Connecting to the Waiting Patient: Summer Research Internship Program Benefits from an A3 Workout


Every summer, the University of Virginia School of Medicine (SOM) welcomes a group of 30-35 enthusiastic undergraduate students from across the country to participate in our Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP). Over the course of the 10-week program, the selected trainees benefit from an immersive research experience mentored by a member of the program faculty, participate in a professional development series, and attend communication workshops.

The SRIP receives over 400 applications for these coveted positions each year. Trainee selections are made based on academic performance, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. Previously, students would apply online and provide personal statements, while their paper transcripts would arrive through the mail and letters of recommendation would arrive via email. Then began the painstaking process of scanning the paper transcripts and matching each individual’s application with the correct transcript and letters of recommendation — over 400 times! This process consumed weeksof nearly fulltime effort by the program coordinator to compile the application packets, causing the program to miss out on many strong applicants because offers went out later than competing programs.

There had to be a better way to collect and process these applications.

2017 SRIP class

Streamlining and Automating the Process
In May, the Program Director, Dr. Janet V. Cross, Assistant Dean for Graduate Research and Training, and the Summer Program Coordinator, Ms. Marya Johnson, undertook A3 problem-solving efforts. They formed a team that analyzed the current state of the process and identified opportunities to eliminate waste. As the team designed the future state, they saw an opportunity to leverage an existing resource. The prior year, the Biomedical Science (BIMS) Graduate Programs application had transitioned to the electronic platform, Slate. Recognizing the adaptability of Slate, the team worked with the Central Admission and Enterprise Application Admission teams to devise a complete application that will collect all the required information from the students as well as those providing recommendation letters, all through a secure, electronic platform.

The new-and-improved SRIP application went live on Sept. 1. A final assessment of the success of this Lean project must await the conclusion of the current admissions cycle in early spring. However, it is already clear that the new application platform will liberate weeks of work for Ms. Johnson and Dr. Cross, allowing them to focus on making offers earlier, attracting the best trainees to join our research teams, and developing educational programming for the participants. They anticipate that the streamlined process will also simplify the workload for potential applicants and improve the review process for the SOM faculty and BIMS students who participate in the admissions committee, allowing them to return to their research activities sooner. Overall, these improvements will enable us to continue educating the best and brightest students and setting them on the path toward contributing to the breakthrough discoveries of the future. Given that over 50 percent of our SRIP alumni go on to pursue PhDs, MDs, or combined degrees, the impact has the potential to be significant!

We thank Dr. Cross and Ms. Johnson for identifying the problem and undertaking the process improvement review, which led to such an elegant solution. We also thank Tracy Pettit and the members of her Central Admission team (Jacki Haney, Emillie Cobarrubias, and Alyssa Sellick) and the Enterprise Application Admission team (Briana Reid, Kristen Stanley and Jennifer Meyer) who worked with them to develop and ultimately build the new SRIP application. Finally, we thank the students, faculty, staff who support the SRIP in so many ways and allow us to provide a terrific experience for the trainees who are chosen to participate each summer.

Margaret A. Shupnik, PhD
Gerald D. Aurbach Professor of Endocrinology
Senior Associate Dean for Research

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

Connecting to the Waiting Patient: Improving Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Interviewing Processes

MSTP students at the 2015 White Coat Ceremony.

The primary goal of the School of Medicine dean’s office is to make sure that our efforts enable the School’s tri-partite mission of education, research, and clinical care, and benefit the “waiting” patient. It is the patient who is waiting for a cure, the next generation of physicians, or an appointment with a physician who can deliver needed care.

The dean’s office employees are focused on improving administrative processes that support the faculty’s work. The Be Smart program creates a meaningful framework for us to utilize Lean methodology for process improvement, standard work, problem solving, and data-driven decision making. This allows us to be more efficient and put limited resources where they can best support our mission.

As an example, here’s a story about how improvements in our Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) interviewing processes help faculty decrease administrative burden.

Thanks for listening! I’ll continue to share more stories with you in the coming months.

