The integration of Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and Old Dominion University (ODU), both based in Norfolk, Virginia, US, has been commemorated at a community event. 

Set to take effect on 1 July 2024, this integration will result in the creation of Virginia’s largest academic health sciences centre. 

It is the culmination of a two-year-long planning process involving hundreds of stakeholders from both organisations and local officials.  

The new integrated centre will feature 56 academic programmes, some specific to Virginia, enhancing the state’s educational offerings in health sciences. 

The integration has garnered support from Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin and the General Assembly, with Senator L Louise Lucas and Delegate Barry Knight playing pivotal roles in the legislation.  

Sentara Health CEO Dennis Matheis emphasised the partnership’s commitment to healthcare education, with Sentara providing around $350m in funding over the next decade. 

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Dennis and Jan Ellmer’s $20m donation to ODU will fund scholarships for health sciences students. The Ellmer College of Health Sciences and the Ellmer School of Nursing have been named in their honour, reflecting their contribution to the university’s future. 

The event also revealed the name of the newly integrated health system, the ‘Macon & Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University’, named after a $20m gift from Joan Brock.  

This integrated entity will encompass all health sciences programmes and operations, including the newly named colleges and schools. 

Joan Brock’s donation also establishes the Brock Opportunity Scholarship, aiding medical students with financial needs who plan to serve in Virginia.  

The new visual identity for the integrated centre was unveiled, symbolising the merger of tradition and medical excellence, with the ODU crown and the Rod of Asclepius pointing towards Eastern Virginia’s role in health education and services. 

ODU president Brian Hemphill said: “Today’s event celebrates a long journey, symbolises a new beginning, and serves as a preview to our promising future, which is a shared future that would not be possible without individuals who made this their passion and purpose for decades.”