Archives for October 2016

Highlights: October MAC Meeting

Pinn Hall

  • Pinn Hall (formerly Jordan Hall) was renamed in honor of distinguished alumna Dr. Vivian Pinn. Pinn Hall will be renovated, floor by floor, starting in 2017 as part of our revitalization efforts and will include the creation of a Nobel Atrium to honor the Nobel laureates who did their pioneering work at the School.

Integrated Space Planning

  • At the September Board of Visitors meeting, Dr. Shannon, Dean Wilkes, and Ms. Sutton-Wallace presented recommendations for our physical plant based on the work of 130 task force members.
  • Three years from now, our space will be different — the process to get there will require much input from faculty and chairs.
  • Next step: Dr. Shannon, Dean Wilkes, and Ms. Sutton-Wallace will discuss with the BOV the business modeling that will help us move into a more efficient, high-tech, modern set of buildings conducive to collaboration and excellent work.

Grants & Contracts: Timely Submission Policy

  • Stewart Craig recommended implementing a submission deadline policy requiring administrative components and science components to be submitted five business days and two business days, respectively, before proposal due dates. This offers a good margin that tolerates error.
  • Reasoning: We do not want to lose proposals because of deadline-related issues. Having a rational submission policy also allows his office to be proactive. The policy also provides departmental and school administrators more time to do a thorough review.

Strategic Investment Fund

  • Dr. Shupnik thanked all who submitted proposals. Dr. Shannon, Dean Wilkes, and Ms. Sutton-Wallace will make decisions on the final submissions.
  • While expectations of these funds are developing, Dr. Shupnik will let everyone who submitted a proposal know its status as soon as possible.

Pinn Scholars

  • As a result of strategic planning, the Pinn Scholars program is being established as an effort to retain, reward, and engage mid-level faculty. Details will be shared when guidelines are final.

Department/Center Annual Reviews — Themes, Best Practices

  • The dean’s office has finished reviewing all departments and SOM centers. Dean Wilkes shared some common themes and lessons learned.

Surgery Research Incentive Program

  • Drs. Kron and Schroen shared a plan that was created to objectively reward and incentivize research productivity. Since its inception in 2007, the department has seen an increase in publications, grants, and research productivity, as well as concurrent clinical growth, but not at the expense of the clinical productivity. This successful program has helped align rewards with the academic mission.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, November 8, 2016, in the BIMS classroom.

Building a Better COOP

As William Butler Yeats wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

I’m not so sure we need to worry about Yeats’ apocalypse, but accidents do happen. Things do, from time to time, fall apart. Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, widespread disease, ice or snow storms. These things happen. Just ask Irene Tostanoski, Administrator for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

John DeSilva, School of Medicine Emergency Preparedness, Response and Security Coordinator

John DeSilva, School of Medicine Emergency Preparedness, Response and Security Coordinator

On a Friday evening last May, an aged and stressed plumbing elbow joint failed in the wall between the chair’s executive assistant’s office and the bathroom next door. Water flooded the office and ran down the hallway, flooding many other offices and a hundred feet or more of carpeted hall. “Luckily, one of our gyn-onc physicians was here performing a late surgery and stopped by the office to complete the Op notes on the EPIC system,” says Tostanoski. “If she hadn’t been here, this could have been catastrophic.”

The flooding displaced many in the department while the carpets were dried out with industrial-sized fans. “The actual water clean-up was quick. But, long-term, dealing with the carpets and the musty smell — which caused some of our team members to become sick — that took a while to fix. We had to relocate our folks for a while until it could be sorted out.”

Accidents do happen. However, being prepared for them can mitigate their impact upon our lives and our work. Tostanoski says, “We need a list of off-site locations where team members can sit and set up work in order to continue operations. But with the new phone system, which is computer-based, it’s not as simple as plugging in a phone and forwarding calls. This requires planning.”

Which brings us to COOPs.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires state agencies (such as UVA) to have a Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP). As the School of Medicine Emergency Preparedness, Response and Security Coordinator, I partnered with the dean’s office to review and strengthen their existing COOP to better enable our ability to recover from an adverse event. During an emergency, the COOP will guide the school. I will be reaching out to the departments to assist with the development of the departmental-level plans, such as the one experienced by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

These plans provide guidance on how to continue or rapidly restore mission-essential functions in an emergency. These functions include:

  • Providing academic programs to students;
  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of the University’s students, faculty, staff, patients, contractors, and visitors;
  • Providing health services; and
  • Conducting critical research.

While being prepared on a school- and department-wide level is vital, we should also be personally prepared. Do you have adequate supplies on hand? Things like medicine or non-perishable food? (Extra cans of soup in your cabinet can, literally, be a life-saver!) Do you keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full during the winter months? Have you discussed with your family how you will communicate with each other in an emergency? If we’re not prepared, if our family is not taken care of, we will be distracted. It is only natural. As a result, however, we will be less effective in performing our work that is critical to the Health System and those that depend on us. The patients, students, and science could feel the effects of such diversion. And that is something we want to avoid.

Lastly, a few reminders:

If you have questions about COOPs or how to be personally prepared for an emergency, please contact me at 982.1533 or

John DeSilva
School of Medicine Emergency Preparedness, Response and Security Coordinator