Today is my first day at the School of Medicine. And like any new student at a new school — you’ll soon learn that, even as I step into the role of dean, I consider myself a lifelong student — I’m full of excitement for all that’s ahead. I’ve such joy and optimism about our work together because I get to learn from you all, the talented and passionate students, faculty, and staff of this great school. You’re why I wanted to take this job and come to UVA.
So that’s what my first 100 days as dean will be all about, getting to know and learn from you. I hope to meet with and hear from as many of you as possible in classes and meetings and at social events and around town. Among the questions I want to ask you: What are the School of Medicine’s strengths? What are you most proud of about UVA and the School of Medicine? What opportunities do we have to be the best we can be moving forward? I know there’s a lot to learn! I look forward to what you will teach me about all our missions, from education and research to patient care and community.
A deep focus on all of the School of Medicine’s missions is important to me, in part because — you already know that I’m a lifelong student — I plan to stay an active clinician and researcher in addition to my role as dean. I believe this will help me understand the strengths as well as challenges faced in our daily work across the School. As a woman in a leadership position — and as someone for whom diversity and equity are an important part of who I am and what I want for our field — I also want to lead by example. I know we can do incredible things when working together as students, researchers, clinicians, and supporters.
As I told the Class of 2025 at last month’s White Coat Ceremony, endowed by the Class of 1965, I remember the excitement, anticipation, and incredible sense of unlimited possibilities I felt waiting for my own white coat. I also vividly remember what it felt like to put the white coat on for the first time, the incredible sense of excitement for my future. I feel that same pride and excitement today, my first day at UVA. I have immense gratitude to outgoing dean Dr. David Wilkes for his brilliant leadership in helping make this the special place I know it is. I look forward to taking the baton from him and leading the exceptional UVA School of Medicine forward.
In closing, I’m so glad that each of you is a part of the School of Medicine family. You’re why I’m here, and I can’t wait to get started and be a champion for all the good you do!
Melina Kibbe, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science
Chief Health Affairs Officer, UVA Health