Katherine L. Peck, MBA
Chief Operating Officer

Highlights: November MAC Meeting

The School of Medicine’s Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) met on Nov. 11, 2018, 4-5 p.m., in the Medical Education Building’s Learning Studio. Here are highlights from that meeting:

Opening Comments
David S. Wilkes, MD
Dr. Wilkes acknowledged the work that the chairs and center directors have done to increase diversity and build an environment of inclusiveness. The creation of diversity plans and appointment of diversity liaisons have made a difference, resulting in the School of Medicine being awarded the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. Only 35 schools in the health professions get this recognition, and this is the seventh year in a row that we have received it! Congratulations, and thank you for your contributions. 

The work of Dr. Jose Oberholzer, Director of the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center, was featured on the cover Nature Biomedical Engineering. Congratulations to him for this accomplishment. 

The department annual reviews (DARs) have been concluded and Dean Wilkes thanked the chairs and their teams for their participation. At the third year point of holding these reviews, he observed that there is a lot of positive momentum and chairs have embraced and moved forward on institutional initiatives that will distinguish UVA. In addition to diversity, mentioned above, there was impressive progressive in moving active learning to the goal of 80% active learning. Other common themes include greater collaboration among the departments and centers and more diversity in the research portfolio. Across the board, everyone is struggling with burnout, and in the clinical departments, a challenge is supporting high salaries for high RVU specialties while trying to provide salary increases for critical, but lower RVU, services. 

 The dean’s cabinet held its annual retreat after the DARs and identified four goals for the coming year: 

  • Create a work environment that enables excellence. 
  • Improve organizational structures and processes. 
  • Build external relationships and enhance development. 
  • Enhance the education experience. 

Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign
Elizabeth Shifflett
Ms. Shifflett, Pediatrics Department Administrator, is one of the executive sponsors of the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC). The goal is to have 400 SOM faculty and staff contribute this year at whatever level they can afford. She pointed out that a small contribution of even $2 a pay period can make a big impact. And most of the money contributed stays in our community. The red envelope campaign is open through December 15 and the online campaign continues through December 26. Go here to donate online.

BIMS PhD+ Dual Degree Partnership with McIntire School of Commerce
Amy Bouton, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs
Dr. Bouton gave an overview of the dual degree pilot program established in partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce. The goal of the program is to provide BIMS PhD students with knowledge, skills, training, and credentials in commercialization, entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in the biomedical sciences arena. Students will earn an MS in Commerce in addition to the PhD. While the exceptional scientific training that students acquire in our BIMS-affiliated PhD programs will always provide the cornerstone of their professional portfolios, students who elect to participate in the sequential PhD/MS in Commerce program will gain additional training and credentials that will set them apart from the hundreds of other recent PhD graduates who have aspirations to pursue careers in pharma, biotech, commercialization, policy, etc. Given that approximately 60% of biomedical PhD graduates will not go into academic research, this program will differentiate UVA by providing expanded career opportunities to our students. 

BIMS PhD students will apply to McIntire during year 4 or 5, when they are less than a year from graduation. Once admitted to the MS in Commerce program, a SOM committee will accept up to two candidates for the dual degree “fellowship.” They must complete their PhD by August of the year in which they apply, after which they will begin the 10-month MS program in Commerce. We are running a three-year pilot and then will evaluate the results and the sustainability of the program. 

Business Intelligence
Kappu Ramasubramanian
The Business Intelligence (BI) program supports the achievement of our strategic objectives by delivering information to the end users more dynamically, reducing bottlenecks, making data actionable, and enabling the use of trusted information to understand and analyze organizational performance against set goals, make better and faster decisions, gain new insights, and optimize business processes. 

BI supports the program vision by 

  • Building an integrated data warehouse that hosts data from multiple systems 
  • Enabling the users to go to a single place to get their metrics 
  • Providing self-service analytics 
  • Documenting and surfacing consistent data definitions 

The first phase of the BI program focuses on providing administrative dashboards that will help both SOM and UPG by surfacing metrics that are directly connected to the mission drivers. 

