PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth high school students are immersing themselves into the world of medicine with the Eastern Virginia Medical School Health Sciences Academy.

The program runs for two weeks throughout the summer and is tuition-free. The program includes lectures, workshops and hands-on activities for students who enroll. 

The goal of the program is to expose students to careers in all fields of medicine, from doctors to medical assistants.

Students get to interact with physicians and other health care professionals too. 

Among the topics covered are human anatomy, global health, ultrasound, nutrition and virtual reality in health care.

“The support and energy coming from the EVMS faculty, staff, and students in putting this academy together has been amazing,” says Daniel Lewandowski, Program Specialist of Secondary Science at Portsmouth Public Schools. “We feel very fortunate to partner with EVMS and know that the students, faculty and staff will inspire our students to be a part of the future health-sciences workforce.”

Rachel Tonkollie is a Portsmouth high schooler who has dreams of becoming a doctor. 

“I’ve really liked the hands-on stuff, because we get into the action,” Tonkollie said. “I want to be, maybe like a global health doctor, because I really enjoyed that and I really want to travel.”

Coordinator Jamal Felton says the road to medical school is supposed to start in high school.

“You should know what classes you need to take and how to better prepare yourself for medical school and undergraduate classes.”

Mekbib Gemeda is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at EVMS. He said “to see our medical students who look like them, who have come through the journey like them is an important aspect of imaging where you can be and what you can do in life.”

Upon completion, each student will receive a certificate of achievement.

The program for the summer of 2019 is not open to additional students, however, there will be additional program in summer of 2020. A spokeswoman with EVMS said parents and students should speak with their science teachers for more information.