ALEXANDRIA, VA – Students with the Governor’s Health Sciences Academy (GHSA) at T.C. Williams High School will soon have the opportunity to expand their career options. The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) has received a $700,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia to create a new Community Medi-Corps Program in Alexandria.
“We are excited to receive this grant and start work on the collaborative Community Medi-Corps Program and its Immersive Learning Center,” said Linda Zanin, EdD, the director of strategic partnerships at SMHS. “This initiative will allow students to engage and work together to problem-solve, use virtual technology, and interact with experts in the life and health science fields.”
While Medi-Corps will prepare high school students for work in the high-demand field of health care, the program also allows those enrolled to earn college credit. As many as 18 credits can go toward an education at GW.
Central to the program is the Immersive Learning Center – a 40-foot-long mobile classroom/laboratory that will house state-of-the-art technology, including simulation and virtual reality equipment. The classroom will be ready for use next year.
The Medi-Corps program is made possible through collaborations with the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council, as well as three major health care employers in the region: Inova Health System, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and Goodwin House, Inc.
“This is a perfect partnership model for other regions in the Commonwealth that ties together secondary education, community colleges, and four-year institutions to better prepare our future workforce,” said James W. Dyke Jr., a current member of the GHSA Advisory Board and former state secretary of education.
The GHSA began in 2018 as a partnership between GW and Alexandria City Public Schools. Founded to support students who wish to explore post-secondary education and career choices, the academy offers seven pathways in health and STEM-focused fields. The options offered are: informatics, medical laboratory sciences, sports medicine, pharmacy, emergency medical services, nursing, and surgical technology.
The academy’s first cohort of 85 students will graduate from high school in 2022. GHSA graduates receive their diplomas, some college credits, career certifications, and guaranteed admission to GW.