Pinn Hall Dedication: What a Great Day!

Before I arrived at UVA, a colleague of mine at the National Institutes of Health told me, “When you get to Virginia, you have to meet Vivian Pinn.” It was great advice. I’ve become friends with Dr. Pinn over the past two years and I’ll repeat that advice to you: If you have an opportunity to meet Dr. Pinn — jump at the chance. She is an outstanding scientist and an even better person.

There are many reasons I am excited to be here at UVA. But meeting Dr. Pinn and honoring her legacy by renaming a building in her honor, a building that will be dedicated to advancing science for the betterment of mankind is yet another reason.

We will soon be renovating Pinn Hall to create state-of-the-art research space to support today’s most talented and ambitious scientific leaders. This facility will incorporate the latest technologies to encourage productivity and scientific partnership among interdisciplinary teams. By using open and flexible lab modules and shared equipment, this renovation will increase our space efficiency by 25%. Ultimately, this promotes team science, which is what we need to stay competitive with other elite schools of medicine.

I recommend watching the below 40-minute video from the Sept. 13 dedication ceremony. Her accomplishments and perseverance are truly commendable and worthy of your time. Included are timestamps for ease of use.

  • 00:00 – 05:40 | Teresa Sullivan, President, University of Virginia
  • 05:50 – 09:56 | Frank “Rusty” Conner III, Rector, UVA Board of Visitors
  • 10:15 – 14:01 | Dr. L.D. Britt, UVA Board of Visitors
  • 14:07 – 15:05 | Dr. David Wilkes, Dean, UVA School of Medicine
  • 15:12 – 20:12 | Video: Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
  • 20:21 – 25:53 | Dr. David Wilkes, Dean, UVA School of Medicine
  • 26:08 – 40:40 | Dr. Vivian Pinn, Senior Scientist Emerita, NIH Fogarty International Center

Additionally, during Dr. Pinn’s visit to UVA, she participated in the Medical Center Hour entitled “Assuring Fair Access for All.” You can view that video here.

She is an inspiring speaker and I encourage you to take time to watch the video.

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


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

How We Increased Inclusion Among Residents

Every March we’re excited about Match Day, to see where our students will complete their training. (You can see photos of this year’s event here.) The other side of that process is in seeing who matched with UVAHS and in welcoming new residents in July. We recently have seen a positive difference with regard to the number of underrepresented minorities (URM) in the incoming residents.

The AAMC defines URM as “those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.” In recent years, residents who are URM have made up 7 percent of residencies nationwide. UVA usually follows that trend, matching 7 or 8 percent. Last year, however, UVA matched 10 percent URM to our program; and this year 15 percent! Looking at data from the Department of Medicine, our biggest department, the numbers went from 3 percent historically to 15 percent this year. These are outstanding increases.

This change did not happen by accident.

Great Change … But How Did We Do It??
Undergraduate medical education (UME) tackled this problem more than a decade ago and made astounding advances. Because of efforts made in the School of Medicine, we are now proud to say we have one of the most diverse student populations in the country. We wanted to do the same for our residency trainees, but we also wanted to broaden the AAMC definition of URM to be more inclusive.

As a first step, we conducted meetings to hear how minorities fared at UVA and in Charlottesville. These meetings were with the School, the Diversity Consortium, and the Medical Center, and with leaders in the institution like Dean David Wilkes, Dr. Gregory Townsend, and Dr. Michael Williams. While we had good information about our medical students, we lacked a grasp on how our minority trainees felt. After listening and receiving input from many groups, the Graduate Medical Education Committee task force (co-chaired by Dr. Kristen Atkins and Dr. Gerald Donowitz), working closely with Dr. Susan Kirk, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, realized that there was a real need for us to do better.

Every program director was interested in making a change, however there were no mechanisms in place to make a broad, cohesive, and intentional impact. The GMEC task force assisted in creating these mechanisms by bridging the many groups who were already working on this subject.

The program directors started talking openly with applicants about diversity and what it means (and how it feels) to be an underrepresented minority. We created Diversity Days wherein we announced that several of our interview days would be extended for applicants interested in talking about diversity. While these days were sponsored by the Department of Medicine, they were open to all applicants and departments. Our message to the applicants was that UVA wants every trainee at UVA to thrive. The feedback we received from the applicants was eye-opening. Many had never had interviewers discuss diversity with them before. They appreciated it and recognized we wanted a change and that they could be a part of that change. For some, it was the first time they realized how important it was to belong to a place that was interested in their success.

Additionally, the task force educated program directors at monthly GMEC meetings about what was learned from speaking with GME trainees and applicants. We learned (and taught!) how to talk about diversity to an applicant, how to broach the subject, and how to openly discuss where UVA was with regard to diversity, but also where we wanted it to be. We kept the topic on everyone’s radar.

We also decided we couldn’t wait for the applicants to come to us. Like reaching out to high-school students before applying to college, we are now contacting third- and fourth-year medical students and giving them information about UVA Health System. We are going to regional and national meetings such as the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the largest student-run organization focused on supporting underrepresented minority medical students.

