Archives for September 2017

P&T: SOM Promotes as Many Women as Men

This year, for the first time, the School of Medicine promoted as many women as men to the rank of full professor. This is not just important in our SOM, but for women across the country — and how we got here is a story worth telling.

Nationally, women tend to apply for advancement to full professor at a lower rate and on a longer timeline than their male colleagues. As of 2015, representation of women at the rank of full professor had remained static in our SOM for at least a decade at UVA, hovering around 50 professors, or 16 percent of all full professors. While we had the data, we did not know why — so, a few years ago, we started looking into this. We had conversations about barriers and obstacles, conducted qualitative studies, and formed focus groups with those who had (and had not yet) made the choice to advance.

It is wonderful to be able to report that during this process many more women decided to seek promotion to full professor. In addition, more women were hired at that rank. Currently, 68 women in the School of Medicine are at the rank of full professor. That’s up from 48 just two years ago and represents a 42 percent increase! This is a significant stride toward equity and justly rewarding our faculty for their hard work and dedication to the school.

Here is what a few of them had to say, in their own words:

Carol Manning, PhD
Vice Chair for Faculty Development, Director Memory Disorders Clinic, Professor of Neurology
I’m co-chair of the School of Medicine Committee on Women, and we are doing research to understand why women get caught at the associate level. In participating in this research, I realized that that’s where I was and it was important for me to move forward.

In the Committee on Women research, we’ve heard that women who advance have had mentors who said, “Not only can you do this, but you need to do this. You are ready.” I didn’t feel the need until I became uncomfortable with where I was, and I put my work forward to the departmental P&T committee and they told me I was ready and that I absolutely should do it. That push was what I needed.

Being a full professor means a lot more than I it thought it would. It feels really good; that I’m recognized for my work and accomplishments, that I’m a player at the table, that I’m a role model for other women in the School of Medicine. I feel like I’m in position where I can encourage other associate professors to do this, and can show junior faculty that women can — and should — be full professors.

Kathie L. Hullfish, MD
Professor, Departments OB/GYN and Urology; Associate Chief Medical Officer, Peri-operative Services
I decided to go up this past year because of several factors. First, I have sustained investigative productivity with peer-reviewed publications and presentations in my clinical field of excellence. Second, I maintain a national reputation. Third, I have documented educational and clinical excellence in the subspecialty that I was charged to create and grow here at UVA. Finally, I wanted my administrative and executive leadership service as the Associate Chief Medical Officer and Physician Service Line Lead for Periop to be judged and valued by my institutional peers.

Before starting the process, I had vetted the idea to pursue promotion with several national leaders and mentors who strongly encouraged me to apply. To me, being a full professor means that the breadth and depth of my contributions locally, regionally, and nationally are fully recognized and appreciated by the institution. 

Wendy Novicoff, PhD
Department of Public Health Sciences and Orthopaedic Surgery

I had stayed on schedule from associate to full professor, and I didn’t realize how unusual this was, because that was always part of my plan. In talking to my colleagues, it became clear that this was not the experience for many people, especially women.   

 When I was thinking about applying to become a full professor, I spoke with both of my chairs and to Dr. Pollart, and they all said, “It’s time.” I broached the idea with them and they were very supportive. While my situation is different, I do know a lot of people in this department and many departments, both male and female, who get to the associate professor-level, and say, “I’m not going to go any further.” I’ve been incredibly lucky to find great colleagues, and I have been able to be very productive in terms of presentations and publications.

I can’t even describe the great feeling of being able to tell people I’m a full professor. Especially around here, people know what that means. This is not something that is just handed to you – I earned it through a lot of hard work and dedication. Being the first female full professor in orthopaedic surgery in the history of this institution — I find that amazing. 

One of the concerns people have voiced, because so many women were promoted in this round, was that the criteria were changed. I know they were not. There was a huge push to help women at our school apply for advancement, and it worked. But I know the bar was not lowered. I know the women who were promoted this year, and we all absolutely deserved it.

Congratulations to all who were promoted this year. Encouraging women to apply for promotion is something the Office of Faculty Affairs and Development has been focusing on, and it is incredibly gratifying to see progress. Let’s make sure we keep an eye on the academic progress of all of our faculty members and assure each has the opportunity to achieve the richly deserved recognition for their contributions and excellence.

