Southwest Virginia Healthcare Excellence Academy Lab School

People on assembly stage with a presentation projected on a screen

Emory & Henry and other colleges in Southwest Virginia partner with the region’s public schools to prepare high school students for healthcare professions.

About the Academy

SWVA-HEALS is a high school career academy for 10th-12th graders interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. Established in 2023, the academy serves as a pipeline preparing future healthcare professionals to meet the workforce shortages in Southwest Virginia. Emory & Henry’s School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing, Virginia Highlands Community College, Wytheville Community College, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center and the A. Linwood Holton Governor’s School have partnered with local public schools in the region to provide the opportunity for high schoolers to prepare for future opportunities in healthcare career pathways and education.

The academy serves students attending public schools in the divisions of Smyth County, Wythe County, Washington County and the City of Bristol. The program focuses on career exploration in the many disciplines of healthcare professions—including nursing and mental health—with hands-on clinical skills development and shadowing opportunities. Students will work with faculty and mentors to prepare and complete an individualized college and career plan after graduation.

The academy will take place on the Emory & Henry Health Sciences Campus in Marion, Va., the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

Applying for SWVA-HEALS

The application for students to join the program—with permission from a parent or guardian—is on the SWVA-HEALS website. Check the website for specific written and recommendation requirements. Seats in the program are limited.