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Health Equity Agreement

EVMS, NSU Focus on Health Equity

Eastern Virginia Medical School and Norfolk State University have launched an initiative that will target health equity and work to increase the number of minorities who become healthcare professionals.

The program, EVMS-NSU Research and Training Incubator for Collaboration in Health Equity (ENRICHe), aims to improve health equity across Hampton Roads and to serve as a resource to the community. The partnership agreement, signed Tuesday, January 24, also provides opportunities for collaborative research between faculty, staff and students at both schools.

“Working together to address public health issues and health equity in our underserved communities is critical to driving lasting change for those who need it most,” said Norfolk State University President Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D. “This is what equity and social justice look like — Identifying a problem, working towards a solution through collaboration, for the equitable distribution of social, economic and health care resources to the community.”

Alfred Abuhamad, MD, President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine at EVMS, noted that to improve health outcomes, the healthcare workforce needs to mirror the diversity of our communities.

“Only about 8 percent of Virginia’s roughly 22,800 active physicians identify as African American,” said Dr. Abuhamad. “That’s one of the reasons that our longstanding partnership with NSU is so important to EVMS. I am very proud of our track record in this area, and I’m confident the ENRICHe program will make a lasting and meaningful impact in its core focus areas.” 

EVMS also has a partnership with Norfolk State through the L.D. Britt Pre-Medical Scholars program, which pairs NSU students with mentors and resources.

During the signing event, Drs. Adams-Gaston and Abuhamad also announced a shared commitment to provide a total of $500,000 to the new venture, with $250,000 from EVMS and $250,000 from NSU. The funds will be invested as seed grants to support research on health disparities conducted by students and faculty at both institutions.

ENRICHe planned initiatives include: 

  • The development of a network of NSU and EVMS faculty focused on health disparities research through annual speed-networking activities and structured experiences for students to engage in research at both institutions and with national groups. 
  • Training focused on grantsmanship and team science support in developing team projects.
  • Support and training for community-engaged research, along with timely subject areas such as data analytics and population health.  
  • Opportunities for seed funds for competitive projects and training and grant opportunities.  
  • The creation of an Annual Health Disparities Workshop to highlight the work of ENRICHe participants. 

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