Archives for November 2017

New Chairs Receive Standardized Onboarding

With the arrival of several new chairs this year — Dr. Park (Otolaryngology), Dr. Saavedra (Dermatology), Dr. Zeiger (Surgery), Dr. Gampper (Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery), Dr. Hoard (Dentistry), Dr. Goodkin (Neurology) and myself (interim in Family Medicine) — the Dean’s Office has implemented a new onboarding process.

Each chair meets regularly with Dean Wilkes and me during their first three months. These meetings are essential in orienting chairs to their new role and the institution itself. They also provide an opportunity for regular check-ins and for us to develop a strong partnership with these new leaders. We offer advice on strategies for success and point out pitfalls to avoid, and connect the new chair with stakeholders within the Health System and across Grounds.

We also hold three monthly, half-day sessions for the new chairs and their administrators with focused topics such as clinical affairs, the education and research missions, finances and budgeting, promotion and tenure, faculty development, and HR-related items (recruitment, hiring, annual reviews, employee relations).

Why Standardize the Onboarding for Chairs?
We’re doing this for two reasons. The first is that we want the chairs to have a formal path to connect early with colleagues and to develop relationships with those with whom they’ll be working as department chairs. This onboarding fosters that network creation. The second is that departmental leadership is a demanding role essential to the success of the medical school. We want to offer the new chairs quick access to the information they need to get acclimated to their new role. “What do I need to know about the department’s finances, or the physical environment, or my responsibilities or …?” We help chairs answer those questions before they become issues.

A better-prepared chair — one who understands their responsibilities and establishes a strong, professional network within the Health System — will be able to better support the development and advancement of faculty as well as lead the department to advance the education, clinical, and research missions.

Thank you to Troy Buer, PhD, and Ashley Ayers who were crucial in launching this initiative.

For more information on department chair leadership, visit the Faculty Affairs and Development site.

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

Highlights: November MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean David S. Wilkes, MD

  • We learned a number of lessons from the DARs/CARs.
    • Accountability is key across all missions.
      • In education, we must ensure that students are prepared to perform the Entrustable Professional Activities.
      • In research, we must diversify the funding portfolios, maintain the standards for research funding per square foot of lab space, and maximize salary support on grants.
      • In the clinics, we must improve efficiencies across the board in the ambulatory setting and we must establish a group practice.
    • The reviews highlighted several priorities.
      • As leaders, we are all responsible for working together and guiding institutional change.
      • We must improve organizational structures and processes. In the dean’s office, we are doing this through developing business intelligence, improving IT infrastructure, and piloting the Be Smart initiative (lean processes).
      • We must build and strengthen external relationship across the University, through the Inova partnership, and through the CTSA initiative.
      • We will take education to a higher level through innovations in our graduate and master’s programs.
    • One of the programs we learned about in the DARs is the Silo Busters program in the Child Health Research Center (CHRC) in the Department of Pediatrics. James Nataro described Silo Busters for us.
      • The program is designed to facilitate interactions with basic scientists. Eligible basic scientists who will be working with Pediatrics faculty members are given joint appointments in the CHRC.
      • The research may be conducted in the lab of either the primary or the secondary appointee.
      • The objective is to attract basic scientists to work with clinicians.
      • The first Silo Buster recipients will be announced before the end of this year.

Bobby Chhabra, MD
The Department of Orthopedics’ clinical trials have grown from 4 trials in 2013 to more than 60 today. Over the last year, the clinical trials infrastructure has been fully supported by the overhead negotiated through the industry “rate card” mechanism.

Dr. Chhabra explained the methodology for developing the cost expectations for the rate card. It takes into account salary expenses (investigator and trial support staff) and OTPS. Billing may be based on an hourly rate or on trial enrollment and other milestones.

The rate card provides a process that is more streamlined and transparent for the budgeting process. It makes is easier for industry to set up trials. It provides salary support for MDs and PAs. The rate card helps to ensure that clinical revenues do not support the expenses of clinical trials.

Mentoring Program Continues to Develop Junior Faculty

The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) is off and running again! In case you’re not familiar with the program, it launched in the fall of 2016 and provides networking, social opportunities, and peer mentoring among colleagues who are at a similar stage in their career. It promotes the development and advancement of junior faculty through seminars and mentored scholarly projects, and facilitates mentoring relationships between senior and junior faculty.

This year’s group, composed of 17 participants from 9 clinical departments, meets every other week to discuss a broad range of topics needed for career success in academic medicine. These topics cover a range of areas, including education, research, leadership, communication, and publication. Recent examples are:

  • Applying a scholarly approach to the work you do with learners
  • Designing a Research or Quality Project
  • Professional Decision Making and the Professional Development Plan
  • Grant Writing & the Specific Aims Page
  • Promotion and Tenure
  • Social Media and Reputation Management
  • Writing for Publication and Scholarly Dissemination

While the current cohort does not represent every department, I want to stress that this program is open to all clinical and basic science faculty.