Susan M. Pollart, MD, MS
Ruth E. Murdaugh Professor of Family Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development

A Year in Review

Dean David Wilkes

The other day while my wife and I were having morning coffee, we realized that I’m starting my third year as dean of the School of Medicine! We talked about how quickly the first two years have passed, how much we love Charlottesville, and how happy I am at UVA — and what an incredible honor it is to serve as your dean.

In some respects, my role is like that of an orchestra conductor because I’m not the one actually making the music. I only facilitate and fully recognize that you are the ones doing the real work.

When we’re focused on the urgent tasks of each day, it’s easy to forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done. We’ve done a lot! This letter mentions only a few highlights. Because we have so many accomplishments to celebrate, I’ve added this link where you can see what we’ve achieved in specific areas.

UVA moved from 40 to 36 in the NIH rankings of schools of medicine, as reported by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research! Congratulations to all of you who worked hard on writing grants and preparing the submissions! Our FY17 extramural funding was $221 million … our highest level ever, excluding ARRA. This is remarkable growth from $162 million in FY14 and is truly a cause for celebration. The data also show that we are diversifying our research portfolio to spread risk and to create opportunity for further success. Related to this, we have just contracted with The Conafay Group to help us improve our chances of success with funding from the Department of Defense and related federal agencies.

UVA and Inova executed an academic affiliation agreement to establish the Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute (GBRI) on the former Exxon campus in Fairfax. We’re just in the early stages of setting this up and it will be a game changer. The affiliation agreement also establishes the UVA School of Medicine — Inova Campus where 72 of our students will complete their 3rd and 4th years in a high-volume, urban environment to begin in 2021. The School of Medicine has taken a lead position in what we anticipate to be a more broad expansion of UVA into northern Virginia.

In September 2016 we renamed Jordan Hall to Pinn Hall, and recently we held the dedication ceremony. A group of SOM leaders identified UVA alumna Dr. Vivian Pinn as the ideal choice for representing excellence in clinical care, research, scholarship, and the character and personal qualities we value. Phased renovations on Pinn Hall have begun. In addition to providing modern, open, flexible laboratories, Pinn Hall will house a Nobel Atrium to honor the Nobel laureates who did their pioneering work at UVA — thus highlighting our future by recognizing stars who represent what is best about us.

We are starting our third year of a tuition freeze. Nationally, medical students are completing their programs with staggering levels of debt. Thanks to the support of our alumni and the scholarship programs they fund, our students graduate with an average debt level that is much lower than the national average. Freezing tuition, while helping to reduce student debt, results from sound fiscal stewardship at the School of Medicine.

For the second year in a row, the University of Virginia Medical Center was recognized as the number one hospital in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Six specialties (Cancer, Ear, Nose & Throat, Orthopedics, Urology, Diabetes & Endocrinology, and Cardiology & Heart Surgery) were ranked in the top 50. And Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Pulmonology were called out as being “high performing” specialties. Congratulations to our caregivers, researchers, and staff for this recognition of your work!

Our accrediting agency, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, is monitoring our success in increasing diversity among our faculty. While our URM faculty increased from 4.8% to 5.3% we still have much work left to achieve the AAMC 50th percentile of 6.7%.  Now each department has a diversity plan that maps out a strategy and tactics to increase diversity among faculty and trainees.

I also want to share some information that makes a strong statement about our organization. As we continue to move as one Health System, it’s important to note that our partners in the Medical Center contributed $70.1 million in FY17 to the SOM for academic support. This is a significant and tangible statement of our partnership and of the shared trust between the individual entities of the Health System.

As I said, these are just some of the highlights. Clearly, we — that’s all of you! — have been doing a lot and accomplishing great things.

The events of August 11-12 created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. We can get mired in the confusion or we can recognize something crucial — we are defined by who we are and what our values are, and not by the events of August. The importance of our work hasn’t changed. Let’s focus on our mission and our excellence. When someone asks where you’re from, you can stand a little taller and say, “I’m from the University of Virginia. I’m from Charlottesville.” And say it with pride, because you know who you are.