BI governance includes three groups: the Steering Committee, the Governance Leadership Group, and the Operations Group. 

The BI Steering Committee is charged with executive level decision making, developing guiding principles, setting priorities for projects, and approving data definitions, standards, policies, and timelines. The guiding principles are: 

  • Focus on mission value. 
  • Treat data as an organizational asset. 
  • BI governance will promote transparency, trust, and accountability. 
  • The data warehouse is treats as the “trusted source of truth.” 
  • Promote a data-driven organization. 

The BI Governance Leadership Group provides strategic and tactical direction. It develops standards, policies, and data definitions to recommend to the BI Steering Committee for approval. 

The BI Operations Group includes domain-specific data stewards, subject matter experts, and others. The group validates data and improves the data quality and processes. 

BI recently completed its first project — the Academic Funds Available report, which will allow clinical departments to see a consolidated accounting of all their academic funds, regardless of where they are held. BI has three projects in process: budget variance (clinical affairs), research efforts and salary coverage (research), and underrepresented in medicine (education and faculty affairs). Three projects are in the queue: clinical productivity, space and funding, and EPA metrics. 

Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine (BRIM)
Mitchell Rosner, MD, Chair of Internal Medicine
The BRIM initiative is funded through the NIH and is a multi-site grant that includes twelve departments of internal medicine, with Molly Carnes, PI, from the University of Wisconsin. The BRIM Initiative offers the opportunity to help faculty overcome the bias habit and align their judgments and behaviors with their explicit commitments to be fair and objective. 

Over a two-year period, all divisions in the department will be offered a three-hour interactive workshop with three modules: 

  • Implicit bias as a habit. 
  • Becoming bias literate. (If you can name it, you can tame it.) 
  • Evidence-based strategies to break the bias habit. 

Divisions are randomized to receiving training or not. Surveys assess divisional climate, attitude, and engagement and changes in bias over time. The BRIM Initiative draws on decades of research on behavioral change in approaching stereotype-based bias as a “habit of mind” that can be changed by increasing awareness, motivation, and self-efficacy to practice evidence-based strategies. In three years, the divisions will be unblinded and the remaining divisions will be trained. 

Dr. Rosner said that Medicine has trained twelve high-level faculty and staff facilitators through the BRIMS Initiative. In the next six months, they may be available to train other departments, and he asked that you contact him regarding their capacity to meet your training needs. 

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in the MEB Learning Studio.

What Is the PhD+ Dual-Degree Program?

Being in close proximity to the other University of Virginia schools has benefits, the most recent being our new partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce to create the “Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) PhD+ Dual Degree Program.” It will provide a platform in which BIMS doctoral students can pursue a sequential BIMS PhD followed by an MS in Commerce.

This is a three-year pilot program in which BIMS doctoral students will gain scientific knowledge, skills, training, and credentials to become leaders in academia, biomedical research, industry, healthcare/science policy, and education. In addition, the MS portion of the degree will allow them to gain expertise in commercialization, entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in the biomedical arena.

While the exceptional scientific training that students acquire while in our BIMS-affiliated PhD programs will always provide the cornerstone of their professional portfolios, students who elect to participate in the sequential PhD/MS in Commerce program will gain additional training and credentials that will set them apart from the hundreds of other recent PhD graduates who aspire to careers in pharma, biotech, commercialization, and policy. Given that approximately 60 percent of biomedical PhD graduates will not go into academic research, this program will differentiate UVA by providing expanded career opportunities to our students.

After earning a PhD in Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Experimental Pathology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, or Physiology, students will spend 10 months (August to June) completing coursework and a Global Immersion Experience for the MS at the world-class McIntire School of Commerce. They will focus on one of three tracks: Business Analytics, Finance, or Marketing and Management. There will also be a three-week international experience where students will join McIntire faculty members visiting international sites, examining different companies and types of businesses.