Each participant in the JFDP works on a scholarly project over the course of the program and has access to a mentor who will answer questions, provide resources, and assist in their growth. This year’s projects cover a wide range of topics. Here is a sample of efforts underway by our junior faculty:

  • “Mechanistic evaluation of biointegration of acellular dermal matrix products”
  • “Identification of low-risk patients with mild complicated brain injury”
  • “Identifying and maximizing resident learning style”
  • “The effects of transition from a specialty-based primary to consultative hospital service: Impact on patients, caregivers, and medical providers”
  • “The perioperative surgical home: Taking the third-year medical student clerkship beyond the operating room”
  • “Improving access to kidney transplant for Hispanic minorities in the state of Virginia”

The JFDP started in October and runs until next April, with the final two meetings focusing on the faculty project presentations, where participants will share project outcomes and their progress to date. I am particularly looking forward to these sessions.

If you’re interested in the JFDP (or know someone who is), the call for applications for fall 2018 will go out in the spring. Keep an eye on your email and this space for updates.

Thank you to the departmental mentors for helping develop our junior faculty and to Troy Buer, PhD; Ashley Ayers; Jennifer Aminuddin; and Alice Keys for providing logistical and operational support. The program would not be successful without their hard work.

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

VMED: Making Teaching and Learning Simpler

Making Virginia Medicine Better: (l-r) Dr. Megan Bray, Dr. Mary Kate Worden, Kim Holman, Dr. Maryellen Gusic, Robert Pastor, Dr. Randolph Canterbury, and Mark Moody.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and allow us to work faster or smarter; but it has to be the right technology, employed correctly. Too often we find some tech to be “good enough” and try to make it suit our needs. “Good enough” causes us to create Band-Aid solutions and workarounds which can translate to extra work and frustration. Over the years, the School of Medicine has been using a patchwork quilt of commercial and custom educational programs and software, added and modified where needed. We’re getting rid of them for something better.

The School of Medicine is in the process of building VMED, which stands for Virginia Medicine. This is an integrated learning-, curriculum-, and student-management system that is being designed with the specific needs of UVA in mind. We want to provide a seamless experience for students, faculty, and administration. With a system of our own design, we can build it to meet our needs instead of trying to muscle through the constraints of commercial software.

To build VMED, we started with the foundation of the UME NxGen Curriclum, the UVA 12 Competencies for the Contemporary Physician, which are our education program objectives for the MD degree. These competencies drive our educational activities and assessments, and VMED underpins those learning objectives and those, in turn, support our student management, online content delivery, assessments, gradebook, program evaluation, and much more. All of this assists us with our AAMC and LCME reporting and predictive analytics regarding our students’ USMLE performance. VMED, built from the ground up, also provides us with longitudinal data not only to assess our student performance but also provides us with program evaluation data necessary for continuous quality improvement

In simplest terms, we are replacing critical components in the student information system and think it will be a huge improvement for all. Student Source, Oasis, X-Credit, and Faculty Toolbox are a few of the current applications that are being replaced.

The largest pieces of VMED include:

  • the online testing system — Three classes of students are now using this.
  • a clinical assessment tool for undergraduate medical education — iCAN, which stands for Interactive Clinical Assessment Navigator, is the tool we use for assessing entrustable professional activities (EPA).
  • a learning management system for students — A home for resources, schedules, enrollment, and gradebook.
  • evaluations — Student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-course.
  • mapping of the curriculum — mapping to the physician competencies, which speaks to our accreditation as a medical school.

Most medical schools are using commercial products or open-source tools to deliver their curriculum to students and to map it for accreditation purposes. We’ll be joining a small community that is developing software from scratch. We’re moving forward with this because of the successes we’ve had with the new testing system and EPA programs — they are proof that we have the resources and the talent in the School of Medicine to build something that will suit our specific needs.

What Does This Mean for You?
We’re working on VMED now. Some modules have been piloted, but we’re also gathering requirements for future modules. The initial release of the learning management system will roll out in August 2018 with iterative releases to come in the months and years to follow.

Faculty who are teaching in the classroom or in the clinic have already seen some of these changes, particularly those using the assessment methodology for EPAs and those using the new online testing system. I hope that VMED will simplify teacher workflow for class preparation, approval of teaching materials, setting up exams, and reviewing student performance, and that it will offer faculty a clear view of how your work supports the physician competencies.

I would like to thank Dr. Megan Bray, Dr. Maryellen Gusic, Kim Holman, Mark Moody, Robert Pastor, Michael Szul, and Dr. Mary Kate Worden for their tireless efforts on VMED. It could not have happened without their hard work.

As more modules of VMED are ready for release, I’ll talk about them here. Stay tuned!

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