Highlights: March MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean
David S. Wilkes, MD

  • Dean Wilkes highlighted three individuals who received distinguished recognition:
    • B. Cameron Webb, MD, JD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Minority Quality Forum as one of the “40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health.”
    • Pamela Sutton-Wallace, Medical Center CEO, was among the “Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare 2018” identified by Modern Healthcare.
    • Richard Baylis, MD/PhD student in Gary Owens’ lab, is among 600 students worldwide selected to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. He will have the opportunity to meet and talk science with 43 Nobel Laureates.
  • IT Security Upgrade
    • The recent upgrade was made with the primary purpose of addressing urgent needs to ensure patient data is safe. This has brought about some unintended outcomes, such as variable access to programs and files resulting in work-arounds. The dean reminded people that Health System shared drives (e.g., “Y”) can be used for sharing or storing information, including PHI. Non-confidential information can be shared via UVA Box or Collab. Call the Help Desk at 434.924.5334 if you are having trouble accessing programs or files. We will have another update at the April MAC.

Funding Analysis/NIH Rankings
Margaret A. Shupnik, PhD

  • Dr. Shupnik showed a chart of funding over a 10-year period and noted that total funding is up and we are diversifying our portfolio. There has been a big increase in successful non-modular grants.
  • The NIH ranking contains all awards – new, renewed, non-competitive continuations, and supplements of all types of awards. It includes all subcontracts if the PI is at UVA and does not include NIH subcontracts received from other institutions.
  • There is considerable volatility of dollars awarded among the rankings of 35-45 and one grant has the potential to bring about an increase or a decrease in the rankings.
  • Dr. Shupnik’s analysis shows that we have many fewer P and U grants than other institutions and this appears to be the primary factor in our ranking not being higher. These awards enable scientists to do the kind of work that one person cannot do alone, and they bring more than funds – they also bring impact and status within the scientific community and provide infrastructure and administrative support.
  • Resources are available – ResearchNet, the Conafay Group – at the institutional level, in addition to department resources such as pre-submission grant review. ResearchNet can provide some shared SOM/VPR support for complicated team/center proposal submissions.
  • NIH rankings information is at http://www.brimr.org/NIH_Awards/NIH_Awards.htm.

On the Path to Academic Success
Susan M. Pollart, MD

  • Annual reviews, which are required for every faculty member, are especially important for faculty at the end of their first three years. For tenure eligible faculty members, it is important to realistically assess potential for the first promotion. For tenure ineligible faculty, the appointment after the third year of employment must be for three years. Regardless of tenure eligibility, faculty members not meeting expectations at the end of the third year of employment can be given a one year notice of non-renewal.
  • Promotion and Tenure
    • New guidelines provide updated/clarified guidelines regarding criteria for excellence in team science.
    • Dean Wilkes is sending the SOM P&T Committee’s specific recommendations to individual faculty members (promoted on July 1, 2017) who are eligible for further advancement (i.e. tenured associate professors, tenure eligible associate professors, and tenure ineligible associate professors). These recommendations identify areas to recommended focus to help ensure success in their next advancement.

Health System Financial Overview
Douglas Lischke, Chief Accounting Officer

  • Mr. Lischke provided an update of the consolidated Health System financials.

Health System Board Update
A. Bobby Chhabra, MD

Dr. Chhabra shared highlights from the February 28, 2017, HSB meeting. The HS goals dashboard for FY18 showed strong performance with eight out of twelve indicators green.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in the BIMS Classroom.

Act Now: Addressing Opioid Addiction


This semester the School of Medicine and colleagues across Grounds are gathering for a series of discussion groups with faculty who are interested in doing research related to substance misuse and addiction, particularly involving opioids. This is a great moment of opportunity for our School as in December 2017 the Board of Visitors approved Strategic Investment Funds (SIF) for “Reducing the Burden of Addictions in Virginia.” Our goal is to use this initiative as a stepping stone for more collaborative activities across Grounds.

On January 25, 25 faculty from across the University, representing 17 different departments, institutes, and units, gathered for the first meeting.* The meeting included presentations on structure and funding opportunities; preventing opioid misuse; limiting the supply of opioids and advancing pain management; treating opioid-addicted individuals; and the legal, policy, and economic implications of the epidemic.

