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 https://news.med.virginia.edu/blog/deans-anniversary-letter/

Preparing Students Better Through Direct Observation

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

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

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

Joshua Eby, MD
Assistant Professor Professor of Medicine

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

Sarah Dillon
School of Medicine, Class of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Are Not Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THRIV Hits Milestone with Inaugural Class of Scholars

In January 2018, the University of Virginia will be applying for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), which will allow us to join a national network of 60+ medical research institutions working together to improve the translational research process to get more treatments to more patients more quickly. The network collaborates locally and regionally to catalyze innovation in training, research tools, and processes. (We wrote about it last February, which you can read here.)

Before we apply for the CTSA, we need to demonstrate that we already have a thriving clinical/translational research program across Grounds that facilitates activity across the Commonwealth. As such, we are developing the Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (THRIV), a pan-University effort. One of THRIV’s major milestones is to create a mentored career-development award, a program that will train small groups of junior faculty seeking a clinical and translational research career. The inaugural class — which includes faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Engineering and Applied Sciences — was announced in May and met for the first time just a few weeks ago. The awardees, projects, and mentors include:

  • Jessica Keim-Malpass, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Department of Acute and Specialty Care, School of Nursing
    Research Proposal: A pragmatic clinical trial evaluating impact of continuous predictive monitoring on nurse-driven outcomes in a dynamic intensive care setting (Primary mentor: J. Randall Moorman, MD)

 

  • Kyle J. Lampe, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Research Proposal: Bioengineered Hydrogels to Facilitate 3D Neural Stem Cell Survival and Growth in a Stroke Environment (Primary mentor: Bradford B. Worrall, MD, MSc)

 

  • Kathleen McManus, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, School of Medicine
    Research Proposal:  Affordable Care Act’s effects on persons living with HIV (PLWH) in Virginia (Primary mentor: Rebecca Dillingham, MD, MPH)

 

  • Brynne Sullivan, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine
    Research Proposal: Pulse Oximetry Cardiorespiratory Scores to Predict Adverse Events and Outcomes in Premature Infants (Primary mentor: J. Randall Moorman, MD)

 

  • Dustin Walters, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine
    Research Proposal: The Role of CD8+ T Cell Mediated Tolerance in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (Primary mentor: Sasha Krupnick, MD)

Every week, the scholars will come to the THRIV offices to participate in a curriculum which includes experiential learning, research methods instruction, mentored translational experiences, training in data sciences, as well as personal/professional development and off-Grounds site visits. The program started July 1 and the awardees will receive funding from the School of Medicine Dean’s Office for two years.

Thank you to the mentors for participating in the growth and development of colleagues and to the department chairs for providing protected time for the scholars to pursue these research projects and goals.

Please join me in congratulating the inaugural THRIV scholars class!

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

(l-r) Dustin Walters, MD; Jessica Keim-Malpass, PhD, RN; Karen Johnston, MD; Kathleen McManus, MD, MS; Brynne Sullivan, MD; Kyle J. Lampe, PhD; and Sandra Burks, RN.

Update: Diversity Action Plans

As we approach the University’s 200th anniversary, it is good to remind ourselves of our history, so we can sometimes use it as a point of reference from which to move away. African-American undergraduate students were not allowed into our College of Arts and Sciences until the 1950s, and women were barred until the 1970s. Exclusion was common for three-quarters of this institution’s history. We are working continuously and actively to address this history so we may offer everyone — faculty, staff, and students — equal opportunity to succeed.

Last fall, during the Department Annual Reviews (DAR), each department was asked to think about how to improve diversity and inclusion for their areas. While the School of Medicine has had a diversity plan for several years, we wanted specific actions from the departments. In early 2017, we received thoughtful plans from every department. Upon reviewing these plans, Greg Townsend, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity and Medical Education, and I discovered common ideas and themes. These themes allowed Greg and me to develop guidelines for improving the plans and developing short-term and long-term goals.

These plans and goals provide a reference to one- and three-year strategic actions that departments will undertake. This way, we will all know the expectations for the coming year and by the end of 2020. This transparency provides an opportunity to collaborate, to share creative solutions, and to let our School’s greatest resource — our faculty and staff — be the source of the best ideas.

While we were working on diversity and inclusion action plans at the department level, the Provost’s office asked for a diversity plan from each of UVA’s schools. The School of Medicine’s plan is still under review, though we expect to receive feedback by the end of the summer. I will share it as soon as it is available.

Why be diverse?
Diversity is critical to becoming the kind of institution we think we should be — excellent, innovative, creative. Googling “why diversity matters” will give you abundant reasons why we should do this. Study upon study has been performed, and the data have been scrutinized and examined. In academic medicine, the data confirm that greater diversity is better for science, education, and patients.

Let us assume that you do not have time in your schedule to read the 3.8 billion Google returns for the search “why diversity matters” and you want a local example. Why does it matter for us? Here is an interesting chart showing the association between the school’s percentage of underrepresented in medicine students and the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores.

(Click to enlarge.)

You can see the increased scores as we started making a conscious effort to increase student diversity. While it does not show causation, the correlation is powerful. What the scores do demonstrate is that our focus on diversity has not diminished the academic excellence of our student body.