We’ll be enrolling students in 2019, 2020, and 2021, with support for up to two students a year. After this first cohort is completed, we will have data on the pilot’s success (how valuable was the training, how useful was it to get into desired positions early in their careers, etc.) and I hope that we will have sustained support to make this a full-fledged component of our graduate program.

I love that we can take advantage of the strengths of the University of Virginia to provide our students with additional training and credentials to facilitate their career development. This is the first of many potential cross-Grounds partnerships. Stay tuned for news of collaborations with the Data Sciences Institute and with the Curry School of Education.

Thank you to all who worked so hard to move this program from dream to reality.

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

Learning Communities Capitalize on Relationship-Based Learning

Deans of Student Affairs (l-r): Dr. John Densmore, Dr. Meg Keeley, Dr. Sean Reed, and Dr. Christine Peterson

Eight years ago, we instituted a new curriculum for the School of Medicine (SOM). With that, we also created learning communities, longitudinal-support, mentoring and curricular structures to help our students be successful. The four learning communities, called Colleges (Dunglison, Hunter, Pinn, Reed), each have their own Dean of Student Affairs (Drs. Meg Keeley, John Densmore, Christine Peterson, Sean Reed, respectively). All students are placed in one of the Colleges at matriculation. Each College is divided into groups of six, with each group assigned a physician coach and a non-physician co-mentor, such as a nurse, pharmacist, basic scientist, or chaplain. The small groups meet weekly in the two years for their clinical skills course. Coaches meet with students individually four times a year to monitor and foster their clinical and professional development.

Students find community within their class year, within their College, with those who share medical interests, and within their small groups. A Big Sibling program provides an opportunity for upper-class students to advise and encourage more junior students. And, to ensure this all goes according to plan, there is a feedback loop of communication from the frontline coaches to the deans.

School of Medicine Field Day

Dividing the students into Colleges (or, as the students see it, “teams”) stirred their natural competitive spirit and they’ve gone into full Harry Potter mode. We used to have a simple Field Day competition during orientation. Now, all year long, the Colleges vie for the gift from the Class of 2015 — the College Cup — which they can win for their College by earning points via intramurals or academic challenges. They have College T-shirts, lanyards, and the Class of 2018 even knitted Harry Potter scarves for their Deans as a Match Day gift.

(l-r) Dr. Meg Keeley, Dr. Sean Reed, Dr. Christine Peterson, and Dr. John Densmore.

What started as an advising structure has evolved into a framework for several functions. Success with the learning-communities framework has allowed us to do other things, like pairing all medical students with a patient whom each student follows through several years of medical school. This is being done via the Patient Student Partnership program, which we posted about here.

Dr. Meg Keeley with Dr. Ron Arky, receiving the Learning Committee Institute’s Ron Arky Award.

For her hard work and continued efforts in developing learning communities, not only at the School of Medicine but across the country, Meg Keeley, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (Dunglison), Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Fourth Year Program, recently received The Ron Arky Award from the Learning Communities Institute (LCI). This award was created in honor of Dr. Arky, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Francis Peabody Society at Harvard Medical School, and is given to luminaries in the field “for significant contributions to the development of learning communities in medical education.”

Meg says, “The learning-community movement has really taken off. We know this because the LCME [Liaison Committee on Medical Education] now asks about it on their surveys!” This award was not only a huge honor for her, but extra special as during Dr. Arky’s internship he worked with her late grandfather, a general practitioner, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Small world, is it not?

The LCI has a student council within the institute. I am incredibly proud to share that, for three years in a row, a UVA student was elected to be the national co-chair of that student council; first Eve Privman (MSTP18), then Meredith Johnson (SMD19), and now Chris Kaperak (SMD20). (Also, of note: Former UVA medical student Kendall Brooks (SMD15), now a surgeon, designed the LCI logo.)

Wearing their College’s colors: Dunglison, Hunter, Pinn, and Reed students at Field Day.