Discussion included:

  • whether this crisis was, at its foundation, about pain and its treatment;
  • while there is a need for basic neurological research regarding pain, the crisis is about more than physical pain;
  • the larger social and historic context of substance abuse; and
  • questions regarding how to prevent or reduce the harms associated with substance misuse and addiction, particularly to opioids.

After the 90-minute session, the group’s recommendation was to:

  • Develop strategic teams focused on key domains of transdisciplinary research; e.g., preventing addiction, treating addiction (including practice changes), neurobiology of pain, and drug policy.
  • Convene more meetings with stakeholders in these and other domains of transdisciplinary research to generate cohesive research white papers for dissemination to partners and sponsors.
  • Distribute white papers at the Virginia Higher Education Conversation on Opioid Use and Addiction (May 1) and identify prospective partners from across the state and region.
  • Develop and implement additional structures to support transdisciplinary science in these domains, including but not limited to, pre-proposal planning for strategic cross-Grounds applications.

Transdisciplinary collaborations are necessary to prevent or mitigate the effects of opioid misuse and addiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such, these discussions are ongoing and open to all. It is my hope that you will join the conversation. If you are interested, please contact David Driscoll, PhD, Director of Research Development in the School of Medicine, and a member of the VPR ResearchNet group that develops and participates in large transdisciplinary research projects within their schools and across Grounds.

*Participants represented the Dean’s Office; ResearchNET; Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences; Systems and Information Engineering; General Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care; the Institute of Law, Psychiatric and Public Policy; Government Relations; the Center for Global Health; Center for Public Health Policy; Anesthesiology; the Brain Institute; the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health; Emergency Medicine;  Anthropology; Public Policy and Economics; and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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

UVA Provides MOCA, Not Latte

(l-r) Keith Littlewood, MD; Chuck Stanton; Saimon Malakor; Angel Thompson; Maria Vazquez-Amaral, JD; Vaia Abatzis, MD; and Ira Rubenstein.

Did you know that the University of Virginia School of Medicine is one of the 20 charter sites for physicians to receive their Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA)? Doctors travel to sites across the country for recertification, and here at UVA, they spend a day in the Claude Moore Medical Education Building’s Medical Simulation Center, learning and demonstrating their proficiencies for patient care.

In the 10-year MOCA re-credentialing cycle, anesthesiologists must earn 50 points in their knowledge and skills assessments. By coming to our Simulation Center every five years, doctors can earn 25 points on each single-day visit. It is, by far, the most efficient way of getting those points. We take this seriously and, points aside, strive to provide an enriching learning environment for attendees.

We push them, and we push them hard. The entire day is almost entirely simulation-based. Participants break up into teams and experience simulated patients in crisis situations: cardiovascular instability, hypoxemia, malignant hyperthermia, anesthesia toxicity. The works. Then we add a twist: How do these situations resolve with, say, pregnant patients?

Not every test is an emergency. We also present participants with situations that are common or from which they would benefit from practice, like sepsis. From rare to common to close-calls to abnormal … our Simulation Center provides a variety of learning experiences.

SOM’s MOCA Is More than Recertification
Because no patient is cared for by a single person, the healthcare team’s performance is also evaluated. After each exercise, the team gathers to debrief. I believe this is a crucial part of the experience. The team candidly talks about what happened during in the simulation. They answer the question, “What were you thinking?” in an educational, non-judgmental way. There is a tacit assumption that our participants are smart and provide good care to patients — but, what trap did the team fall into? What were they doing (or not doing) together? We not only care about what occurred to result in the simulated patient receiving a bad outcome, but also what can be done to ensure this does not happen again. It is an opportunity to raise the bar for all attendees.

MOCA is administered through the American Society of Anesthesiology, and they invite participants to take a “customer satisfaction” survey. Feedback on our Sim Center experience has been wonderfully positive. Many physicians are happy to come to our School and receive their recertification in this manner. For us, it’s not just a matter of making sure anesthesiologists have their points and that they can check an item off their to-do list. We take pride that, when participants leave UVA, they feel it was a worthwhile experience. Many leave Grounds feeling that the day spent in our Simulation Center changed the way they think about their practice. That is incredibly rewarding.

Our Simulation Center is excellent and there are many talented people who have contributed mightily to its success, from the moment it was conceived to today. This includes Dr. Marcus Martin, Dr. Mark Kirk, Dr. Vaia Abatzis, Dr. Keith Littlewood, the Claude Moore Foundation, and the faculty and staff who envisioned the NxGen curricula and support the center itself. They have my gratitude and my thanks.

