily at emergency health events, 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.
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Medical and Health Professions students will develop an understanding and skillset to care for patients in the prehospital setting. 

Earn a Spanish Bilingual Clinical Certification with Medical Spanish or a French Clinician Certification with Medical French, or work with local refugees in Refugee Health.

Global health inequities are community issues around the world, and these challenges have an impact on Hampton Roads. These initiatives focus on addressing these inequities.

  • Medical Spanish: Students work with Spanish-speaking patients and earn a Spanish Bilingual Clinician Certification.
  • Refugee Health: Students partner with local resettlement agencies to improve the health of refugees and health-related systems they experience.

Close to 20% of adults in Virginia having been diagnosed with some type of mental health condition and approximately 5% are living with serious mental health condition.

Virginia has a population of approximately 8.3 million people with close to 20% of adults in Virginia having been diagnosed with some type of mental health condition and approximately 5% living with serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and/or major depression.

  • Beat of My Heart: Students lead music and dance enrichment sessions for patients at the CHKD Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to facilitate human and social connection.
  • Health and Justice: Students will learn about the various pathways from criminal justice involvement and the different healthcare services available through pre- and post-release.
  • REVIVE!:Adaptive Gymnastics Students will lead REVIVE! trainings to increase community awareness and readiness as well as lead research projects to better define Hampton Roads opioid’s crisis and barriers to care.

 

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

  • Adaptive Gymastics: Provides adolescents with special physical, developmental and neurological needs with an opportunity to take part in a weekly gymnastics class.
  • 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.

Earn a Spanish Bilingual Clinical Certification with Medical Spanish or a French Clinician Certification with Medical French, or work with local refugees in Refugee Health.

Global health inequities are community issues around the world, and these challenges have an impact on Hampton Roads. These initiatives focus on addressing these inequities.

  • Medical Spanish: Students work with Spanish-speaking patients and earn a Spanish Bilingual Clinician Certification.
  • Refugee Health: Students partner with local resettlement agencies to improve the health of refugees and health-related systems they experience.

Close to 20% of adults in Virginia having been diagnosed with some type of mental health condition and approximately 5% are living with serious mental health condition.

Virginia has a population of approximately 8.3 million people with close to 20% of adults in Virginia having been diagnosed with some type of mental health condition and approximately 5% living with serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and/or major depression.

  • Beat of My Heart: Students lead music and dance enrichment sessions for patients at the CHKD Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to facilitate human and social connection.
  • Health and Justice: Students will learn about the various pathways from criminal justice involvement and the different healthcare services available through pre- and post-release.
  • REVIVE!:Adaptive Gymnastics Students will lead REVIVE! trainings to increase community awareness and readiness as well as lead research projects to better define Hampton Roads opioid’s crisis and barriers to care.

 

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

  • Adaptive Gymastics: Provides adolescents with special physical, developmental and neurological needs with an opportunity to take part in a weekly gymnastics class.
  • 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.

Real-world experience

Our initiatives give students learning opportunities that cannot be experienced in a classroom alone. Learn more about how these opportunities will strengthen your foundational science knowledge as well as your clinical and problem-solving skills.

Student life

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Faculty-student relationship

Our faculty are committed to student excellence. Our third-year students meet one-on-one with our vice dean to receive career guidance.

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Wellness program

Our student and physician wellness program promotes resilience in our graduates throughout their medical careers.

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Care-based teaching

We value practical application in teaching; our lessons are placed in the context of real-world practice at every opportunity.

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Graduation rates

Nearly 9 out of 10 EVMS medical students graduate on time in four years.