Getting Ready for One Patient, One Record

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

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

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

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

Slides: Spring General Faculty Meeting

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

Highlights: April MAC Meeting

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

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

March Board of Visitors Update

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

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

We Are Growing the Research Enterprise

research_microscope_03042016The Strategic Hiring Initiative (SHI) is a major part of growing our research enterprise. We are investing $60 million over five years to hire a total 30-32 faculty, primarily physician-scientists. The goal is to strengthen existing collaborative research groups and to catalyze new initiatives and collaborations.

Through the SHI and other strategic recruitment efforts, we’re hiring the best scientists and physician-scientists into thematic areas of organ transplant, metabolic disorders, precision medicine, regenerative medicine. These themes build on the strengths of the previously identified areas of cancer, cardiovascular, and neurosciences. We are now a year and half into this initiative and have already hired a number of outstanding faculty. Below are recent strategic hires who are joining us this year:

  • bourne1_03292017Philip Bourne, PhD, arriving on May 1, will be the Director of the Data Science Institute. Dr. Bourne comes to us from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he served as the first NIH Associate Director for Data Science, reporting directly to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. He is regarded nationally and internationally as one of the top researchers in the field of informatics and data.
  • garret-bakelman_03292017Francine Garrett-Bakelman, MD, PhD, arrived on March 1, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology Medical Oncology, and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. Dr. Garrett-Bakelman came from Cornell University School of Medicine. She’s working on the genetics of leukemia and is the lead investigator on the NASA “Twins” project, which studies the effects of weightlessness on the human genome. This research is in preparation for sending humans to Mars.
  • basuNEW2_03292017 basuNEW_03292017Ananda Basu, MD, and Rita Basu, MD, a husband-and-wife team, arriving on July 1, are Professors of Medicine (Endocrinology) from the Mayo Clinic, where Rita chaired the Institutional Review Board for the Mayo Clinic Office of Human Research Protection. They collaborate with Dr. Boris Kovatchev’s on the artificial pancreas and, with support from the University’s Strategic Investment Fund, will work with him on the wireless diabetes clinical trial.
  • oberholzer_03292017José Oberholzer, MD, who arrived on March 1, is the Director of the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center. He comes to us from the University of Illinois and is an international expert in the robotics of organ transplantation. Dr. Oberholzer researches cell therapies for diabetes and other endocrine disorders. Under his guidance, our center will be the only one in the nation that can transplant all solid organs.

SHI investigators are starting to add to the already impressive gain in NIH funding that was initiative this past year, when our school’s rankings moved from 40th to 35th, seen in the recent Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research report, which provides medical school rankings by total NIH grant awards. (You can read more about those rankings here.)

Please join me in welcoming these new faculty to the University of Virginia School of Medicine. I look forward to seeing their medical science advancements in the coming years.

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

Highlights: March MAC Meeting

som-bldg_NEW_12122014Opening Comments from the Dean

  • US News & World Report: The dean congratulated our faculty on their work that resulted in the School of Medicine moving from 28 to 27 for research and from 25 to 24 for primary care.
  • Dean Wilkes reported on two strategic hires, Dr. Francine Garrett-Bakelman (genomic studies of leukemia and head of the NASA “twins project”) and Dr. José Oberholzer (Director of the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center).

Budget Update

  • Kathy Peck reported that the budget review shows significant increases in costs, especially those related to new hires. The budget team will circle back to the departments for a closer look prior to the April 4 submission date.

Managing the Research Portfolio

  • Anita Clayton, chair, and Michelle Storer, Director of Research Administration, from the department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences discussed the management of their faculty research portfolios.
  • The program is a robust, pro-active, and successful tool for PIs and grant administration alike. It assumes research time is fully funded, provides for detailed quarterly reviews, encourages diversification and collaboration, and offers early identification of potential trouble and follow-up planning. Streamlined access to necessary information/forms, SOPs, policies and deadlines that support an effective grant application and administration process, and a flexible, solution-focused approach keeps research funded and moving forward.
  • Contact Michelle Storer for details.

Faculty Diversity

  • Susan Pollart thanked those who have submitted their diversity plans. She reminded us that the LCME is monitoring us in the area of diversity and specifically will want to know how we are doing with the search for a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) and how well we are doing in recruiting URM faculty.
  • She identified several promising practices that departments may wish to emulate and will circulate information about these practices in an upcoming email.
  • Each department facilitator will receive an edited version of their plan in the coming week. The next steps are to finalize the department plans and submit current year, one year, and three year goals.
  • The CDIO search will begin in the next few weeks.

This Is a Blog About the Blog

blogaboutblog_03162017Another revolution around the sun has come and gone. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Dean’s Office Blog. The blog was created to help increase the quality and consistency of communication from my office. It is meant to provide faculty and staff with an additional channel of information to learn about important news that affects your work and the School of Medicine at large.

In the last year we have published 42 stories on strategic hires, notes from the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) meetings, innovative methods in promoting research and enhancing education, funding opportunities, safety measures, and more.

