At EVMS, we are dedicated to improving the health and the lives of our surrounding communities. By participating in Community-Engaged Learning (CEL), Medical and Health Professions students enhance their skills in providing community-based healthcare services through medical outreach activities, medical and community education, specialized medical training, and other service-based opportunities to engage with the community.

Our students are always looking for creative ways to address the needs of the populations we partner with and often look to groups and organizations in the community where they can have maximum impact.

Our community partners include businesses, faith-based institutions, colleges, community groups, civic organizations, non-profit organizations and other networks dedicated to making a collective difference.

Whether you are looking for a one-time event or a longstanding partnership, our initiatives can often be customized to meet the needs of your organization.

Below is a list of current partners along with resources to assist in finding ways to impact our shared communities. 

Adaptive Gymnastics gives adolescents with special physical, developmental, and neurological needs a chance to take part in a weekly gymnastics class. With a curriculum designed around specific motor development, coordination and socialization goals, Adaptive Gymnastics provides a no cost alternative to additional physical and occupational therapy sessions while promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities into sports and recreational activities.

Learn more about Adaptive Gymnastics.

In 2017, an estimated 60,000 people in the Norfolk community were directly affected by mental health or suicidality. For individuals who are hospitalized, the experience can often be isolating and lonely leading to greater rates of depression and anxiety. This phenomenon is often poorly acknowledged and can lead to even greater health care expenditures within a healthcare setting.

In Beat of My Heart, Medical and Health Professions students lead music and dance enrichment sessions for patients at the CHKD Cancer & Blood Disorders Center to facilitate human and social connection. Additionally, students work to raise awareness of the inpatient conditions that contribute to patient depression and how the benefits of performing arts can enrich a patient’s hospital experience.

Learn more about Beat of My Heart.

Beyond Clinic Walls (BCW) connects students with older adults residing in the Norfolk area, focusing on those in isolating environments where they are unable to commute and lack social contacts and support.

Learn more about Beyond Clinic Walls.

When our medical students learned that the city of Norfolk had a 16 percent rate of return for spontaneous circulation after cardiac arrest – well below the national average of 34 percent – they took action. They gained certifications as bystander CPR instructors and created a team of community stakeholders to conduct trainings in high-risk communities.

Our students ride along with Norfolk Fire and Rescue to see firsthand some of the challenges first responders face. They perform needs-assessment surveys and use GIS mapping to determine training areas of greatest priority.

Learn more about Bystander CPR.

Choosing Healthy Options for Wellness (CHOW) focuses on combating chronic illnesses, such as hypertension and diabetes, with nutrition and exercise. We seek to educate patients, students and healthcare professionals to pursue healthy eating and exercise.

Learn more about CHOW.

Nationwide, stroke accounts for 1 in 20 deaths. Researchers are telling us that ultra-rapid treatment of strokes significantly reduces odds of post-stroke disability. With this information in mind, the goal of the Community Stroke Awareness initiative is to increase staff and resident skills at retirement communities in early stroke detection to the end that early recognition will lead to early treatment and thus reduced disability.

Learn more about Community Stroke Awareness.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are vital to the survival of the Healthcare chain. In most communities, EMTs provide out of hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients and have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life threatening emergencies. Overall, EMTs are a critical link between the scene of an emergency and the health care system.

In the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Initiative, Medical and Health Professions students will participate in a longitudinal educational experience within the Hampton Roads communities that will guide them in developing an understanding and skillset to care for patients in the prehospital setting. 

Learn more about Emergency Medical Services.

Students identify key environmental health needs in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore and propose practical low-cost solutions that are executable at either the individual household or community level. This initiative will likely focus on Potable Water Quality in rural areas of the county but could — based on student research and partner preferences — focus on Water Quality in areas prone to flooding or inadequate wastewater treatment facilities for local residences. 

Learn more about Environmental Health.

Between 1980 and 2014, the rate of incarceration in the U.S. increased by 220%. Multiple studies have shown incarceration impacts the health and well–being of those who are or have been incarcerated as well as their families and communities. In Health and Justice, students will work to develop resource tools for justice-involved individuals and develop a set of resources for healthcare professionals to address the needs of those incarcerated or previously incarcerated.

Learn more about Health and Justice.

As the only free clinic in Norfolk and the first student-run free clinic in Virginia, HOPES has served more than 1,000 uninsured adult residents with its capacity to provide care to 20-25 patients during two evening clinics per week. The clinic is staffed by volunteer EVMS student clinicians, residents and physicians, who work together to provide patient-centered care.

Learn more about HOPES Free Clinic.

When homeless individuals began showing up at activites for Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios, the Virginia Beach studio's owners realized how valuable their business' services could be to the homeless. They created LIFT Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit providing nutrition, fitness and job placement training and services to the homeless and those in need.

Learn more about LIFT.

In the Medical Educators of Sexual Health (MESH) program, trained Medical and Health Professions students deliver comprehensive and developmentally appropriate sexual health education to 13 -17 year olds in the Hampton Roads region. 

Learn more about MESH.

Our Medical Spanish program gives future doctors the skills needed overcome the challenges a language barrier can present when communicating with a patient.

With a gift from the Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, EVMS established the Spanish Bilingual Clinician Certificate & Longitudinal Service Learning Program, incorporating curriculum recognized by the National Institutes of Health. Our aim is to increase the number of Spanish-speaking physicians in Hampton Roads.

Learn more about Medical Spanish.

The goal of this initiative is to promote healthy pregnancies through one-on-one partnerships between at-risk pregnant women and medical/ health professions students who can help them navigate the journey to a healthy pregnancy. Students will partner with the EVMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to provide support to expectant mothers by accompanying them to the Supportive Pregnancy Care sessions sponsored by the March of Dimes.