Stayed tuned for more updates. We will be updating the Diversity website with best practices and will be sharing plans and guidelines in the coming months. Thank you to all of our faculty and staff who have put time and effort into these plans. Your efforts are noticed and appreciated.

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

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

Assessing Students Today to Be Ready for Tomorrow

How can we ensure our medical students are prepared properly for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and our graduate students are ready to earn their PhDs and become leaders in biomedical research?

The answer: novel ways of assessment.

UME: Predicting the Future
The School of Medicine has had an integrated curriculum for years. This means that our students no longer study subjects in isolation. Learning is organ system-based, and this is how our students progress through the curriculum. Within each system, we assess performance in multiple ways. The weekend formative and summative assessments are main contributors to a student’s grade.

For the past two years, we have been reviewing class performance and determining how it correlates with board scores. James Martindale, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Test Development, oversees all SOM testing and is focusing on how overall system grades and weekend formative and summative assessment results relate to Step 1 performance (the application of important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine). He has found strong correlations in the data and is building a model that can determine how much of the variation in assessment performance can be predictive. While we are not teaching to the test, we do need to know if we are preparing our students for their future careers in medicine — including licensure. Later, we will review Step 2 (clinical knowledge and clinical skills) and Step 3 (taken after medical school graduation) data, to see if similar models can be built.

The impetus for this work is the need to identify the few students who are predicted to perform poorly on Step 1 while they still have time to remediate and enhance their study skills. This will be one additional tool to support our students.

BIMS: Say it out loud!
Amy Bouton, PhD
, Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs, and her colleagues who teach the first-year core course for PhD candidates in the Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) Graduate Program want our graduate students to speak up. In fact, it’s an expectation.

Every first-year student in the BIMS Graduate Program takes an oral examination as the culminating assessment tool for the core course. This exam marks the beginning of their transition from a focus on grades and formal classes to a focus on self-initiated study, research, and professional development.

The examiners ask questions that cover basic information to ascertain that students understand the outline approaches and the purposes and goals of assigned papers. Students must interpret the results to demonstrate that they can make connections between the paper and topics in the course that apply to research, and show that they can make higher order reasoning and intellectual jumps.

We have found this method to be an excellent way to assess our graduate students. It allows us to determine whether they have acquired the basic skills emphasized in the core course and evaluates their ability to problem solve. It gives students an experience similar to what they will face later in their training when they must pass their advancement to PhD candidacy exam. A student who performs poorly on the oral exam is encouraged to work with the mentor to develop a plan for addressing the identified deficiencies.

A tremendous amount of preparation goes into administering these exams, which take place over a period of between 1-2 days and involve nearly 30 faculty members. These assessments provide an important means for early intervention for those students who have not yet developed the skills and knowledge needed to become a strong researcher and scientist.

We realize that English is not the primary language for some of our students. Our data indicate that this has not been a barrier to success, yet we continuously are monitoring for any outlying performance indicators. Since we have been administering this oral exam for only two years, it is too early to determine outcomes with respect to the impact on students’ advancement to candidacy exams.

Thank You, Faculty!
When I see the dedication of our faculty in ensuring we are continuously improving ways in assessing our students — driven by mission and goals — I am in awe. Thank you to Jim, Amy, and all the faculty whose tireless effort goes into student assessment.

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

Med Students Offer Unity, Community

In response to recent events in the community, our students in the UVA chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) organized “A Response of Unity to a Demonstration of Intolerance” in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library — spearheaded by Marta Getachew, a 1st-year medical student.

Student volunteers held whiteboards that said, “Charlottesville is a place for _____, not hate.” Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to fill in blank space with what the Charlottesville and UVA community means to them.

In a letter to the School of Medicine, Jewel Llamas, 4th-year medical student and the new president of UVA’s chapter of SNMA, wrote, “In such a time of discord and divergence among so many groups in our nation, we hope to bring peace of mind to the people who may need it by showing that the ideologies of the people involved in the Lee Park demonstration are believed by a minority of people within our community, not the majority.”

Thank you to our students for creating such memorable moments and an atmosphere of unity, respect, and understanding. I could not be prouder of them. It was a well-received event supported by leadership, staff, and faculty from across the Health System. Hundreds of photos were taken over three days. Below is a sampling of the wonderful messages shared and wonderful people who participated.

R.J. Canterbury, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Education

(Click photos to enlarge.)

151 New Doctors Graduate

This time of year is always bittersweet. I am proud of our graduates and know they are stepping into a bright future but, after being with us for four years, I will miss them. On May 20, we graduated the 151 members of the Class of 2017. This class will be doing residencies in 31 states — Virginia being one of those states, as UVA has matched with 21 members of SMD17. That so many have decided to stay speaks highly of the quality of their educational experience, and the character of those who delivered it.

Thank you to our faculty who, for the past four years, have helped these students learn, grow, and succeed in their studies. It is only with your hard work, dedication, and commitment to the education of these future physicians that these 151 students were able to walk the Lawn.

While I can type “thank you” a million times, I believe the smiles and excitement on our students’ faces in the video and photos below are a much better way of showing appreciation.

R.J. Canterbury, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Education