Through affiliated academic and clinical programs, community collaborations, and programs for underserved local, global, and rural populations, our learners gain experience by applying local and global concepts to important health issues that affect our community.People celebrate at party with sparklers

From orientation to graduation students continually develop the necessary hands-on experience and expertise in critical skills necessary to becoming strong, community-oriented health professionals.

This unique aspect of their EVMS education often inspires our learners to continue serving throughout their careers. More than half of former EVMS students surveyed noted that this aspect of EVMS education affected where they chose to continue their medical eduation. Many remain in Hampton Roads for residency so they can continue to volunteer in CEL initiatives beyond graduation.

From the inception of our tracking system in 2018 to date, our students have logged over 78,000 hours, which adds up to an economic value of $2.2 million of impact on the community.

Our Community-Engaged Learning program:

  • Uses the Carnegie Classification Institutions of Higher Education definition of community engagement. This involves collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. 
  • Focuses on the aspects of policy and advocacy, clinical care, education, community outreach, research, and community service. These areas aim to build trust, enlist new resources and allies, create better communication, and improve overall health outcomes as successful projects evolve into lasting collaborations.
  • Integrates education, research, and clinical training programs focused on building strong leaders in the health community and beyond. CEL thoughtfully combines meaningful community service with structured learning and reflection experiences 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.

Our approach

Recognizing that community input is essential to achieving our goals, we have developed a process framework called the Community-Driven Data-Informed Approach to identify Hampton Roads' priority health needs.

We begin by identifying our region’s priority needs. then develop major pathways and subsequent initiatives to address community needs as well as support learning.

This three-tier approach to identifying priority health needs consists of the following:

  1. Community Advisory Board: A Community Advisory Board (CAB) made up of lay persons from local neighborhoods provides invaluable feedback through ongoing conversations about the community's priorities. This allows members who would not typically have a powerful voice an outlet to share the experiences, values and concerns of their own communities.

  2. Community Leader Input: Our program solicits feedback and input from community leaders using the Healthy Hampton Roads Coalition's annual list of local priority health needs. By utilizing this document and ensuring it is updated, CEL can access community leaders’ priorities.

  3. Objective Data Sources: CEL studies objective data through three primary sources:

    • Local hospital and health department Community Health Needs Assessments (CHAs) or Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP)

    • Local community foundation data (e.g., Hampton Roads Community Foundation data)

    • National Foundation data (e.g., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Using this three-tier approach, a team of various stakeholders, including community partners and students, review the information and work together to synthesize key issues and focus our pathways and initiatives directly on those issues.  We repeat this process every five years to ensure that our community impact focuses on current community needs.

Service Pathways

Through our recent Community-Driven, Data-Informed Approach, we developed six areas or “Service Pathways” and each of our initiatives points directly at valued outcomes in one of them.

First Response: Initiatives in this pathway are aimed primarily at training and first-response actions that are necessary in case of cardiac arrest, stroke and other healthcare emergencies.

Nutrition and Exercise: Hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are three prevalent issues in our region. Initiatives in this service pathway focus on nutrition and exercise to tackle sedentary lifestyles and promote healthy living.

Health Equity: There are people in every region of our nation who have difficulty accessing health care. Achieving health equity also requires addressing social determinants of health and health disparities. Initiatives in this pathway focus on providing a fair and just opportunity to attain healthcare, especially for those who do not have ready access to due to various barriers they face.  

Older Adults and Chronically Ill: Older adults represent a rapidly growing demographic in Eastern Virginia. Initiatives in this pathway focus on older adults, the chronically ill, or disabled individuals.

Mental Health: Through our community-driven data-informed approach, several mental health-related issues in our community, including widespread depression, challenges with incarceration reentry, drug abuse, etc for both the individuals affected and their families were highlighted as leading problems.

Global Health Equity: Our community is increasingly diverse and more so from the presence of global organizations, immigration, and refugee placement here in Hampton Roads. This presents unique health disparities and inequities due to language or other barriers for this population and this pathway looks at these local health disparities from a global perspective.

For additional details on EVMS Community-Engaged Learning, you can download the handout: HERE

Understand the terms used on this website.

Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Learn about past initiatives.