But it has been a year, so I’d like to ask: Does this site work for you?

In looking at the site’s analytics, it appears to me that faculty and staff are, indeed, visiting, reading, and (sometimes) commenting. The Dean’s Office Blog has had nearly 29,000 pageviews and over 5,800 readers. And, while numbers do not lie, they rarely tell the whole story.

Can you help fill in the gaps of this story?

I’d like to know your thoughts. Please post a comment below and let me know how this site could be improved, what topics you would like to read about, and where we can make adjustments so that you are better served over the next 365 days and beyond.

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

[As of May 18, comments have been turned off due to spam. If you have a comment to post, please email Brian Murphy at]

THRIV Begins to Thrive

Genetic Science ResearchThe University of Virginia is a big place. Researchers, groups, committees, initiatives, and programs are legion. “I never knew that was there” is not an uncommon saying, even for folks who have been here a while. But it does not have to be that way, does it? What if we had a common front door for research through which everyone could walk, regardless of years on Grounds or tenure or even school affiliation? And upon walking through that door, you’d be greeted by someone who could assist with questions, information, and education?

I believe that THRIV will be the University’s new front door for research. THRIV is the Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia, a new cross-grounds entity whose focus is to use data to improve health. THRIV’s main components are:

  • Informatics: THRIV will bring together groups (such as those in Public Health Sciences, Information Technology, the Data Science Institute, and others) to look at ways to integrate and use health-related data to improve the health of citizens of the Commonwealth. It will provide opportunities to analyze already-existing, large data sets (both from the health and non-health realms) to explore new research hypotheses, inform health decisions, and predict outcomes. We want THRIV to inspire researchers to think differently and to train our young researchers to think bigger.
  • Community Collaboration: While we are already working with colleagues in the Schools of Nursing and Education, we have plans to expand beyond Grounds. We will bring together community networks, non-profit organizations, public schools, state and federal health departments, and others, to understand the interests of the community. We will then leverage those interests and connections to perform health-related research in (and for!) the community. Our partnerships with Virginia Tech and Inova are examples of how collaboration allows us to broaden what “community” means for UVA. Community is more than Charlottesville. Each partnership broadens the area of those who we serve.
  • Education: THRIV has created a mentored career development award that will train small groups of junior faculty seeking a clinical and translational research career. Separate from that program, THRIV encourages the use of existing resources such as the Health Sciences Library and the Bioconnector for on-going training opportunities.  THRIV is also a developing a broader training environment with a substantial menu of learning opportunities in different forms and environments from which to choose. If you’re thinking, “I want to learn about [insert subject],” you can. This will be for everyone, even for those who are not in research. And remember: This isn’t restricted to just School of Medicine topics. THRIV spans across-Grounds, so the learning opportunities are only limited by the scope of the University.

Collectively — with partners on and off Grounds — we will improve health in the Commonwealth. Sharing data provides more grant opportunities for researchers. And science advances faster when we leverage our collective strengths. THRIV will create efficiencies, too. It is our intention to make it so researchers do not have to “recreate the wheel” every time they embark on a project. THRIV will be the information resource hub that will help all researchers do what they do best.

Why Are We THRIVing?
Next year we will be applying for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) funded by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. This award brings together “a national network of medical research institutions that work together to improve the translational research process to get more treatments to more patients more quickly. Members of these hubs collaborate to catalyze innovation in training, research tools, and processes.” Before we apply for a CTSA, we need to demonstrate that we already have a thriving clinical/translational research program across Grounds that facilitates activity across the Commonwealth. The door is open in THRIV for researchers and community partners, and all are invited to contribute and benefit from this new University resource.

Thank you to Karen Johnston, MD, Harrison Distinguished professor of Neurology, Associate Vice President for Clinical & Translational Research; Sandra Burks, RN, THRIV’s Program Director; and Donald Brown, PhD, W.S. Calcott Professor of Systems & Information Engineering, Director of the Data Science Institute, for getting THRIV off the ground.

Get involved with THRIV today. You can be a mentor, a mock study-section grant reviewer, a subject matter expert, an experiential trainer, or an advisor. If you have questions, please contact Sandra Burks.


Margaret A. Shupnik, PhD
Senior Associate Dean for Research

Highlights: February MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean

  • The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research publishes rankings of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant dollars rewarded to medical schools. Dean Wilkes announced the School of Medicine moved from 40th to 35th and thanked the faculty and staff who had a part in this achievement.
  • Dean Wilkes announced the strategic hires who will be starting soon at the School of Medicine.
    • May 1: Philip Bourne, PhD, Director, Data Science Institute (from NIH).
    • March 1: Francine Garrett-Bakelman, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine-Hem/Onc and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics (from Cornell University SOM).
    • July 1: Ananda Basu, MD, and Rita Basu, MD, Professors of Medicine (Endocrinology) (from Mayo Clinics).
    • March 1: José Oberholzer, MD, Director, Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center (from University of Illinois).
  • Dean Wilkes introduced Lynne Boyle, Federal Relations Professional, Office of the Executive Vice President of Health Affairs.

