Medical Education Week Is Upon Us!

Medical Education Week in the UVA School of Medicine is a wonderful tradition. We have a full week of highlighting the scholarship of our faculty, house staff, and students in the areas of education research and innovation. Another highlight is hearing from the annual Brodie Scholar. It is through programs such as this that we can continue to advance our educational programs, advance the field, and remain on the leading edge.

Here’s the week’s schedule of events. Hope to see you there!

Medical Education Week
Feb. 25 – March 1

Monday, Feb. 25

Medical Education Research Presentations (click here to register)
noon – 1 p.m.
G1/G2 Pinn Hall Conference Center
Lunch will be available. Presentation details:

  • Lower Tolerance for Ambiguity Predicts Medical Students with Persistent Burnout, by Rachel H. Kon (presenter), Justine E. Owens, Tabor Flickinger, Margaret L. Plews-Ogan, and John Schorling
  • Learner Handoffs to Mitigate the “Educational Groundhog Day” Effect of Frequently Changing Inpatient Attending Physicians on Clinical Students: A Survey of North American Pediatric Educational Leaders, by Jennifer Fuchs, Marta King, Erin Pete Devon, Danielle Guffey, Meg Keeley (presenter), Mary Rocha

Wednesday, Feb. 27

The Brodie Medical Education Lecture / Medical Grand Rounds / Medical Center Hour 
(click here for additional details)
noon – 1 p.m.
Pinn Hall Conference Center Auditorium

  • Learning from the Suffering of Patients: The Empirical Challenge of 21st Century Medicine
  • Presented by Steven A. Wartman,MD, PhD, MACP, President and CEO Emeritus, Association of Academic Health Centers, Washington DC
  • Caring for patients in the era of unlimited knowledge and artificial intelligence requires new skills and a renewed capacity for compassion.  This creates new challenges for medical education.

Medical Education Week Poster Session and Reception
5- 7p.m.
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library (2nd floor reception space)

  • 5-6 p.m. | Poster presentations(presenters will be available at their posters to answer questions and discuss their research ideas)
  • 6 p.m.| Remarks by Dean David Wilkes and Dr. Steven Wartman (Brodie Awardee)

Thursday, Feb. 28

Innovations in Medical Education Presentations (click here to register)
noon – 1 p.m.
G1/G2 Pinn Hall Conference Center
Lunch will be available. Presentation details:

  • An Evidence-Based, Fellow-Driven Bundle to Improve Professional Satisfaction & Wellness, presented by Sean Callahan, Kyle Enfield, Cheryl Etelvari, Jeff Sturek, Ryan Richard (presenter), Sarah Kilbourne, and Eric Davis
  • Teaching Child Development in Medical School: Child Development Panel, presented by Rebecca J. Scharf (presenter)Mary Kate Worden, Valentina J. Intagliata, and Laurie Archbald-Pannone
  • Infographics: A Novel Tool in Medical Education, presented by Joseph Mort, Joanna Odenthal (presenters), and Neeral L. Shah
  • A competition-based multimodal approach to improving routine laboratory utilization among residents, presented by Stephen Clark, Samir Panvelker, Garret Rhodes, George Hoke, and Andrew Parsons (presenter)

If you have questions about the week’s events, please contact Ashley Ayers, Manager for Faculty Development Programs, at 924.8497 or by emailing her at

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

Photos: BIMS Students Don Lab Coats for the First Time

The inaugural UVA Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) Lab Coat Ceremony was held on Feb. 8, 2019, in Sandridge Auditorium in McKim Hall. The event was attended by 32 first-year students moving to full-time bench research and the next phase of their graduate career. Seven Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) students who just completed their Step 1 exams, and will be transitioning to the lab, were also honored but unable to attend.

Speakers included Associate Dean of Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs Amy Bouton, PhD; Executive Director of the UVA Medical Alumni Association Barry Collins; Senior Associate Dean for Education Randolph Canterbury, MD; and Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology David Kashatus, PhD. During the Presentation of Coats, each student received a personally embroidered lab coat as a gift from the UVA Medical Alumni Association.