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

Find Out What They’re Thinking

Want to know what national leaders are thinking? Want to tell them what you’re thinking? Are you interested in becoming known to them and in exploring potential partnerships? Our new speaker series will provide you opportunities to do just this.

On Feb. 22, from noon-1 p.m. in the BIMS Classroom, we will be hosting Joe Selby, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), who will deliver the presentation “Overview and Opportunities from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.” According to its website, PCORI “was established to fund research that can help patients and those who care for them make better-informed decisions about the healthcare choices they face every day, guided by those who will use that information.”

This event is co-sponsored by my office and the Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Selby will be available in the afternoon to meet informally with small groups of researchers interested in exploring opportunities for PCORI funding. If interested in participating, please contact Shirley Rothlisberger.

This speaker series will continue later in the year when we will welcome Griffin Rodgers, MD, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), on Sept. 11 (tentative) and Gary Gibbons, MD, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), on Oct. 22. (I will send out event details when we get close to these dates.)

I am very excited that these leaders are coming to the School of Medicine to speak with us. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about possible emerging funding mechanisms and priorities for the next year, and to have our researchers further strengthen relationships with these national agencies. It is my hope that faculty will introduce themselves — and their research — to Drs. Selby, Rodgers, and Gibbons, and that these discussions will not only be educational for all involved, but will bear fruit in the form of partnerships and collaborations down the road.

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

Highlights: February MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean
David S. Wilkes, MD

  • The Data Science Institute is exploring the possibility of offering graduate degrees. This will allow us to provide training to people we can then recruit as faculty members.
  • Strategic hires update
    • Since February 2016, we have hired 19 strategic recruits who are bringing an estimated $49.5 million total over five years.
    • Dr. Imre Noth, Division Chief for Pulmonary and Critical Care, is the most recent hire.
    • Currently we have five active recruitments underway with 11 grants totaling $8.1 million over five years.
  • Cyber Security
    • Rick Skinner sent a memo on Sunday, 2/11/18, informing everyone who uses Health System email that upgrades are required to continue to access devices through the VPN. Upgrades must be made by Monday, Feb. 19, or access will be cut off. If you need help, call the Help Desk at 434.924.5334.

Updates from Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development
Susan M. Pollart, MD

  • 360 Feedback to Chairs
    • At the last MAC, there were questions about who can be included in the 360 feedback to chairs. Chairs can identify anyone they would like to provide feedback. Input is provided anonymously, which protects trainees who might otherwise feel vulnerable giving feedback.
    • Over the next few months, we will spend time deciding what to focus on (e.g., leadership). We will also determine which instrument to use for the survey, which will be administered in 2019.
    • In the fall of this year, we will repeat the Faculty Forward Survey that was offered in 2015. That survey, now renamed the StandPoint survey, had a high response rate and thus provided robust data. As a result, a number of concrete steps were taken. In the lead up to this fall’s survey, we’ll help you to remind your faculty of what was accomplished as a result of the 2015 data.
  • Role of Faculty Diversity Facilitators
    • Thank you for nominating a great group of individuals as diversity facilitators!
    • This year they will be working on cultural change and unconscious bias. They will be using tools to help people recognize biases and how they impact behavior.
    • We are moving forward with the recruitment of a Chief Inclusion and Wellness Officer.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in the BIMS Classroom. 

Are You Ready to Collaborate?

Engineering in Medicine: (l-r) Dr. Jeffrey Holmes, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine; Julie Ann Radlinski, Senior Research Program Officer; and Dr. Mark Sochor, Vice Chair for Research, Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics

UVA happens to be one of only eight universities in the United States with top schools of Engineering and Medicine separated by less than a mile. Thanks to Jeffrey Holmes, MD, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine; and Mark Sochor, MD, Vice Chair for Research, Emergency Medicine and the Medical Director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics, we are taking advantage of that physical proximity with initiatives like the newly developed Center for Engineering in Medicine.

With money from the Strategic Investment Fund, this center is a joint effort among the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Nursing and will provide seed funding for research projects.

