UVa approves academic affiliation with INOVA and GMU
The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors approved an academic affiliation with
Inova Health System and George Mason University.
UVa has been discussing opening a research partnership and medical campus at
Inova for the past year. Its goal has been for medical students to take classes in
Northern Virginia and complete rotations at Inova Hospital in Fairfax. This decision
opens the possibility of having a full-fledged satellite campus far from the
university’s Grounds in Charlottesville.
The affiliation does not, however, commit UVa to particulars.
“It’s fair to say we will do something up there; exactly what it will be remains to be
seen,” said UVa President Jim Ryan.
The board previously agreed to an affiliation involving just UVa’s School of Medicine
in 2017; the partnership has been envisioned as a way to leverage research and
precision medicine interests.
“Whereas the University of Virginia sees the partnership with Inova Health System
as an opportunity to deliver on a broader academic mission in Northern Virginia,
resolved, the Board of Visitors commits to developing plans for a broad academic
presence, in addition to the previously approved academic presence of the medical
The campus is expected to cost $112 million and be operational by 2021. The
university has said it will put in about $45 million to develop the site of the former
ExxonMobil campus, with additional funding coming from Inova, the Virginia
Research Investment Committee and George Mason.
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The state does not have to approve these types of inter-public and public-private
partnerships, according to a university spokesman.
However, before an academic program can begin at the campus, the State
Commission of Higher Education in Virginia will have to approve it.
“SCHEV does not regulate P3 rules for public universities; instead we approve new
academic programs and new instructional sites and locations,” a spokeswoman for
the commission, Laura Osberger, said Wednesday. “So, if a university wanted to
open a new teaching site in a specific locality, it would most likely come to SCHEV
for approval first.”
Osberger said there are no competition issues between UVa and GMU because they
are different classes of schools — UVa has a medical school, GMU does not.
UVa will develop plans for what its presence might look like. Officials in previous
meetings have said they anticipate a 2021 start date for medical students.