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Eastern Virginia Medical completes merger with Old Dominion University

EVMS and Old Dominion University celebrate the merger of the two schools.
Steve Walsh
EVMS and Old Dominion University celebrate the merger of the two schools.

This story was reported by WHRO News.

A ceremony late last week at a Hilton hotel marked the end of four years of serious discussions to integrate one of the last independent medical schools in the country with Old Dominion University.

“This is a transformational merger, because this would allow us to really focus on expanding our classrooms to meet the incredible demands that we see in the future,” said Eastern Virginia Medical School President Alfred Abuhamad.

The idea had been discussed for at least 20 years. This time, both the state government and Sentara Health were willing to spend millions to create the combined school.

“This is also about health disparities,” said ODU President Brian Hemphill. “We know that we lead the commonwealth in a number of areas. So, this was an initiative to see how we could lean in together to address these concerns."

The new entity begins with a major scholarship endowment from two families.

The integrated school will be named the Macon and Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion. The College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing will be named after the Ellmer Family. Each family donated $20 million for student scholarships, aimed mostly at those from underserved communities.

Together, the two schools have roughly 5,000 students studying medicine. The plan is to grow the number of health professionals trained in Hampton Roads.

Scholarship students will commit to practicing in the region for at least three years.

“We know that demands in the community are incredible, at every level — at physician, physicians’ assistant, nurses — so, we have plans to expand,” Abuhamad said. “Some programs are easier to expand, because of their accrediting bodies, than others. So, we're working collectively to meet those demands over the next few years.

The schools' integration is effective July 1. The combined school will have 56 academic programs, making it the largest academic health sciences center in Virginia.

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