Newswise — WASHINGTON/ALEXANDRIA, VA (October 26, 2017) — Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences have established a partnership that creates a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway for students interested in careers in medicine and health care. The program will begin to be rolled out in academic year 2018-2019 at T.C. Williams High School, Virginia’s largest high school for grades 9 through 12. According to the World Health Organization, “the world will be short of 12.9 million health care workers by 2035.” More specifically, in the D.C. metro region, over the next 10 years there will be an annual shortage of approximately 1,236 health care professionals and a shortage of roughly 776 health care support occupations, according to Labor Insight Jobs and Burning Glass Technologies.

This new partnership between ACPS and GW addresses the workforce shortage in Virginia and across the globe and develops a qualified health care workforce of tomorrow. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to get a head start on college, have access to a great education, and to develop a passion for a career field that has a critical need for future employees. The Career and Technical Education program at T.C. Williams provides students with the chance to fully understand the field of study they may pursue and make sound decisions about that career choice before they fully commit to it. We are very excited about this unique public-private partnership opportunity with GW,” said Interim ACPS Superintendent Lois F. Berlin.

The strategic educational partnership will establish five new Career and Technical Education pathways within the new GW-ACPS Academy of Health Sciences at T.C. Williams High School. It will start with the launch of a biomedical informatics pathway in fall 2018, followed by four additional pathways – sports medicine, pharmacy, emergency medical services and medical laboratory sciences that will launch over the next four years. GW faculty will work collaboratively with faculty from T.C. Williams to broaden and enrich the offerings for the students. Currently, T.C. Williams offers a nursing and surgical technology pathway in its Health and Medical Sciences Department.

Through the pathways created by the partnership, T.C. Williams’ students can begin earning college credits in their first year of the program, which could be as early as ninth grade. For some, this will significantly reduce the amount of time and money needed to graduate from college and will create various career options upon graduation. The partnership is designed to provide the necessary background education and training for students to choose from the following career paths:

  • Attain employment immediately after graduation into an entry level medical role in the workforce,
  • Matriculate into Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to attain an associate’s degree, or 
  • Transfer into the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, through a guaranteed admissions agreement, with college credits towards earning a bachelor’s degree. Under the partnership, students who opt to complete their health sciences degree at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences will also be eligible for scholarships.

“Workforce development in high-demand health care professions is critically important for Virginia. This partnership addresses this priority by bringing cutting edge health sciences education to students at T.C. Williams to accelerate their paths to health care careers,” said Reamer L. Bushardt, PharmD, PA-C, DFAAPA, professor and senior associate dean for health sciences at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “GW faculty are uniquely prepared to help students explore careers that leverage their talents and strengths. As we designed this program, I have been inspired by the collaborative spirit shared by faculty at ACPS, GW, and NOVA. This collaboration was integral to shaping a program that is both student- and community-centered. This private-public partnership is one of the first of its kind and a model for community-led workforce development.”

In academic year 2017-2018, staff and faculty from ACPS and GW will build courses within the curriculum pathways. Beginning in fall 2018, the academy will start with a cohort of 100-150 students. After students complete the freshman “Introduction to Health and Medical Sciences” course, students will select one of the seven pathways to complete. With the graduation of the first cohort of students through the Academy of Health Sciences, GW and ACPS will begin collecting outcomes to assess the impact of the program to the local, regional, and national workforce as well as the progression of students to NOVA and GW.

For more information about the ACPS/GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Partnership, visit:


About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.

About Alexandria City Public Schools

Alexandria City Public Schools caters to 15,600 students who live within Alexandria City. ACPS has 16 schools which serve an economically, racially, and ethnically diverse community. Students come from 134 countries and speak 113 languages. 59 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price meals and 29.5 percent of students require English Learner services.

About T.C. Williams High School

T.C. Williams is the largest high school in Virginia with almost 4,000 students immortalized in the 2000 Disney movie Remember the Titans.

The school draws from a population that is economically, racially, and ethnically diverse. As a cross-representation of American society, our diversity blends into a rich, heterogeneous student body. Students come from 80 countries and speak more than 60 languages. T.C. Williams boasts among the lowest counselor-to-student ratios nationally, to guide student-led development of individualized career and academic plans as well as a comprehensive school counseling program addressing the social/emotional needs of all students. 

Two campuses comprise T.C. Williams. The Minnie Howard Campus is home to ninth grade students, who participate in daily classes, sports, and extracurricular activities on the King Street Campus. The King Street Campus is home to students in grades 10 through 12. 

A Satellite Campus was launched in September 2012 as the first comprehensive, non-traditional satellite high school campus in Northern Virginia to deliver a 21st-Century curriculum through a hybrid online/onsite model offering flexible scheduling, internship opportunities, one-on-one student-centered support, and a new pathway to graduation to meet the varied needs of a diverse group of students.

An International Academy was created in 2011 to support and empower approximately 600 English Language Learners with content mastery and language proficiency through rigorous, experiential, and project-based curricula for college and workforce readiness and to prepare them to become contributing members of our community and conscientious global citizens of the future. The Internship Program teaches International Academy eleventh grade students college and career readiness skills. In addition to formally starting the process to apply to college, students interview and secure a 15-week internship with local, partnering businesses. Students have the opportunity to serve the community while exploring career interests and developing career skills.