To highlight the role of mentors in the BIMS program, faculty mentors coated their students and later joined students, along with their family and other guests, at the reception following the ceremony.

Below are photos from the event. Congrats to our BIMS students!


Next Capital Campaign Is Off to a Great Start

Researchers, educators, clinicians, and students all benefit from philanthropic support.

At the October General Faculty Meeting, Karen Rendleman, Senior Associate Vice President for Health System Development and Executive Director of the UVA Health Foundation,shared that the next capital campaign, Honor the Future: The Campaign for the University of Virginia, is off to a great start. This campaign will officially launch in October 2019, but has been tallying gifts since the end of the last campaign four years ago. The overarching goal is to raise $5 billion by 2025, which will allow the University to bolster strategic objectives in service of the greater good.

The Health System’s portion of Honor the Future is called The Campaign for Health and has a $1 billion goal to support initiatives in patient care, research, and medical and nursing education across the Health System. While we’re still in the silent phase of the campaign, it’s impressive to know that $337 million in gifts, pledges, and philanthropic grants have come to the School of Medicine, Medical Center, and School of Nursing. This includes $72M in future support, which are bequest intentions or other planned gifts that will be realized in the future.

Also included in the new gifts are $114M in private philanthropic grants, which are investigator-initiated and are counted in the campaign totals as is standard industry practice.

What does this mean for our mission? Philanthropic support seeds novel projects, supports clinical trials, and helps advance research at all stages. We are able to attract and retain the best faculty and researchers through professorships and other endowments. Our students benefit from lower debt through scholarship support. And our patients thrive from initiatives that enhance the patient experience. The gifts and pledges of future support touch areas such as Cancer ($41M), Children’s Hospital ($19M), or Neurosciences/Neurology (nearly $15M), and extend across the entire Health System. Our benefactors give both outright expendable gifts and endowed gifts. More than $60M in endowed gifts have come in so far. These endowments support not only professorships, scholarships and fellowships, but also groundbreaking research.

It is important to remember that most of the dollars that come in via philanthropy are restricted and designated for a particular use. Donors give for a specific reason or to a particular cause. We appreciate any amount, and in any way, we receive support. As part of the campaign planning effort, we are working closely with Karen and her team on defining our School of Medicine priorities and goals around both restricted and unrestricted funds.

Who Gives? And Why?
To date, 30,051 donors have supported the School of Medicine and the Medical Center. Their particular reasons for giving are as singular as the individuals themselves, but the common theme is you.

Grateful patients give back in honor of the exemplary care they received at UVA; alumni give back to support an institution that prepared them for their careers; and friends, community members, and other University alumni see the exciting work we’re doing and want to be a part of it. All of our donors see a need and want to help. They are inspired by the skill, dedication, and compassion of our faculty and staff across the entire Health System. Here’s a breakdown of who has given so far:

  • 8,028 University alumni ($51.9M)
  • 112 family foundations ($9.6M)
  • 70 estates ($29.8M)
  • 19,519 friends ($52.9M)
  • 2,322 parents ($10.2M)
  • 2,534 corporations, foundations, and other organizations ($147.3M)

That’s a lot of numbers. Here are a couple of examples that illustrate philanthropy’s impact.

  • School of Medicine alumnus Allen Hogge and his wife, Joan, took advantage of the University’s Bicentennial Scholarship matching program to endow a scholarship. The Hogges both benefitted from scholarship support when they were in college and wanted to help the University recruit the best students. This type of private support is critical to reducing our students’ debt.
  • Family foundations, like the Ivy Foundation and the Manning Family Foundation, accelerate research discovery across the Health System. These two foundations alone provide more than $750,000 in annual support for research projects.

Thank you to our faculty and staff who make this important work possible. These gifts reflect your exceptional efforts and your partnership with our Development team. Special thanks to Karen and her team for helping us fund our missions.