We are frequently contacted by other schools and asked to present at national meetings about the development of our learning communities. How have we created, supported, and sustained these learning communities? Our framework is particularly unique as our students rotate through their clerkship year as a College which has extended the model of relationship-based learning into clinical training. Our peers are impressed with our success with this aspect and it sets us apart as a national model.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Keeley for her award and in accepting my gratitude to all faculty and staff who make the School of Medicine a learning community.

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

Photos: Mini-Med Graduates the Mini-Class of 2018

On Lab Night, Mini-Medical School participants receive their laboratory tour “Match Day” letters and await the moment where they find out if they have matched to their preferred laboratory for a tour.

I am continually in awe of the dedication and commitment of our faculty. I see it every day, across all mission areas, but the most recent example is the completion of another successful year of our Mini Medical School. This is an annual, free community program held for seven consecutive Wednesdays in September and October. Led by Program Director Dr. Sean Reed, with the help of Cathy Bowers, Colleen Kiernan, Daisy Hutcherson, and Elizabeth Graham, it’s taught by volunteer School of Medicine faculty and over 60 medical school students.

Mini-Med allows us to raise health literacy within our community. As Sean says, we can do some of this at the bedside but we can further our reach by engaging the population outside of the formal confines of a healthcare system.

A medical student volunteer demonstrates the cranial nerve exam on a willing Mini-Medical School participant.

Our work empowers participants in the program to be effective partners in receiving healthcare services. We do this by teaching them about the medical interview process and clinical reasoning — which gives them better insights and context into the healthcare process — but we also teach them real-life skills, like how to check blood pressure, assess the signs and symptoms of stroke, know the importance of nutrition, and how to understand the value of the healthcare they are receiving. It helps community members as individuals and has a halo effect of helping those around them at home, work, school, or church. We’re a public resource and, as such, Mini-Med is an opportunity to bring information to the public directly about important topics like new screening measures, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) education, or new-to-market vaccines.

Mini-Med dedicates an entire evening to biomedical research. The classes are divided into small groups (done via a mock Match Day process, which is fun) and they each visit one of our labs. Here they learn about the connection between basic science and clinical research, and the medicine they ultimately may receive as a patient. For many of our participants, this is their first exposure to the continuum of how medicine is developed and delivered.

Naturally, no proper schooling would be complete without field trips. Participants can come early on some evenings to learn about our services through tours of facilities such as the Interventional Radiology suite, the Simulation Center and the rare books library collection. Just like our own medical students, participants are exposed to active learning techniques and small-group discussions, and are taught physical exam skills in the Clinical Skills Center.

This is a long-winded way of saying thank you. Thank you to our faculty. Thank you to our staff. Thank you to our students who recently helped graduate the MMS18 (Mini-Med School Class of 2018). The feedback we receive on this program is staggeringly positive. Without your efforts, this program would not be possible.

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

During Pediatric Oncology Night at the UVA Children’s Hospital Battle Building, Mini-Medical School participants get a chance to practice extracting bone marrow from chicken bones. Participants also practiced pediatric lumbar punctures on models, and listened to presentations on pediatric cancer research.

Medical student volunteer Haley Podeschi, SMD19, demonstrates the cranial nerve exam on a Mini-Medical School participant, as others watch.

Medical student volunteer Franck Azobou-Tonleu, SMD19, teaches the bones of the skull to a participant group in the Learning Studio during Anatomy Night.

Medical student volunteer Daniel Akyeampong, SMD21, teaches the cranial nerve exam to Mini-Medical School participants during Anatomy Night.

A Mini-Medical School participant get an opportunity to handle a human brain during Lab Night in the Lukens Laboratory. This tour — one of 12 research tours provided —was given by John Lukens, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, whose research seeks to explore how the interaction between the immune and nervous systems will lead to improved understanding of complex neurological disorders in humans and will help to identify novel and promising therapeutic targets to treat Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), CNS injury, and autism.

On night one, medical student volunteers (in orange Tshirts) share their medical school experiences and get to know the participants while waiting for class to begin. Part of this evening involves a blood pressure skill training session conducted by the Medical Student Volunteers in small participants groups.

Participants celebrate the “Match Day” experience on Lab Night.