Great Success and Momentum
All of this work is so that we may best serve our patients. A diverse group of trainees who reflect the community we serve leads to better patient care. And we are working on creating the best, most diverse resident teams. The past year has just been a pilot. We are moving forward with plans to propose new programs, create brochures for all programs for outreach, include more representation at SNMA meetings, and work with faculty across Grounds who conduct research on microaggressions. (There is much training and awareness we need to work on in this area.) We are also going to continue to tap into the underrepresented minority trainees who are already here and continue to solicit their help in recruitment and culture change. We will continue to take the pulse of our current trainees and institute activities and sessions that foster a culture of inclusion among all trainees, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Other ideas coming down the road: We are proposing formal training for all faculty in handling microaggressions and providing better access to our UVA Ombuds, Brad Holland, with scheduled on-site office hours. New signage has been implemented at the entrance to the Claude Moore Medical Education Building and the hospital lobby to let trainees (and everyone!) know that UVA is a welcoming place.

What we are doing for graduate medical education is a small component of what the whole community is doing — here at the hospital, in Charlottesville, and in Albemarle County. But we want the community to know that this is an important issue. We have learned much this year, and many of the needed connections are now in place. It was a good year. But it is just the first step in a longer process.

The success of initiatives such as this relies upon the willingness of all to participate. We would like to thank Dean Wilkes, Dr. Susan Kirk, the program directors, the task force, and the GMEC for their efforts in making this happen.

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

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

Getting Ready for One Patient, One Record

The goal of “one patient, one record” has been a glimmer in the eyes of UVA Health System administrators and clinicians for years. With the launch of Epic Phase 2 on July 1, our toolbox will finally include a completely integrated electronic medical record system that providers across our continuum of care will use.

Getting ready for this big change requires extensive preparation. Groups across the Health System are preparing to use the nine new applications to go live during Epic Phase 2, and thousands of team members are now engaged in online, classroom and personalized training.

As Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Chris Ghaemmaghami, MD, reminds in this month’s special video message on UVA Connect, clinical teams are playing a crucial role in defining new workflows, and it is important for them to work hand-in-hand with operations and the Epic team. Such collaboration is essential to making our push toward one patient, one record a success. Acknowledging that change is disruptive, Dr. Ghaemmaghami notes that it has a positive purpose: “It is how we stay at the forefront of care and continue delivering our best for our patients.”

[Note: Video is internal-only. Access while on the Health System network.]

Slides: Spring General Faculty Meeting

If you missed the April 20 General Faculty Meeting — or if you attended and just want to review! — you can find a PDF of the presentation slides here.

Highlights: April MAC Meeting

som-bldg_NEW_12122014New World Order in Hospitals … and Academic Medical Centers

  • Dean David Wilkes discussed that, given the degree of uncertainty with the healthcare landscape, we need to be conservative about new clinical hires until we understand how possible changes will affect us. Other institutions are performing workforce lay-offs — that is not a position in which we want to find ourselves.
  • Given the precarious nature of the budget at the National Institutes of Health, Dean Wilkes said that we should pursue only funded, mid-level or senior investigators.
  • Dean Wilkes reiterated that while we will be fine, we need to exercise caution in our hiring. Clarity on these issues will surface in the coming months.

March Board of Visitors Update

  • Background: In the fall of 2016, Dr. Chhabra was appointed as faculty representative to the Medical Center Operating Board (MCOB) of the Board of Visitors. As standard practice going forward, Dr. Chhabra will report to the MAC highlights from the MCOB meetings.
  • From the March MCOB meeting:
    • Health System Dashboard update
      • Positive changes include success in Be Well Phase 2, an increase in referral patterns, and the recruitment of 5 new physician-scientists.
    • Finance update
      • Positive operating margin was reviewed and explained.
    • Epic Phase 2 update
      • Reviewed timeline and implementation plan. The Health System is on track for a summer launch.
    • Be Safe Approach and Outcomes
      • Reviewed service line accountability and provided an example of heart and vascular center success for STEMI patients, a significant improvement when compared to our peers.
    • Strategy update
      • Dr. Richard Shannon provided updates on why patients want to see clinical outcomes that matter, sharing publicly available clinical data, our progress in the Joint Operating Agreement (JOC) with Novant, developing a statewide pediatric care network, and progress on the developing academic relationship with Inova.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 9, 2016, in the BIMS classroom.

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.

Highlights: September MAC Meeting

som-bldg_NEW_12122014Odysseus Grant

  • Kodi Ravichandran, PhD, Harrison Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, received the Odysseus 1 Award, from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium.
  • This award will allow Dr. Ravichandran to join the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) — affiliated with Ghent University, and considered one of the top five independent research institutes in Europe — and to set up a second lab at VIB/UGhent in Belgium where he will address questions related to metabolomics of cell clearance. The new lab will open in early 2017.