If you have questions about philanthropy, or how you can help, please contact Anne Watkins, Assistant Vice President & Chief Development Officer, School of Medicine.

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

Family Means More Than Blood

MAA/MSF hosts a reception for Latinx medical students and housestaff.

Over the holiday break I was fortunate to be able to spend time with family. That got me to thinking not just about our immediate School of Medicine family but our extended family in the Medical Alumni Association (MAA) and the Medical School Foundation (MSF).

One of the greatest gifts our alumni can offer students is to connect students with graduates and trainees. When we talk to alumni, “mentoring students” is always at the top of their list for ways they want to stay engaged and support the School of Medicine. Likewise, students report mentoring as one the greatest services the MAA/MSF provides.

At the beginning of the school year, the MAA/MSF reached out to leaders of student groups who are considered underrepresented in medicine (URM), such as the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), and qMD (the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allies medical student organization). The main theme from these conversations was a desire for more mentorship. The student groups wanted access to mentors who understand what they are going through, not just as medical students, but as URM students. The MAA reached out to housestaff for volunteers to serve as mentors.

The solution here is beautiful. It’s not complicated or expensive or time consuming and yet it is proving exceptionally worthwhile. From these conversations, the MAA/MSF connected our medical students with residents for a number of events, including a meetup on the Corner for coffee and a student networking event where Hispanic and Latinx staff, faculty, and local alumni could gather on the MAA’s back patio. From there, it snowballed. Out of that gathering, two more events were planned: Dr. Elisa Trowbridge, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, brought together students at her house to discuss items related to OB/GYN; and one of our Latino residents held a dinner right after Thanksgiving to share his experiences with students.

Jonathan Pomeraniec, MD/MBA ’16 (left), a current PGY3 neurosurgery resident, hosts a charla (Spanish for “chat”) with five LMSA students. These “charlas” with faculty/residents are a great way to find Hispanic and Latinx mentors.

Thank you to our alumni association for fostering these connections. The way they grow organically is amazing. Hillary Barry Cocke, Associate Director of Constituent Relations at the MAA/MSF, says that she cannot recall a time when an alumnus or alumna was asked to help a student and declined to do so. Our alumni are eager to make the path easier — even if only a little — for our students. This caring manifests in opportunities like the Host Program, where students are connected with alumni while traveling the country interviewing for residency positions, and with MedConnect panel programs focusing on specific topics (e.g., “women in medicine,” “the business of medicine”).

MAA/MSF’s MedConnect: The Business of Medicine for UVA School of Medicine students and housestaff. The panel discussed the ins and outs of private practice. Medical alumni who shared their experiences with students include (l-r) Andy Macfarlan, MD, Res ’83; ; Sandhya Chhabra, MD, Res ’01, Fel ’05, MBA ’17; Paige Powers, MD ’96; and Rob Michel, MD ’87.

MAA/MSF also works with the Graduate Biosciences Society (GBS). In February, the MAA/MSF is co-sponsoring their first lab coat ceremony — not unlike what they we do for medical students every August — when first-year Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) students will receive white lab coats from their mentors. In April, the MAA/MSF will host the first BIMS alumni reunion. Alumni from across the graduate biosciences program are invited, providing an opportunity for them to see the research enterprise at the SOM, tour new lab spaces, and hear from current department chairs. This event will kick off with a networking session where students can meet with alumni to learn about the paths our PhD alumni took after they left Grounds.

2018 Graduate Biosciences Society (GBS) career panel.

This is just one way that alumni positively affect our students. Throughout the year there will be panels, “speed networking” meetings, focused weekends, and mixers, all opportunities for students and alumni to chat over a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza. These are high-impact experiences where our students gain real insight and knowledge from alumni and residents.

Thank you to all of our faculty who already support our students. Family means more than just blood relatives — it includes our community and we at the School of Medicine consider all of our students and alumni family. By volunteering your time and sharing your experiences, you bring us closer together.

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

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.