Dr. Sean Reed engages in an ethics discussion with Mini-Medical School participants and a medical student volunteer.

Part of the curriculum for this night, “Hepatitis C: A Case Study,” involved discussions abound the ethics of rationing healthcare. Here, UVA medical student volunteers (in orange T-shirts) facilitate small group discussions with Mini-Medical School participants at tables in the Claude Moore Medical Education Building Learning Studio.

Share Your Story of Community Engagement

The School of Medicine faculty have always been engaged with our community in meaningful ways. Through the Engaged UVA website, a product of the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Research, faculty can share information about their community outreach work. The website is a repository of stories of research and teaching in partnership with communities in pursuit of the public good.

It is important to note that, in this context, “community” is used broadly and can mean local to Charlottesville or refer to the other side of the world. The site has a fantastic mapping function, “Where We Work,” that is a powerful reminder of the University’s global reach. I’m eager to see how the maps fill out as faculty add their work to the site.

The criteria for including projects on the website are:

  • a UVA faculty member must be involved
  • a community partner must be involved
  • the initiative or project must run at least two semesters

Many School of Medicine faculty projects meet these criteria. I would love for the SOM to be well-represented in this showcase. Scrolling through the site today, I see Dr. Becca Dillingham and the Center for Global Health; Dr. David Burt and the UVA-Guatemala Initiative; Ruth Gaare Bernheim and the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life; and Maurice Apprey and the “Impact of Civil Engagement.”

Visit to learn more. If your work meets the above guidelines, please reach out to Mary Allen at She will assist in gathering the requisite information.

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

Academy of Distinguished Educators Is Evolving

Dr. Neeral Shah will serve as the leader of the academy’s transition.

The Academy of Distinguished Educators (ADE) soon will be known by a new (yet-to-be decided) name and will serve educators and trainees by providing an environment for collaboration in educational innovations and a program of educator professional development with a goal of furthering excellence in biomedical education. In addition to the name change, the program itself is evolving.

To provide some historical perspective, the UVA School of Medicine (SOM) ADE was founded in 2003 at a time when medical education and medical educators suffered from a lack of recognition and support in the School. The original academy, among the first five established in US medical schools, served as a powerful vehicle for recognition of excellence and innovation in the education mission of the SOM. Beginning with the process of curriculum reform in 2008, faculty development in medical education made huge strides. With the hiring of Dr. Casey White as Associate Dean for Medical Education Research and Instruction, new avenues for educator development were established. These changes occurred in parallel with the work of the ADE which continued its practice of recognizing outstanding teachers and celebrating the work of teaching with ADE membership and the annual Medical Education week.

Now, 15 years later, the ADE has an opportunity to join more closely with the work of the Office of Educational Affairs (OEA). As with educator academies across the country, the SOM investment in the academy can be leveraged to serve and support the core mission of trainee education.

What’s New, What’s Different?
Membership in the new program will be inclusive and open to all SOM educators. Membership will require a commitment to participation in the organization’s learning opportunities and a commitment of service to the group and the SOM. Faculty will have the opportunity to receive recognition as “distinguished members” for significant and sustained accomplishments and contributions in medical education.

Aside from membership, here are some other areas of for participation:

Medical Education Research: The academy will continue to support research and innovation in medical, biomedical science, and public health education by supporting faculty-driven projects. These projects will be centered on specific needs of the SOM training programs and applications will be accepted in response to an annual Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP will focus on targeted areas in the educational programs of the SOM and applicants will be encouraged to work in teams.

Medical Education Week: Support and format of this successful program will not alter.

Educator Training: The educator professional development offered by the OEA will serve as the foundational training for all educators enrolled in the program. Offerings of the Center for Teaching Excellence will supplement SOM OEA educational offerings. New programs will be developed based on the recommendations of a new executive board.

Recognition/Celebration Events: There will be an annual event for recognition of new distinguished members, celebration of the accomplishments of the members, and the traditional invited lecture by a recognized educator.