Pediatric Liver Transplant

  • UVA completed its most recent pediatric liver transplant on Sept. 10 in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

CTSA Initiative

  • The School of Medicine developing an application for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program under the leadership of Dr. Karen Johnston. Dr. Johnston will assume the role of CTSA Director for a two-year period, effective Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Dr. Howard Goodkin, Professor of Neurology, will take on the role of Interim Chair of the Department of Neurology while Dr. Johnston leads the CTSA initiative.

Conflict of Interest Policy

  • The Health System is bringing its conflict of interest (COI) policies into alignment.
  • Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, Chair, Public Health Sciences, and Chair of the SOM Conflict of Interest Committee, presented changes to the policy and requested feedback.
  • Please provide comments on the new draft sections, which can be found here (login required):
  • These documents will be open for comment through 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

Stark Compliance

  • Chris A. Ghaemmaghami, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, discussed an update to the institution’s Stark law compliance, a set of Federal laws prohibiting physician self-referral.
  • The update includes new language in policies, offer letters, and contracts.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in the BIMS classroom.

Where Have We Gone in 365 Days?

WilkesDavid2_link_09242015I’ll let you in on a secret: I was quite happy at my old job in Indiana and had no intention of leaving.

When I heard about the Dean position here at UVA, I thought, “That’s interesting, but I’ll pass.”

And then I heard about what Dr. Richard Shannon, Executive Vice President of Health Affairs, was doing here. And then I heard Pamela Sutton-Wallace, CEO of the Medical Center, was here, too. And then I looked at the research. And then the students and the educators.

And then … you could not keep me away from Virginia. I knew I had to be here.

I am celebrating my first anniversary in Charlottesville this month. (Tempus fugit, right?) Every day I am thrilled with my decision to come to UVA and even more thrilled that UVA has embraced me so warmly. I thoroughly enjoy my job and feel blessed to work with such talented faculty and staff. Whether I’m having pizza with students, visiting a lab, meeting with colleagues to plan a new initiative, browsing graduate students’ poster session, or conferring with a candidate to discuss the opportunities here … there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

We have much to celebrate this year. Just think:

  • We ended the year with NIH funding of $127M and total grant funding of $207.4M, representing double-digit increases.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked the UVA Medical Center as the #1 hospital in Virginia and recognized eight specialties for excellence.
  • We have implemented a new leadership curriculum in undergraduate medical education and in the graduate program.
  • We implemented that Strategic Hiring Initiative to infuse $60M into the research program, substantially increase external research funding, enhance our national prominence, and recruit premier investigators. As a result, we anticipate approximately $24.7M in grants over the next three years from the first round of recruits – and many more are in the pipeline.
  • With the goal of maintaining our distinction in training future scientists, we initiated a program to provide programmatic support for new or competing continuation training grant awards.

We have accomplished much together in 12 short months. For that, I thank you. This list is just a sampling of what we have done together.

But we’re not done. There’s more ahead, including establishing clinical programs with colleagues at Novant and other sites, increasing our diversity, strengthening our research infrastructure, and continuing to build our reputation for excellence by keeping our patients at the center of all we do.

It’s going to take a lot of love and elbow grease to get us there, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will succeed.

I am honored to serve you and this school. And I’m rewarded by the good work and progress I see every day. Thank you for a wonderful first year. I look forward to many more anniversaries!


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

Highlights: August MAC Meeting

som-bldg_NEW_12122014FY16 Extramural Funding Update

  • The School of Medicine finished a strong FY16 with $207.4M in total funding from all sources, including $127M in grants from the National Institutes of Health.
  • The totals represent a greater than 14% increase in UVA SOM NIH funding, and a 16.4% increase in total funding since last fiscal year.
  • Thanks to all: This is a testament to the hard work and creativity of our faculty, students, fellows and staff.

 The Class of 2020

  • The 156 students of the Class of 2020 are now on Grounds and have been orienting for the past few days.
  • This class is one of the most diverse and academically qualified group of students we have ever had.

Chair Searches Update

  • In December of 2015, the School of Medicine engaged CBO Partners — a local firm with expertise in conducting leadership searches for schools of medicine — and launched chair searches (every other month) for Organ Transplant, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, Surgery, Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, and Dermatology.
  • Searches are going well. The dean’s office and the search committees are fielding expressions of interest from candidates as well as conducting first- and second-round interviews.

U.S. News & World Report

  • The 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” guide recognized eight UVAHS specialties and ranked UVA as the #1 hospital in Virginia.
  • Three UVA specialties ranked in the top 50 in the U.S. are Cancer, Urology, and Nephrology.
  • Five specialties honored as “high performing” (placing them among the top 10 percent in their respective specialties: Cardiology & heart surgery; Diabetes & endocrinology; Neurology & neurosurgery; Orthopedics; and Pulmonology.

Our Core Values in Action: ASPIRE

  • ASPIRE values launched on June 7 at the leadership summit. Anne discussed options and solicited feedback how to best communicate these to faculty and staff.
  • If you need assistance in talking about ASPIRE to your team, there are resources and opportunities available. Contact Anne Williams ( or visit

The next MAC meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in the BIMS classroom.