I’m very excited about what we are going to do together in the coming years. Although I’ve shared my priorities with you before, this is a good time to share them again.

  • Execute the development of the UVA-Inova Genomics Institute.
  • Operationalize the regional medical school campus for UVA 3rd and 4th year medical students at Inova.
  • Continue an aggressive investment in research and faculty recruitment.
  • Increase our NIH portfolio to $150 million by 2020.

This will take a lot of heavy lifting, but based on what we’ve already accomplished, I know we can do it. Every day we have the opportunity to do our best and every day I see the results of our efforts. My thanks to each one of you.

David S. Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science

See all accomplishments at

Preparing Students Better Through Direct Observation

This summer, the School of Medicine began a pilot program to use assessment of entrustable professional activities (EPA) to measure the competencies of medical students and their readiness to perform patient care tasks. The EPAs are the tasks a resident should be able to perform from day one of their training; activities such as taking a patient history, documenting an encounter, performing basic procedures (e.g., starting an IV), collaborating as part of an interprofessional team, and interpreting lab values.

A lot of what we’ve done in clinical education is based on presumptive trust. Performing an EPA assessment involves direct observation to collect data about a student’s abilities. Teachers provide feedback to students about their strengths and about skills they need to develop further and the learners then use this information to improve. For teachers, these data allow trust to be grounded in fact and enables them to design individual learning experiences for students. The School of Medicine also will be able to use the information from assessments to target curricular innovation for all students.

The pilot has been a positive experience for both learners and teachers. Here’s what some of those involved have to say about it:

Joshua Eby, MD
Assistant Professor Professor of Medicine

“This was an opportunity to help students do better with histories and physical exams and a nice venue to allow attendings to give honest feedback without feeling like it’s affecting a student’s grades. Because of this, it allows for a more open discussion with constructive criticism on how a student is performing.”

Sarah Dillon
School of Medicine, Class of 2019

“I may have been the first or one of the first to do an EPA. I liked it because it formalized a process that was already being done. I think that physicians are good at giving feedback to students, but this ensured that regular feedback was happening. It was helpful to have it happen early on in the rotation, so that I could get advice on what to work on. I did my EPA with Dr. Eby, who gave me great advice on history taking and physical exam skills. One of the big takeaways I had was how he emphasized the importance of the physical exam — taking my time and developing my own routine with doing an exam, head to toe, and being very thorough.”

Brian Uthlaut, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine
Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program

“One success so far has been in organizing a large number of our general medicine inpatient teaching faculty to come together for faculty development on EPA-based assessment. This was the largest workplace based assessment activity that I’ve been a part of at UVA. It was a good step for us, as we grow in terms of bedside observation, skills, and consistent observation of our medical students. I look forward to a greater environment for bedside observation for all of our learners — from medical students to residents to fellows. I think that the faculty development that we’ve started — and increasing comfort level with this — is an important step in achieving more frequent and higher quality bedside observation.

 As we get the faculty up to speed, I’ve heard positive feedback from faculty about the quality of the time they’ve been able to spend with our students at the bedside … we are off to a good start and this is really a very common-sense way to train our students with higher reliability.”

Mitch Rosner, MD
Chair, Department of Medicine
“It is critical to have methods to critically evaluate the skills of our students in real-world situations. We need to ensure that our students are as prepared as possible to enter residency and this program goes a long way in achieving this goal. It is gratifying to see UVA lead the way nationally in this program.”

In the next phase of the pilot, students, faculty and residents from the departments of pediatrics and Ob/Gyn will engage in EPA-based assessments.

Many thanks to the leadership team (Drs. Mitch Rosner, Gerald Donowitz, Molly Hughes, Alex Millard, and Brian Uthlaut), the faculty and the residents from the department of medicine for supporting this initiative and for their commitment to our students and the educational mission.