Leadership:An executive board of educators from the School of Medicine will work with leaders from the Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development (OFAFD) on the transition from the ADE to the new educators’ program.

The new program is supported by the Mary M. and Charles H. Henderson MD Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which provides financial resources for us to recruit, retain, and support exceptional teaching faculty and to advance the curricular priorities of the School of Medicine.

I would like to thank Neeral Shah, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, who will serve as the leader of this transition, as of November 1. Special thanks to the outgoing chairs of the ADE steering committee, Christine Peterson, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Timothy Bender, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. Additionally, thank you to the ADE Task Force members for providing valuable recommendations, and to the many faculty who participated in focus groups for their insights regarding the transition.

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

Wilkes: School of Medicine Year in Review

Dean David Wilkes

Dear Colleagues: Cruising through the mountains on my bicycle is a great way to clear my head, slow my thinking, and contemplate how much there is to appreciate — such as the beauty of the forest and the valleys, the serenity of being in nature, and the joy that comes from doing what I am passionate about.

Something else that I’m passionate about is serving you in my role of dean. I am so proud of what our faculty and staff do each day to ensure that our patients and our learners have the best experience possible. As I begin my fourth year as dean, I am grateful for what we have accomplished together. Below are some of the highlights that come to my mind. Please remember these are some of the highlights, and is not all inclusive of the many great things that have occurred. So, I will welcome you to comment and let me know what you and your colleagues have done that’s missing from the list!

Match Day 2018

We had a wildly successful Match Day, with 99% of our students matching. Students are going to Yale, Emory, Penn, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Johns Hopkins, Mass General, and other high-quality institutions. The most popular programs were internal medicine, emergency medicine, ob/gyn, pediatrics, and anesthesiology.

Thanks to the support of our alumni and donors, we are able to provide scholarships that allow our students to graduate with an average debt level that is lower than the national average. And thanks to sound fiscal stewardship, the School is entering its fourthyear of a tuition freeze. Our goal is no tuition increase through 2021.

The McIntire School of Commerce is collaborating with us on a leadership track in the medical school curriculum and has partnered with us to develop a leadership program for graduate students and faculty. These programs will differentiate us from other medical schools while helping our students and faculty learn the skills and qualities needed to flourish as leaders in the field of healthcare.

The education partnership with Inova reached another milestone when all three of the state and national oversight agencies granted formal approval to establish the UVA School of Medicine Inova Campus in Fairfax. The entering class of 2019 will be the first to have the option to complete their third and fourth years at the Inova Campus.

Our medical school class continues to be among the most diverse in the nation. For the sixth year in a row, the SOM received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine. And again, our entering class ranks in the 96th percentile academically of all medical students in the United States.

Since the inception of the graduate programs, the School of Medicine has been training the majority of PhD and Masters students in the biomedical sciences across grounds. However, this year is the first that these PhD and Masters degrees were conferred by the School of Medicine! Twenty students received their PhD, eight received their MS-Clinical Research, and 23 received their MPH.

(l-r) Dr. Gary Owens and MD/PhD student Richard Baylis

I was thrilled that our own Richard Baylis, an MD-PhD student, was selected to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, in late June. He joined 600 young, international scientists who were able to talk with 43 Nobel Laureates and present current research for advice and feedback. He works in Gary Owens’ lab in the Cardiovascular Research Center investigating the influence of inflammation on key cell types thought to regulate the stability of high-risk atherosclerotic lesions.

The Hartwell Foundation again designated the University of Virginia as one of the Top Ten Centers of Biomedical Research. This allows us to nominate researchers for a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award for early-stage, cutting-edge biomedical research with the potential to benefit children. Sanchita Bhatnagar, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, was selected by the foundation as a Hartwell Investigator for 2018-2021.

This year’s U.S. News & World Reportrankings brought us good news, too. On the “2019 Best Medical Schools” list, the School of Medicine moved up one spot to #26 in Research. The rankings reflect the growing strength of our research funding as well as the continued impact of our innovative curriculum. In Primary Care, we went from #24 to #21, making us the top-ranked academic medical center in Virginia for Primary Care based on factors such as assessments by peers and residency directors and the percentage of graduates entering primary care fields.