Collaboration is the name of the game here. Each project will combine clinical teams with engineering teams to innovate. To give you an idea what faculty have already proposed, here is a list of the currently funded projects:

  • Fast and Automatic Reconstruction of High Frame-Rate Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (Weller, Kramer, Salerno)
  • In situ Bioengineering of Scar Formation after Myocardial Infarction (French, Saucerman, Wolf)
  • Airflow-powered Implantables for Batteryless Monitoring of Respiratory Health (Quinn, Lach, Borish)
  • Leveraging mHealth and Wireless Sensing to Empower Patients and Family Caregivers in the Safe and Effective Management of Cancer Pain (Lebaron, Lach, Blackhall)
  • Computational Imaging to Predict Intestinal Mucosal Alterations in Children in Virginia (Syed, Brown)
  • Using mobile technology to monitor and treat depression and anxiety symptoms in caregivers of cancer patients (Gerber, Showalter, Cohn)
  • A Novel Analgesic Device for Pain Management (Li, Xu)
  • Development, Implementation, and Demonstration of a Robotic Gait Simulator (Kerrigan, Park, Cooper, Perumal, Kent, Blemker)

Details on these projects can be found here.

I recommend reading a recently published article on the Engineering in Medicine website (“Initiative Encourages Collaborations Between Engineers and Clinicians”). In it, Jeff, says, “Many of our best weapons in the fight against common diseases, such as pacemakers and stents to treat heart disease or mammography to detect breast cancer, developed at the interface between engineering and medicine. This same interface holds enormous promise to deliver the next generation of advances.”

I couldn’t agree more and look forward to see what innovative technologies the marriage of engineering and medicine will produce.

There will be annual calls for projects and Dr. Steve Wasserman and I will be sending out information for each pilot opportunity. For questions or to receive help in finding a partner for a project idea, please contact engineering-in-medicine@virginia.edu.

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

Faculty Survey Action Continues to Progress

In November 2015, 75% of School of Medicine (SOM) faculty participated in the Association of American Medical Colleges Faculty Forward Engagement Survey (now known as the StandPoint survey). Based on the results and on feedback received in focus groups and town halls, we found governance, communication, diversity, and explanation of SOM finances were areas of concern for faculty.

At an institutional level, we have made these steps in creating positive change:

Communication and Governance

  • Dean Wilkes is engaging School of Medicine faculty senators in governance discussions
  • Implemented a Department Annual Review (DAR) process.
  • Created department chair leadership series and onboarding program
  • Developed and successfully launched Junior Faculty Development Program
  • Provided new channels of communication (e.g., this blog, social media, senior leaders attend faculty meetings)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Appointed diversity facilitators in every department
  • Solicited Diversity & Inclusion Plans from departments; reviewed as part of DAR process
  • Continued sharing of diversity and inclusion best practices
  • Provided system-wide unconscious bias training

Explanation of Finances

  • Established the SOM Financial Advisory Committee; five workgroups focus on effort and productivity, compensation, funds flow model adjustments, principles of budgeting, and performance review
  • Dean Wilkes and Dr. Chris Ghaemmaghami, Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, discuss finances at department faculty meetings
  • Present monthly consolidated financials to departments
  • Made available financial learning sessions to department chairs

At the department level, we have seen increased mentoring, communication, collegiality and collaboration, professional development and advancement, leadership and governance, explanation of (and understanding of!) finances, and intellectual vitality.

I know 2018 just started, but time flies and before we know it, we’ll be staring 2019 in the face. Before that happens, the next Standpoint survey will be administered in October. Our response rate for the last survey was amazing. It is my hope that all faculty will participate and that we retain this exceptionally high level of engagement to get the information necessary for making our School a better place.

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

Highlights: January MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean
David S. Wilkes, MD

  • Budget Construction
    • As the budget season gets underway, we will all have to consider the significant implications of the recent tax bill. We expect immediate restrictions that will be ongoing. Just two examples (changes in 340B reimbursements and the loss of automatic inpatient status for Medicare total knee replacements) result in an annual decrease of $14 million. We anticipate an additional annual decrease of $10 million due to the impact of the repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
    • These reductions will hit the Medical Center’s bottom line and, clearly, will influence what it is able to pass through to the School of Medicine.
    • Although we must plan for financial restrictions, we must not compromise on excellence.
    • We must prioritize and focus on what is strategic and necessary, and we must determine what we will not do.
  • DAR Feedback
    • Several chairs noted that the DAR does not provide a mechanism for faculty to offer feedback on the chair’s performance.
    • The 2015 Faculty Forward Survey had robust data (due to high faculty participation) to share with the chairs. The survey will be administered again in the fall of 2018, and, as in 2015, it will be helpful if the chairs encourage their faculty to participate.
    • In the fall of 2019, we will conduct a 360 feedback survey that focuses exclusively on the chair.
    • Thank you to those who provided feedback on the DAR process.