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education

Highlights: September MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean

  • Dean Wilkes recognized some noteworthy accomplishments that impact the entire Health System.
    • US News & World Report identified UVA as the number 1 hospital in Virginia for the second year in a row. Along with this, six specialties were included in the Top 50: Cancer (30); Ear, Nose & Throat (32); Orthopedics (33); Urology (35); Diabetes & Endocrinology (44); and Cardiology & Heart Surgery (50). Also, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Pulmonology were identified as “Top Performers.”
    • UVA has achieved Comprehensive Stroke Center status, one of only three institutions in Virginia to have earned this status.
    • The SOM saw a 42% increase in the number of women professors over two years. For the first time, the SOM is at the national average for women professors.
  • Dean Wilkes welcomed three new department chairs:
    • Martha A. Zeiger, MD – Surgery
    • Stephen S. Park, MD – Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
    • Susan M. Pollart, MD – Family Medicine (Interim)
  • On the occasion of his second anniversary at UVA, Dean Wilkes reviewed his priorities:
    • Execute development of the Inova/UVA Genomics Institute.
    • Develop the regional medical school campus at Inova for 3rd and 4th year medical students.
    • Continue aggressive investment in research and faculty recruitment.
    • Increase our NIH portfolio to $150 million by 2020.

Health System Financial Overview
Douglas Lischke, Chief Accounting Officer

Mr. Lischke provided an unaudited review of the FY17 consolidated Health System financials.

Draft Policy: Standards for Laboratory and Computational Space Use
Margaret A. Shupnik, PhD

Dr. Shupnik invited comments and feedback regarding this policy, which was distributed to chairs and directors in advance of the meeting. She thanked the Research Space Committee (composed of David Brautigan, PhD; Douglas DeSimone, PhD; Myla Goldman, MD; Russ Manley; Wladek Minor, PhD; James Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA; and Stephen Rich, PhD) for their year-long efforts developing the draft policy.

The committee, which is advisory to the dean, will oversee space reassignment and requests for additional space. Initially the committee is reviewing laboratory and computational space with metrics for clinical space to be developed later.

The SOM’s facilities team will conduct periodic assessments. It is recognized that:

  • space allocations are not permanent;
  • chairs and center directors are responsible for stewardship and will manage space in alignment with the policy; they will manage the space as a whole, including strategic decisions and decisions regarding individual assignments;
  • space reallocation agreements between units require dean’s office approval; and
  • vacant space will be reassigned.

Based on an external engineering report, the committee agreed on the following standards:

  • Grade A space – $500/SF
  • Grade B space – $400/SF
  • Grade C space – $300/SF

(Definitions of graded space have been sent to chairs, directors, and administrators and will be posted on the Office for Research website after the policy has been approved.)

A Research Investigator within a team of 6 FTEs and meeting the standards will be assigned approximately 1,270 SF lab space.

The policy will be phased in according to the quality of space. All space is subject to the defined metrics, which are based on a 3-year rolling average. Departments verify their space annually.

Summary statement – August 11-12 events

Dean David S. Wilkes

Dean Wilkes observed that some consider Charlottesville has been “branded” based on the August events. He reminded everyone that we will not be defined by external events that we have no control over, and that we should be proud of who we are and the excellent results of our work.

Do You Know Where to Turn for Help?

Brad Holland, University of Virginia Ombuds

The University has a powerful resource ready to offer help.

Do you have a work-related challenge or need advice with an issue? Do you need an objective listener who can help you address a problem? It may be time for you to reach out to Brad Holland, University of Virginia Ombuds.

The University Ombuds is an independent, confidential* resource available to assist faculty, staff, and students in resolving problems, complaints, conflicts, and other issues when normal processes and procedures have not worked satisfactorily.

Now it’s even more convenient to speak with Holland. In response to incidents across the Health System, he is now holding regular office hours every Tuesday in McKim 1173, from 1-5 p.m.

Ombuds services include listening to your problems and concerns, and exploring options to resolve them; focusing the attention of University officials on the complaint; making inquiries into concerns already heard but not satisfactorily resolved; providing information on resources within the University that may help you; serving as a neutral party to solve problems and resolve conflict (without taking sides); and identifying problem areas facing faculty, staff, and students and recommending changes in University policies and procedures.