Our research portfolio grew from $202 million in FY17 to $223 million in FY18! This increase represents hard work by all our faculty, including new recruits and strategic hires who both transferred and brought in new grants. I note that we have a record number of research proposals that include federal agencies and sources other than the NIH, and that concerted efforts are being made to submit collaborative and center proposals in addition to our historically strong individual proposals. I anticipate these will pay off in the near future.

The home of the new Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Institute, our partnership with Inova in northern Virginia, is in its final design phase. We expect to be able to occupy it in the early months of 2020. The mission of the research partnership is to improve the health and quality of life through the application of genomics and associated molecular science. To do this, we will be focusing on the thematic areas of genetics and genomics; structural and systems biology; developmental biology; computational biology, computational engineering and bioinformatics; and biomedically directed engineering.

There are so many accolades that I can’t list all of the recognition our hospital, physicians, and specialty programs received this past year! U.S. News & World Reportdesignated UVA as the #1 Hospital in Virginia for the third year in a row, and identified five specialties in the Top 50, four High-Performing Specialties, and eight High-Performing Common Adult Procedures and Conditions. also named the Medical Center one the 60 “Top Hospitals for Diversity.”

We were recognized with Comprehensive Stroke Center status, received Comprehensive Care Designation for the Pulmonary Hypertension Center, and 193 faculty members — almost 25% of our physicians — are on the Best Doctors in America list! Becker’s Hospital Review recognized UVA on many of its “100 Great Programs” list, including Oncology, Heart, Orthopedics, Neurosurgery and Spine, and Great Hospitals in America.

Seeing all of this recognition summarized — and remember, this is not a comprehensive list — really underscores that the work you are doing is being celebrated nationally for its excellence and quality. It’s exhilarating to be part of an organization that is doing such outstanding work and knowing that our teams are consistently recognized in the national arena. I’m proud of every individual who contributes!

Going forward
The members of my cabinet see their primary role as serving you. To that end, we work to create a work environment that enables excellence, improves organizational structures and processes, enhances the educational experience, and builds external relationships and strengthens development. We strive to ensure a working and learning setting where all are included, welcomed, and provided the opportunity to be their best.

The dean’s office will continue to put effort into the following priorities:

  • Operationalize the UVA Inova Genomics Institute and 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.

Thank you for pausing and reflecting with me on what we accomplished together during this past year. I also want to recognize that many of these accomplishments were made possible by the strong partnership and support from the Medical Center. I am honored to work for you — a group of capable, imaginative, inspiring, and passionate individuals who make up our faculty, staff, and students. Given your talents and drive, I know that the future of the University of Virginia School of Medicine is incredibly bright.

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

Welcome to UVA, Class of 2022!

On Friday, Aug. 10, the School of Medicine welcomed the 156 students of the Class of 2022 to the University of Virginia at the 2018 White Coat Ceremony and Convocation, endowed by the Class of 1965, held in Old Cabell Hall. This is an annual event presented by the UVA Medical Alumni Association (MAA) and Medical School Foundation (MSF).

Barry Collins, Executive Director of the UVA MAA and MSF and Associate Dean for Medical Alumni Affairs, welcomed the new students, families, and attendees. Student speaker Brielle Gerry, SMD19, President, School of Medicine Mulholland Society, taught the new students about the “anatomy of the white coat.” School of Medicine Dean David Wilkes, MD, James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science, stressed that students should not forget the patient when they are learning and — when caring for patients — students should remember to “see and be seen,” “listen,” and “touch.”

As Randolph Canterbury, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Education, read out the 156 student names, college deans Meg Keeley, MD, (Dunglison); John Densmore, MD, PhD, (Hunter); Christine Peterson, MD, (Pinn); Sean Reed, MD, (Reed), and Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program Dean Kedes, MD, PhD, assisted the students into their crisp, white coats.

Welcome to the University of Virginia, Class of 2022!