February Medical Alumni Gathering
Anne Watkins

  • The Medical Alumni Association’s winter retreat will be held February 16-17 at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg.
  • Now that the graduate degrees have moved to the School of Medicine, the MAA is actively interacting with our graduate students. The retreat will feature a Friday evening poster session that will feature the work of about 40 graduate and medical students.
  • All faculty and students are invited to attend.
  • org/event/2018-Winter-Retreat/

New Business

  • Dr. Nataro asked about unexplained variances between RVUs and collections. Susan Rumsey will bring administrators together to discuss this further.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in the BIMS Classroom.

Highlights: December MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean
David S. Wilkes, MD

  • Implications of HR 1, Tax Cut and Jobs Act, on Graduate Student Stipends
    • Negative impact upon our students, UVA, and nation
      • College will be less affordable
      • Discourages participation in higher education
      • Discourages employer investment in employee learning
      • Decreases US competitiveness
      • Brightest minds will go outside of the US to advance
    • Elimination of Section 117(d) provisions
      • Devastating to research programs
      • No longer able to provide tax-free tuition for graduate students
        • Example: stipend of $24K and tuition waiver of $29K – student’s tax bill triples to $4,920
      • Erodes progress made in developing strong interest in STEM programs
        • Puts STEM education out of the reach of many students
      • Our legislators
      • Themes of Incoming UVA President Ryan
        • Community: opportunity to interact with and learn from a broadly diverse group of students, faculty, staff
        • Discovery: new knowledge that solves problems, leads to practical application, and brings new perspective to enduring questions
        • Service: public universities serve the public, starting with their own states
      • New Strategic Hire: Ken Walsh, PhD. Professor of CV Medicine and Director, Whitaker CV Institute, at Boston University SOM. Starts January 25, 2018. $.9M year one, $3.5M over five years.

Overview of Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights Policies and Reporting Options
Catherine Spear, AVP Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights
Emily Babb, AVP for Title IX Compliance & Title IX Coordinator

  • Presentation addressed:
    • Notice of non-discrimination and equal opportunity
    • Policy of Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence (Title IX Policy)
    • Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment (PADH Policy) and Preventing and Addressing Retaliation (PAR Policy)
    • Why reporting is important
    • How to report prohibited conduct under these policies
    • How to address prohibited conduct
  • See presentation.

December Health System Board Update
A. Bobby Chhabra, MD, Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery

  • Dr. Chhabra shared highlights from the December 6, 2017, HSB meeting. The HS goals dashboard showed notable improvement in solid organ and bone marrow transplants and addition investments by Seed & Venture Funds, moving these two indicators to green. All other categories are yellow.
  • FY18 first-quarter financial results were shared.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in the BIMS Classroom.

It’s Time for You to THRIV

THRIV’s inaugural class of scholars: (l-r) Dustin Walters, MD; Jessica Keim-Malpass, PhD, RN; Kathleen McManus, MD, MS; Brynne Sullivan, MD; and Kyle J. Lampe, PhD.

The Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (THRIV) program has announced a new call for proposals for mentored career development awards for junior faculty at UVA who are pursuing a career in clinical or translational research.

THRIV is a transformational cross-Grounds collaboration that leverages the latest advances in data science to accelerate innovation in health-related research and facilitate team science. THRIV seeks to support highly qualified junior faculty for activities related to the development of a successful clinical research or translational research career.

The first group of scholars came from three different schools across Grounds — the School of Nursing, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Medicine — and I am excited see that applications are now open for the next group of promising scientists.

The THRIV Scholar Career Development Program aims to train the next generation of translational researchers in principles of data science, the conduct of rigorous and reproducible science, and to promote team science as a means to enhance innovation and discovery in health-related research. The program provides up to 75% salary/fringe support for up to 2 years for Scholars in addition to funding for research-related expenses and training.

For details visit THRIV’s website, or contact Sandra Burks.

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