Holland says that his job is to help people solve issues themselves. “I can help people find where to get help,” says Holland. “If they don’t want to go to those places or, if after they’ve gone to those places they are still unhappy I’ll try to help in other ways. When people come to see me, I listen. I ask questions. I get a feel for what’s going on. Together, we brainstorm what we can do to address the problem. Sometimes I help two people come together to talk about their issues, so that they may come to solution that works out for all parties. I am willing to do whatever I can to assist.”

Hollland wants you to know that he is available to help. You can reach him by email or via phone at 434.924.7819. You can visit him in his McKim 1173 office on Tuesday afternoons or at 2015 Ivy Rd, room 305. Holland is also willing to meet people wherever they want; on the Corner, in their department, or anywhere on or off Grounds. “I want people to feel that they have an option to come to me, and that we can address a problem without making a Federal case out of it. I find that people want to fix things and I like to help them find those real solutions.”

For more information, visit
*confidential, except for Title IX (sex/gender) disclosures

Susan M. Pollart, MD, MS
Ruth E. Murdaugh Professor of Family Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development

We Are in the Business of Compassion — and Business Is Good!

Compassion is vital to our mission here at the School of Medicine. Compassion for our patients, our students, and one another. This is why it’s wonderful that the Medical Student Advocacy Committee (MSAC) has launched an exciting new award. The Dr. Henry Harrison Wilson, Jr. Everyday Humanism in Medicine Award is aimed at appreciating and applauding positive examples of compassion and humanism in the clinical setting, and cultivates a culture where students, residents, fellows, and attendings exhibit compassion in day-to-day interactions.

What we choose to shine the light on in our culture is important. Recognizing acts of compassion and humanism helps to establish a culture in which those actions take root and grow, and become “who we are” every day. While we already have the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, that is only awarded once a year. We want to recognize those daily acts of compassion and humanism that occur all over our health system. This new award provides us with an opportunity to do just that: to shine a light on the residents, fellows, and attendings whom students consider to be day-to-day exemplars of compassion and humanism.

How it works: Every day, students can nominate residents, fellows, or attendings after witnessing a simple act that exemplifies medical humanism and compassion. After receiving several nominations, the teacher will receive the award and a lapel pin. Nominations require only the submission of a short blurb about the witnessed event and some identifying information. No long forms or complicated process: It should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Awards will be given on a rolling basis, encouraging everyone to both notice AND reward humanism as it happens. For more information on the award and how to submit, visit the website.

About the award: This new award is named for Dr. Henry Harrison Wilson Jr, a plastics and reconstructive surgeon who graduated from UVA School of Medicine in 1949. He was well known for being an advocate for humanism and compassion in medicine. Dr. Wilson died in 2016 and his family established a fund to promote compassion and humanism in physicians to honor his memory.

Faculty and staff: Thank you for the daily compassion you show our students and patients. And thank you, students, for calling out those who act as your role models as physicians and teachers.

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education

We Are Not Alone

[9/18/17 Update: OrlandoHealth expresses its support, too! Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the new banner image.]

Since the events of August 11 and 12, I have experienced an incredible churn of emotions. Anger and confusion. Sadness and grief. But eventually, I rediscovered hope. It’s important to remember that we are not alone in battling hate and intolerance. My hope was bolstered by the many notes of encouragement and support in recent weeks. I wanted to share two of the most visible gestures of kindness.

Penn State College of Medicine students sent a large, signed placard. It reads:

“We the students of Penn State College of Medicine want to convey our sincerest support during these troubling times. It saddens us to hear that such hateful acts are disturbing your community. Please know that these recent events have impacted us all and that we stand with you as allies. We trust that through love and unity, your city and our nation will come together in collaboration and cooperation to overcome these hardships.

If you want to see it for yourself, it is currently on display in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library lobby.

Pam Cipriano, PhD, RN, President of American Nurses Association (ANA), delivered a banner on behalf of the ANA national staff to UVAHS staff in honor of our service during the events of Aug.12. Check the images below to read their messages of kindness and support.

These are wonderful reminders that we are not alone. Charlottesville is a small town, yes, but our friends are plentiful, vocal, and they stand with us. In this way, our Grounds extend much farther than the borders of the University.

9/18/17 Update: This just arrived via email. More autographed support from our colleagues at OrlandoHealth | Orlando Regional Medical Center. Thank you, Florida!

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education