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Virginia-Nebraska Alliance

Formed in September 2004, the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance (VA-NE Alliance) is The Sullivan Alliance’s most mature state alliance. This model partnership between academic health science centers and HBCUs is being replicated across the nation to find “missing persons” in healthcare and research professions.

Virginia Alliance StudentThe VA-NE Alliance was formed between the five Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) within Virginia, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, St. Paul’s College, Virginia State University and Virginia Union University, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). In 2006, The Alliance welcomed the University of Richmond (UR), the University of Virginia (UVA), and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) as academic partners.

Virginia Alliance StudentTo date, this alliance has enrolled 181 students and 91 faculty and staff members from Virginia’s HBCUs in its enrichment activities. Twenty-four students have been admitted to medical school, seven of whom have already graduated, four more are in graduate pharmacy training, and two are in schools of public health. Faculty members from Virginia’s HBCUs have benefited from their participation in research activities at the academic health centers and three have secured external research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. The largest of these grants is a five-year five million dollar R-01 grant awarded to Hampton University.

The VA-NE Alliance’s specific student and faculty programs include:

Student programs

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health Related Research. Researcher and student complete supplement application for this NIH Award. The award allows student to join basic science research team for 12 weeks for 2 summers, attend research seminars, enrichment programs, and present research at national meeting.
  • Minority Health Education Research Office Summer Research Opportunities. This program enables students to join a research team and work in basic science research laboratory full-time for one summer, as well as attend research seminars, enrichment program, and present research poster at end of summer.
  • Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. This is National Science Foundation funded opportunity to work on a research team in basic science research laboratory full-time for one summer. It includes opportunities to attend research seminars, enrichment program, meet students from other campuses for enrichment activities, and present research poster at end of summer and at annual meeting.
  • Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP). SMDEP in an intensive academic science review program that includes interaction with current graduate students and weekly clinical learning opportunities.
  • Summer Research - VCU, UNMC, UVA, EVMS. This full-time summer research experience includes enrichment seminars and poster presentations at the end of summer.
  • Summer MCAT Program. A summer experience at the University of Richmond that includes professional guidance for the MCATs and other health professional prerequisites.
  • Summer Research Experience (High School). Students would participate in an innovative program that introduces them to the health sciences, through an early educational initiative that fosters academic achievement, career development and enrichment experiences in the health sciences. Students would participate in a researched based curriculum that conforms to the standards of learning and incorporates the core academic subjects of science, math and reading. Students would have an opportunity to see first-hand the relationship between academic preparation and skills needed to be successful in the health care arena. Alliance medical and research professionals would provide hands on activities that stimulate and encourage student learning.

Faculty programs

  • Faculty Exchange Program. The Faculty Exchange Program provides opportunities for Alliance faculty members to visit between and among campuses in order to conduct seminars, workshops, and other scholarly presentations. These presentations are intended to spawn opportunities for collaborative teaching and research, either through the above Faculty Fellowships, or through other relationships that develop through the exchanges. A typical presentation involves members of a research team each giving a series of presentations that together describe a program of research that is of mutual interest to the Academic Medical Center (AMC) and to the HBCU.
  • Faculty Development Fellowship. The Faculty Development Fellowships provide direct and continuing mentoring opportunities between seasoned AMC researchers and junior HBCU faculty who are seeking to establish their careers as independent researchers in the health sciences. The Faculty Development Fellowship Program is an 8-10 week summer experience for the junior faculty investigator as a collaborator in the laboratory or clinical research program of a seasoned (usually NIH-funded) investigator. The summer experience provides the opportunity for the junior faculty member to begin and/or refine his/her research focus. Junior investigators are paired with senior investigators according to the match of mutual interests and lines of investigation.

During the summer, the junior faculty member and senior faculty member develop minority supplement to the senior faculty member’s award. This supplement serves to “buy-down” the faculty member’s teaching load at the HBCU, allowing them time and focus for their research within the “parent grant.” The goal is for the junior investigator to evolve into a senior investigator with his/her own independent line of research and trainees within their “home” institution.

The following institutions are affiliated with the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Union University

Virginia State University

Norfolk State University

Hampton University

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Virginia Commonwealth University

University of Virginia

University of Nebraska Medical Center

University of Richmond

Eastern Virginia Medical School

Please visit The Virginia-Nebraska Alliance website for more information about its programs and partners.