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ODU, EVMS and Sentara Sign Agreement to Explore Closer Collaboration

Leaders from Old Dominion University (ODU) and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) met Dec. 17 to commit in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore ways closer alignment or affiliation could enhance their collaborative efforts to strengthen educational research and health care outcomes in Hampton Roads.

The agreement launches a collaboration to explore aligning or affiliating ODU and EVMS, in coordination with Sentara Healthcare, to create an academic health center, seek enhanced and consistent funding of EVMS from the commonwealth and community partners, and explore ways to better address health care disparities in Hampton Roads.

The MOU builds upon decades-long relationships of community collaboration among the institutions, with the goal of exploring ways to better address regional health disparities. Affiliated academic health centers add educational, clinical, population health, research and economic value to Hampton Roads. The agreement acknowledges ODU and EVMS each have key elements of an academic health center that the other lacks but could be more closely aligned or affiliated to better accomplish their goals. Other entities in Hampton Roads, including Norfolk State University and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, also have elements that may contribute to a regional academic health center.

As part of the agreement, each party agreed to appoint key executive leaders from their respective institutions to meet regularly to explore the potential of creating an affiliated academic health center, and to investigate opportunities to enhance collaboration to support their mutual goals in education, research, clinical outcomes, developing a sustainable financial model and enhancing their regional and national reputations.

At the start of 2022, the key executive leaders will share data from their respective institutions to produce a joint report to their respective boards analyzing alternative options for accomplishing these goals. In addition, the data will be used to prepare a progress report to the governor and the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee by Feb. 15, 2022.

In August, ODU, EVMS and Norfolk State University signed a separate MOU to launch a new joint School of Public Health. This effort received widespread support from Governor Ralph Northam and the General Assembly. Sentara also invested $6 million in grants to ODU, EVMS and NSU to support the process to apply for accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

The MOU between ODU, EVMS and Sentara signals the latest commitment to expand educational opportunities, support the region's health workforce and improve the health of Hampton Roads residents.

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