Pre-Clinical Advising

An HS major or minor can be a valuable component of preparation for excellence as a clinical health professional. Students considering careers as nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physicians, surgeons, dentists or other clinical fields should conact Dr. John Vaughan early in their time at the university to discuss course planning and experiential learning (such as job shadowing, volunteering, and working as an EMT with UREMS). 

Meet a Health Studies major

Photo of Evan Wolff


Evan Wolff ’24 knew from early in his time as a UR student that he wanted to double major in Health Studies and Biochemistry as part of his preparation for medical school.  He supplemented his academic studies—including a semester of study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark—with two summers of chemistry research (which led to a coauthored article in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry) and a heavy investment in community service.  On campus, he was active with UR’s Pre-Health Web and the leadership team of The SEEDS Project, a student-run organization the engages in service learning related to environmental justice in low-income communities within the United States.  Off campus, he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for Tuckahoe Rescue Squad and the Richmond Ambulance Authority as well as volunteering for CrossOver Healthcare Ministries, logging well over 1000 clinical hours as an EMT during his years as a UR student.  “Health Studies courses cover a wide range of topics and are taught by passionate professors with real world experiences,” Wolff explained, “so my Health Studies major enabled me to talk knowledgeably about health and healthcare delivery during the medical school application process.”  Wolff earned his degree from UR in May 2024, and he is now a proud member of the University of Virginia’s 2028 class of M.D. candidates.

Photo of Paige Kokolis

Paige Kokolis ’23 always knew that she wanted to pursue a clinical career, but when she arrived at the University of Richmond she wasn’t sure what clinical pathway was right for her.  After passing the NREMT exam earning her Emergency Medical Technician license, she was able to work on campus as both an EMT and as a clinical assistant in the Student Health Center.  Working alongside experienced healthcare professionals helped her identify that nursing was the perfect match to her philosophy of patient care.  “Nurses get to spend time with each of their patients, providing hands-on care, education, and even family support.  That model of caring for the whole person is really important to me.”  

Majoring in Health Studies and minoring in Biology allowed Paige to complete the biology, chemistry, psychology, health ethics, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and nutrition courses that are prerequisites for health professions schools.  She started the second-degree B.S. in Nursing program at Villanova the same month she graduated from UR.  “I’m doing an accelerated RN program that will enable me to become a registered nurse after just 14 months.  I’m planning to practice for a couple of years and then pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.  I'm grateful that my mentors in the Health Studies program and across campus provided me with a solid academic foundation, invaluable scientific and clinical skills, and outstanding guidance as I found my calling to be a nurse practitioner.”