Highlights: May MAC Meeting

Chair Update (Dean David Wilkes)

  • Dean Wilkes announced that, as of July 1, Brian Hoard, DDS, will be Chair of the Department of Dentistry.
  • Michael Dong

    UVA School of Medicine student Michael Dong is one of only 79 students nationwide to be accepted into the prestigious Medical Research Fellows Program at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The program provides a stipend and other funding that allows med students to take a year off from their studies for in-depth, mentored biomedical research. Mr. Dong will conduct his research in Dr. Jonathan Kipnis’ lab.

Grant Support Index (Margaret Shupnik, PhD)

  • Background: There are new guidelines being discussed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that may limit grant support to individual principal investigators. The reasoning for this is that there are too many researchers and too few dollars. As of today, 10 percent of PIs have 40 percent of the resources. Additionally, the scientific workforce is aging more rapidly than the general work force. The current system affects young PIs disproportionately.
  • Shupnik shared that on May 2, 2017, the NIH announced that in order to protect sustainability of the research enterprise it is working on guidelines to limit the number of awards going to successful PIs. It is important to note two things:
    • The NIH will not defund any grants.
    • This only applies only to NIH awards.
  • There is a proposal in place that would take effect for grants submitted in the fall of 2017. This new process would be based on a “grant support index.” (GSI) The GSI is a function of the number of “R01 equivalents” — not dollars or percent effort on R01s.
  • Shupnik noted that there are many unknowns with this new system. Unanswered questions include:
    • How will multi-PI grants will be scored?
    • How will large, complex grants be counted?
    • How will smaller grants or institutional grants be scored?
    • Additionally: There may be institute-specific aspects to this process.
  • NIH is soliciting input from the scientific community.
    • Updates can be found on “Open Mike,” Mike Lauer’s blog on the NIH website: https://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/category/blog/
    • For previous discussions, refer to the May 2 and January 26 blogs — “Research Commitment Index”.
  • This is still an open discussion at the NIH. Dr. Shupnik, Dean Wilkes, and Dr. Shannon urged chairs to share with their faculty that now is the time to come forth with ideas.
  • Given this new process, Dean Wilkes urged for more diversification of our research portfolio, and to look to other agencies and sources of funds.
  • Please share this information with faculty.

Be Wise (Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD)

  • Be Wise is a Health System-wide effort to allow us to do our best at work and be our best at work. The program will:
    • Enhance individual resilience and interpersonal communication
    • Identify and reduce unnecessary stressors
    • Recognize caregiver stress and know how to respond
  • This leads to improved caregiver wellbeing and the ability to do our best work together.
  • The two arms to Be Wise are prevention and intervention.
  • Over past few months, Be Wise has developed coaching resources. These include: critical conversations, a conversation framework, attention/awareness, self-mastery, stress assessment, communication skills, and resilience practices.
  • Plews-Ogan shared how best to use the coaches. She asked chairs to invite the coaches to your department or division to deliver presentations or workshops on communication, resilience practices, and the stress continuum.
  • With Dr. Randolph Canterbury’s assistance, Be Wise has developed the Henry Harrison Wilson award. This award — run by students — encourages medical students to catch faculty in the process of doing something well, with regards to the humanistic delivery of healthcare.
  • Plews-Ogan also shared that as part of the Be Wise initiative there is an interdisciplinary committee working on helping people to respond effectively to discriminatory behavior whether from patients, visitors, staff or faculty. The Be Wise program will also include promoting the existing disclosure and peer-support program. Chairs can contact Dr. John Schorling for any of these coaching resources.
  • A Be Wise website with resources is coming soon.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in the BIMS classroom.

Photo: JFDP Deliver Scholarly Projects

Back in February, we wrote about the Junior Faculty Development Program. This is a program that provides networking, social opportunities, and peer mentoring among colleagues who are at a similar stage in their career; promotes the development and advancement of junior faculty through seminars and mentored scholarly projects; and facilitates mentoring relationships between senior and junior faculty.

On April 19, the first cohort of 12 junior faculty members presented their scholarly projects.

From left to right:

  • Kelly G. Gwathmey, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Kelly B. Mahaney, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Laahn H. Foster, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Michael K. Keng, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Jeanetta W. Frye, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Jonathan S. Black, MD, Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery
  • Sana F. Khan, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Amanda M. Kleiman, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
  • Gilbert R. Kinsey, DPHARM, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Simon J. Lehtinen, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Sula Mazimba, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Anuj Singla, MBBS, Instructor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Congratulations to all!

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.

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.

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.

Sincerely,

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. virginia.edu/diversity/resources/awards/

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.

School of Medicine Climbs in Research Funding Rankings

research_11112015Every year, the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR) publishes rankings of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant dollars rewarded to medical schools. BRIMR recently posted its list of NIH grants and, from FY2015 to FY2016, the University of Virginia jumped from 40th to 35th. This reflects a rise in funding from $101.2M to $126M, a 24.5% increase! It is the largest increase among the top 50 institutions in the BRIMR rankings. (For comparison: Many of the top institutions reported less than 10% increases and some declined.)  While these rankings include all schools, public and private, when adjusted for public schools we rank 16th!

These numbers are a reflection of efforts put forth by the School of Medicine and the Medical Center. They represent our investments in strategic hiring and our support of faculty with programs like gap funding, which assists faculty in obtaining new competitive awards from NIH and other sponsors.

But the real credit belongs to our hardworking and dedicated faculty researchers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I applaud your efforts. The increase in our ranking is a testimony to your excellence. It is an impressive increase and illustrates that a large portion of our faculty are receiving new and larger grants. These successes are made even more outstanding, given the competitive environment in obtaining medical research funding!

Thank you to Dr. Peggy Shupnik, the Gerald D. Aurbach Professor of Endocrinology, Professor of Medicine, and Senior Associate Dean for Research, for her support and guidance, to Pamela Sutton-Wallace, CEO of the Medical Center, for her wonderful partnership with the School of Medicine, and to all who assist our faculty in furthering our research mission.

Sincerely,

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

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.

Communication

  • 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.

First Pinn Scholars Named

For the past few months we have been talking about the new Pinn Scholars program, an initiative born from strategic planning, one which allows recipients to move their research toward novel areas without the need to obtain external funding.

The Pinn Scholars program is designed to support and recognize our mid-level faculty and is named in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn. A graduate of the UVA School of Medicine Class of 1967, Dr. Pinn is a member of the National Academies of Science, a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and past president of the National Medical Association.

I am thrilled to share with you the first class of Pinn Scholars. They are:

  • Brant Isakson, PhD
    Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
    Project: Identification and characterization of Zika virus interaction with host endothelial cells using intravital microscopy
  • Shayn Pierce-Cottler, PhD
    Professor, Biomedical Engineering
    Project: The role of vascular pericytes in the regulation of inflammation, vascularization, and fibrosis
  • Gordon W. Laurie, PhD
    Professor, Cell Biology
    Project: Development of a structural model of ocular homeostasis to support the development of candidate drugs for dry eye disease
  • Jochen Zimmer, PhD
    Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
    Project: Characterization of how microbial pathogens and symbionts produce capsular polysaccharides

Thank you to all who applied. There were many outstanding applications and faculty who were worthy of this award. I look forward to seeing more applications in the coming year, as this is an ongoing program for eligible faculty (full-time faculty who hold the rank of Associate Professor, tenure optional, or have held the rank of Professor for not more than 3 years at the time of nomination).

I would also like to thank Dr. Pinn for honoring us with the use of her name for this program and our senior faculty reviewers.

Please join me in congratulating Brant, Shayn, Gordon, and Jochen.

Sincerely,

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