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February 2, 2011

New Partnership to Advance Medical Research at UVA and EVMS

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Eastern Virginia Medical School and the University of Virginia School of Medicine have signed an historic agreement that will advance medical research at the two schools.

The tenth medical school established in the U.S., the UVA School of Medicine is one of the nation’s leading medical research centers, ranking in the top quartile of American medical schools each year in terms of NIH funding.

Founded in 1973, EVMS is one of the nation’s youngest medical schools.  EVMS was established with the specific mission of improving the health of the eastern region of Virginia, home to approximately 25 percent of the state’s population.  As a result, EVMS research has focused on translational research that meets the specific needs of the local community, which experiences high rates of various illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality.

“Eastern Virginia Medical School and the University of Virginia School of Medicine share a commitment to enhance the translation of basic research discoveries into treatments that will benefit the citizens of Virginia. This agreement combines the strengths of our institutions and will reach nearly one quarter of the residents of the Commonwealth,” said Sharon L. Hostler, M.D., interim dean and vice president of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

“Strong translational research requires excellence at both the bench and the bedside, and an environment that fosters close collaboration between the two,” said Gerald J. Pepe, Ph.D., dean and provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School.  “UVA is an extraordinarily successful research institution, and the opportunity to partner with their faculty will strengthen and complement our research here at EVMS and bring many benefits to the citizens of Virginia.”

Under the terms of the memorandum, the schools will jointly fund the hire of a clinical research manager, who will be located on the EVMS campus in Norfolk. The schools will explore ways of sharing clinical data and samples as well as creating a shared biomedical informatics infrastructure.

An Operations Committee will oversee the relationship and identify areas for collaboration. The committee will include from EVMS: the Dean and Provost, Associate Dean for Research, and a faculty member; and from UVA: the Senior Associate Dean for Research, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, and the Associate Dean for Basic Research.   The agreement also advances medical education by offering joint workshops and symposia for faculty and students at both schools.

“By fostering collaboration among our researchers, creating opportunities for students and faculty to further their education and developing common cores to support our joint research objectives, UVA and EVMS hope to create a model partnership other medical schools across the country can emulate,” Hostler said.

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