Learn more about Mother and Baby Mermaids.

Palliative Medicine is an extra layer of support to help those who have serious illness live well. This initiative focuses on addressing patients and their families as a whole – this requires an interdisciplinary team to provide the best care possible, which includes includes physicians, advance practice providers, nurses, social workers, and spiritual leaders, but even more importantly, family.

Learn more about Palliative Medicine.

This initiative will:

  • Familiarize students with the health needs of refugees related to presence of cultural and language differentials, resettlement housing conditions, impact of conflict and displacement on mental health and barriers to accessing the local healthcare system.
  • Introduce students to the particularities of refugee health and resettlement programs and study refugee health topics as they are related to local economic, geographic and demographic factors in Hampton Roads.
  • Collaborate with staff of Newport News Refugee Settlement and other community partners to evaluate and directly address health needs of local refugee community through realization of service-learning experiences such as health and wellness fairs to contribute to their community integration.
  • In partnership with EVMS' , organize panel of refugees to describe their experiences and resettlement agency staff to explain their work.
  • Acquire competence and familiarity serving refugee patients through experience of medical, dental and mental health issues, cultural perceptions and societal barriers to healthcare experienced by refugee community.
  • Enhance awareness and promote change in students’ attitudes toward medical/mental health issues common to refugees and related to the process of resettlement.
  • Support students’ acquisition of knowledge and experience of refugee health issues and reinforce the growth of the EVMS Service-Learning Program as a vital component of the institution’s community focus.

Learn more about Refugee Health.

Since 2013, fatal drug overdose has been the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia. As a result, the use of opioid reversal agents such as Naloxone and Narcan have skyrocketed and studies now show these medications can drastically reduce overdoses and deaths. In REVIVE!, Medical Students and Health Professionals work to gain an appreciation of how communities are affected by the opioid epidemic and understand what factors make certain populations at a higher risk.

Learn more about REVIVE!.

Homelessness in Hampton Roads is a systemic challenge and affects the health of both families and single individuals. This initiative is aimed at developing baseline health data for regular participants in Norfolk-based outreach programs and for unsheltered street homeless individuals identified by the City of Norfolk. 

Learn more about Street Health.

With higher rates of undereducation and obesity compared to their Hampton Roads counterparts, Western Tidewater residents have a significantly higher rate of hospitalization due to cardiovascular and diabetes-related complications. Thus, determining impactful methods for reducing the prevalence of diabetes, caring for those with diabetes, and reducing rates of both hospitalization and death from diabetes and its comorbid conditions will significantly impact healthcare costs and the use of healthcare resources in the region.

For this initiative, UNited, Improving, & Tracking Diabetes in Western Tidewater - commonly referred to as Western Tidewater UNITED - Medical and Health Professions students can participate in longitudinal clinical programs that help improve access to diabetes-related education and care in Western Tidewater.

Learn more about Western Tidewater UNITED.

Partner resources

Community Resources Application

CEL is dedicated to continue to provide resources to our new and existing community partners. Funds awarded through the Resource Application are not limited to organizations currently affiliated with EVMS. Resources may include, but are not limited to: advocacy, fundraising, volunteerism, monetary awards, etc. If your organization would like to apply for CEL resources, please complete the Community-Engaged "Goodness of Fit" Application.

Initiative Facilitator Application

Our community and faculty facilitators are the driving force behind the success of our initiatives. If you would like to become a facilitator, please complete the Community-Engaged Learning Facilitator Application.

Volunteer opportunities (physicians only)

To become a provider in one of our clinical initiatives (HOPES student-run free clinic, or Street Health), please email . Through our initiatives, physicians, residents and physician assistants are able to mentor and assist EVMS students in providing healthcare to vulnerable patients of the Norfolk and Portsmouth communities. Providers across numerous specialties currently volunteer in our clinical initiatives and have the flexibility to choose a schedule that suits their availability.

If you are an existing community faculty member, visit Community Faculty Privileges to learn more about additional benefits for volunteering.

To volunteer in Clinica Esperanza, our Spanish-speaking clinic, please contact CEL at for more information.

Contact a team member

For questions on student engagement or availabilities, please contact CEL Assistant Director Alena Stewart.
For questions on how to become a community partner, please contact CEL Outreach Coordinator Emily Terifay.
For questions on CEL resources, please contact CEL Coordinator Bryan Daulton.
For any questions or concerns about student involvement or perceived problematic behavior, please contact CEL Director Maryanne Gathambo

Contribute to a specific initiative

Your gift to Eastern Virginia Medical School is a testament that you believe in the values and mission of the school. The EVMS Foundation is a not-for-profit created to provide support in fulfilling the mission and the vision of the EVMS. Your generosity has a tremendous impact on our students, our faculty, our programs and our community.

They are many payment options to fund your gift:

  • Credit card
    Make a one-time gift using our secure online donation form. This form can be used to make an honor or memorial gift.
  • Pledge form
    By planning your commitment with a pledge, you can complete your gift by making regular payments over time.
  • Host a fundraiser
    You or your organization can host a fundraising event to benefit a program or research center at EVMS.
  • Gifts-in-kind
    Non-cash donations of materials or long-lived assets that serve to further the mission and purposes of CEL initiative may be accepted by EVMS Development if accompanied by adequate documentation of the purpose, nature, and approximate value of the gift. Such gift shall be reported at $1 unless the donor submits an independent appraisal and an IRS Form 8283 to substantiate the fair market value of the goods donated. If you would like to consider giving a material donation, please fill in the form with a description of the item and we will get back to you.