Message From The Chair: The Self Study

June 1, 2015 by


Dr. James Nataro

At the end of this summer, I will mark the end of my fifth year as Chair, Department of Pediatrics. It has been a challenging, thrilling, and humbling experience.   Customarily at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, chairs are appointed for a five year term; after this time, they undergo a formal and exhaustive performance review, whereupon the Dean decides whether or not to reappoint that chair. Under Interim Dean Canterbury, this practice has changed slightly, but materially.

We are being asked this summer to prepare a “self-study” of our Department, a document which will describe where we have come over the past five years, and more importantly I believe, where we wish to go in the next five years. The performance of the Chair will be reviewed in this context, but the review is less about “did the chair do a good job?” and more about “is this chair the right person to take this department where it wishes to go?”

Our self study will be orchestrated by Vice Chair, Dr. Nancy McDaniel, who, importantly, directed the last self-study the Department conducted. Nancy will be convening and charging various groups and individuals to compose parts of the final document. Most important of all is the philosophy: every voice will be heard, every opinion respected, every idea considered. Division Heads, Vice and Associate Chairs and Program Directors will be asked to participate in formal mission- and division-based analyses. Individual divisions will be asked to initiate their own internal discussions. We will hold general town hall meetings for more global discussions. But don’t ever hesitate to simply send a thoughtful email to Nancy to enunciate an idea.

My request to all of you is to come forward, participate, be heard, be creative and innovative. This is our chance to plot our own course together.  We cannot guarantee that every idea will be embraced by the final plan, but every idea will be considered by your colleagues in the Department.

It has been the great privilege of my life to assume a leadership role in this wonderful Department and to work with all of you. Now together we have more work to do.

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