Department Diversity Plans

  • Dr. Susan Pollart thanked the 28 departments that have submitted their diversity plans.
  • Next steps: Dr. Pollart will be in contact with the department facilitators to refine the plans and request action steps for the coming year.
  • Reminder: The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Scholars application process is open now. Deadline March 15.

Be Wise

  • Drs. Margaret Plews-Ogan, Raymond Costabile, and Norman Oliver presented Be Wise, a program to create a welcoming and healthy workplace throughout the Health System. Be Wise creates a defined mechanism to help people be their best selves, so that we can give the best care possible to our patients.
  • Be Wise aims to enhance individual resilience and interpersonal communication; to identify and reduce unnecessary stressors; and to recognize caregiver stress and know how to respond.
  • Two key components are prevention and intervention. It is important to note that this is a supportive and restorative process, not a punitive one.
  • Next steps: Dr. Plews-Ogan will gather individuals for clarity on Be Wise processes. Please send any feedback on the flowchart (distributed at the meeting and via email) to her.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the BIMS Classroom.

Degrees Changing by Degrees

As of June 1, 2017, UVA’S Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) and Public Health Science (PHS) graduate students will receive their degrees from the School of Medicine (SOM). The main reason for this move: It makes sense.

Our graduate students currently receive their degrees from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS); however, the BIMS program has been fully supported by the SOM since its inception, the majority of BIMS students perform their research under SOM mentors, and most of the PHS courses are taught by SOM faculty. Even though the School of Medicine provided the lion’s share of the education, these graduate students were not technically “ours.”

Once this move occurs, the SOM will be the home for all three of its major education programs (undergraduate medical education, biomedical sciences PhD programs, and PHS graduate programs). Moreover, governance will be made easier, as we will be able to provide direct oversight of our students and their wellbeing. An added benefit is that the School of Medicine’s philanthropic initiatives will now be able to focus on our BIMS and PHS alumni.

Like I said: It makes sense.

How does this affect faculty and staff?
The short answer is that it doesn’t. While there are some operational items to iron out with the registrar’s office, financial services, and student information services, the educational programs themselves will remain the same, as will the current leadership and management of each of the programs. So, for example, the PHS Master of Public Health Program and Master of Clinical Research Program will continue to be taught and led by Department of Public Health Sciences faculty, and the BIMS programs will continue largely as they have done in the past. One new change, however, is that an Executive Steering Committee for Education, comprised of the leaders of the three programs (UME, BIMS, PHS), has been established to address common features of all of the programs.

Change that does not feel like change is a rare event. This is a positive move, as it’s allowing us to get all of our students and programs together in the School of Medicine and provides us with the means to connect the undergraduate medical, BIMS, and PHS programs. I am now meeting bi-weekly with Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, the William Hobson Professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and director of the Master of Public Health Program, and Amy Bouton, PhD, Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor in Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer, and Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs, to coordinate educational issues and to ensure alignment within the School. One early activity that highlights the tremendous value of this educational realignment is an interprofessional values seminar that has brought together BIMS, medical education, and PHS students to discuss professional values via literature and film. We expect to launch more of these kinds of creative initiatives moving forward into the future.

It is important to note that our interactions with GSAS have been, and will continue to be, strong. Indeed, this move has been greatly facilitated with the help of GSAS leadership, for which I am very appreciative. These strong bonds will continue through our interdisciplinary programs in biophysics and neuroscience and through our numerous collaborations and educational initiatives. Meanwhile, I look forward finally to have all our students “officially” here!

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

Highlights: January MAC Meeting

som-bldg_NEW_12122014Opening Comments from the Dean

  • Dean Wilkes announced the recruitment of Dr. José Oberholzer as Director of the Charles O Strickler Transplant Center. Dr. Oberholzer brings expertise in multiple organ and minimally invasive transplantations. He will start on March 1, 2017.
  • Dean Wilkes announced the appointment of Phillip Bourne, PhD, as Director of the Data Science Institute, effective May 1, 2017. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Bourne was the first NIH Associate Director for Data Science, reporting directly to NIH Director Francis Collins.


  • Many of our plans to move us forward require operational To maximize efficiency and consistency of communication, Dean Wilkes recommended that the center and department business administrators be included in the MAC meetings going forward.

UVA-Inova Education and Research Partnership Retreat

  • Representatives from UVA (SOM, VPR, SEAS, Darden iLab) and Inova met last week for a 2-day retreat.
  • The first day was to establish common understandings, e.g., to preserve the best of each organization’s autonomy and to embrace the best of integration.
  • The second day focused on brainstorming the vision for the partnership’s Institute of Genomics and Applied Life Sciences. This included work in outlining the next steps, such as agreement on the vision statement, establishing oversight and working committees, appointing the founding director and Board of Directors, and finalizing the institute’s structure.
  • The partners in education also met on the second day and discussed logistics related to establishing a Northern Virginia regional campus to provide an alternate site for third- and fourth-year students.
  • Working committees, jointly led by UVA and Inova personnel, are being established with specific deliverables and timelines.