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

Come Celebrate Medical Education!


Many medical schools around the country celebrate education by holding a Medical Education Day. Here at UVA, a single day cannot do it justice. As such, every year we have a full week dedicated to medical education. This year, Medical Education Week will run from March 12-16.

We have many educators at the School of Medicine who work tirelessly all year long to accomplish the goals of our educational mission. Medical Education Week is a great opportunity to put a spotlight on the work our faculty, residents, and students do to innovate in medical education.

The week is co-sponsored with the Brodie Medical Education Fund, which annually supports an internationally known speaker in medical education. This year we welcome Dr. Elizabeth Gaufberg from Harvard Medical School to discuss “assumptions we bring to learning and practice.”

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect this year:

March 12 – 16: Poster Session
Posters will be on display outside the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library.

March 13: Medical Education Research Presentations
Noon – 1 p.m. | G1/G2 Pinn Hall Conference Center
Lunch will be available; register here.

  • Noon – 12:30 p.m.: Processed EEG indices correlate with NASA-TLX Measurements of Cognitive Load by Drs. John Kwock, Ali Kazemi, Noah Schenkman, and Keith Littlewood (presenter)
  • 12:30-1  p.m.: Does wisdom protect against depersonalization among medical students? by Drs. John Schorling, Peggy Plews-Ogan, Rachel Kon, Tabor Flickinger (presenters), and Justine Owens

March 14 | The Brodie Medical Education Lecture/Medical Grand Rounds/Medical Center Hour
Noon – 1 p.m. | Pinn Hall Conference Center Auditorium
What We See, What We Feel, What We Say — Exploring Assumptions We Bring to Learning and Practice | Presented by Elizabeth H. Gaufberg, MD, MPH, Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge MA; and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

March 14 | Medical Education Week Reception
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Claude Moore Health Sciences Library (2nd floor)
Poster presentations (presenters available from 5-6 p.m.); remarks by Dean David Wilkes and Dr. Gaufberg at 6 p.m.

March 15 | Medical Education Research Presentations
Noon – 1 p.m. | G1/G2 Pinn Hall Conference Center
Lunch will be available; register here.

  • Noon – 12:30 p.m.: Learning curves for robotic surgery fundamentals among novices, by Drs. Yinin Hu, Helen Kim (presenter), Philip Smith, Peter Hallowell, Leigh Cantrell, Noah Schenkman, Sara Rasmussen
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: Vessel Ligation Fundamentals: A Comparison of Technical Evaluations by Crowdsourced Nonclinical Personnel and Surgical Faculty, by Drs. Yinin Hu (presenter), Helen Kim, Bo Jiang, Anneke Schroen, Philip Smith, Sara Rasmussen

Thank you to the Brodie committee, the Academy of Distinguished Educators, and all of our faculty, residents, and students who contribute to making this such a successful event.

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

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. 

Visiting Student Program Enjoys Continued Success

The 2016/2017 Visiting Student cohort presenting at the Annual Visiting Student Symposium.

Did you know that under the Visiting Student Program approximately 25 Polish and other Eastern European graduate students come to the University of Virginia every year to work in our labs? Like many of the great things at the University, the program started with a single idea and, over time, has become something remarkable.

This program started nearly two decades ago when Zygmunt Derewenda, PhD, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics and Visiting Student Program Director, conferred with a Polish colleague about sending some students across the Atlantic. We know that excellent students can be found everywhere. Sometimes the opportunity just has to present itself. Or, in this case, the opportunity needed to be created. In the first year of the program, a single student came to Charlottesville. More followed. And then even more. Soon, Zygmunt’s colleagues here in the School of Medicine were asking if they, too, could have Polish students work in their labs. The program has since expanded to other countries, most recently admitting students from the Czech Republic and Brazil. Eighteen years later, this program is now an international success.

Since its inception, the program has brought 172 students to UVA and has expanded within the School to all basic science and clinical departments and even across Grounds. The Visiting Student Program fills a real need. The commitment for principal investigators is only one year and this cohort of students arrives incredibly well-trained, experienced, and largely independent, having spent time in labs throughout Europe. While here, they become part of our research and education teams, attend seminars, and work on dedicated projects in the lab. Their work culminates in a one-day symposium where they present their work. In many cases, these students return home to defend their master’s degree and either go on to PhD programs — both here and across the country — or dive into other research ventures. All because of their experience at UVA.

The Visiting Student Program has grown in other ways, too. We now work with three other institutions to place students: University of Chicago, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. The administration of the program in Poland was recently taken over by the Fulbright Commission, which will obtain additional support for students from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. It is our hope that this will attract the very best candidates and that we’ll see a record number of applications in 2018.

While it is amazingly gratifying to see these students help our labs push forward on important research projects, it is equally as wonderful to see them welcomed into our community.

Thank you to all the faculty and staff for their hard work in coordinating, recruiting, and funding this program. It would not be successful without Zygmunt, Dr. Phil Trella, Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies; Dr. Amy Bouton, Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs; the International Studies Office; Dr. Wladek Minor, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics; Carrie Walker, Graduate Program Administrator; and, of course, the many faculty members who provide mentoring for these visiting students.

Please note: Recruitment is ongoing. This year’s interviews will be held in March. If you are interested, please send a project description to Zygmunt at zsd4n@virginia.edu.

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

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

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

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.

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

Highlights: November MAC Meeting

Opening Comments from the Dean David S. Wilkes, MD

  • We learned a number of lessons from the DARs/CARs.
    • Accountability is key across all missions.
      • In education, we must ensure that students are prepared to perform the Entrustable Professional Activities.
      • In research, we must diversify the funding portfolios, maintain the standards for research funding per square foot of lab space, and maximize salary support on grants.
      • In the clinics, we must improve efficiencies across the board in the ambulatory setting and we must establish a group practice.
    • The reviews highlighted several priorities.
      • As leaders, we are all responsible for working together and guiding institutional change.
      • We must improve organizational structures and processes. In the dean’s office, we are doing this through developing business intelligence, improving IT infrastructure, and piloting the Be Smart initiative (lean processes).
      • We must build and strengthen external relationship across the University, through the Inova partnership, and through the CTSA initiative.
      • We will take education to a higher level through innovations in our graduate and master’s programs.
    • One of the programs we learned about in the DARs is the Silo Busters program in the Child Health Research Center (CHRC) in the Department of Pediatrics. James Nataro described Silo Busters for us.
      • The program is designed to facilitate interactions with basic scientists. Eligible basic scientists who will be working with Pediatrics faculty members are given joint appointments in the CHRC.
      • The research may be conducted in the lab of either the primary or the secondary appointee.
      • The objective is to attract basic scientists to work with clinicians.
      • The first Silo Buster recipients will be announced before the end of this year.

Bobby Chhabra, MD
The Department of Orthopedics’ clinical trials have grown from 4 trials in 2013 to more than 60 today. Over the last year, the clinical trials infrastructure has been fully supported by the overhead negotiated through the industry “rate card” mechanism.

Dr. Chhabra explained the methodology for developing the cost expectations for the rate card. It takes into account salary expenses (investigator and trial support staff) and OTPS. Billing may be based on an hourly rate or on trial enrollment and other milestones.

The rate card provides a process that is more streamlined and transparent for the budgeting process. It makes is easier for industry to set up trials. It provides salary support for MDs and PAs. The rate card helps to ensure that clinical revenues do not support the expenses of clinical trials.