Progress Notes | November 2019

Welcome to the first issue of Progress Notes. This is a new electronic publication of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. You are receiving this email because you have in some way become connected with our school over the past 10 years whether you are a current student; a graduate; or a member of our faculty, staff, dean’s advisory leadership, or the community.

This is meant to be a celebratory publication, one in which we leverage our many successes to keep you, our readers, informed about the exciting and innovative things going on here.

Two things in particular that I would like to keep you informed about on a regular basis are incremental growth of the medical school and an expansion of the interprofessionalism curriculum to health systems science. I have appointed two task forces, chaired by Drs. Rick Vari and David Musick, to study these issues. They have provided an update a little further down in this newsletter.

Progress Notes will arrive in your inbox on the first Monday of each month. If you have items for inclusion, we’d love to hear from you. Simply follow the link at the bottom of the newsletter to submit your news.

Lee A. Learman

left: Jane Vance artwork: buddha | right: student Miranda Gerrard looks on as Dr. Knight puts a dressing on a lady's foot in El Salvador
From left: NL Bishop, David Musick, Sid Smith


From left: Judy Chen, Mallory Blackwood

Student Research

  • Mallory Blackwood, Class of 2022, was selected to receive an American Academy of Neurology's Medical Student Research Fellowship
  • Judy Chen, Class of 2020, presented research done with Andre Muelenaer, VTCSOM professor of pediatrics, and John Bird, Virginia Tech research scientist, at the European Academy of Pediatrics 2019 Congress in Portugal.
  • Congratulations to fourth-year student Tom Liu and Carilion surgery resident Katie Howe on winning first place in the Surgical History Poster Competition at the Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons. Their poster on establishing surgical care for black Appalachians in the early 20th Century was very well received!
Tom Liu and Katie Howe with their surgical history poster: A Long Way to Washington: Establishing Surgical Care for Black Appalachians in the Early 20th Century



John Epling, VTCSOM professor and Carilion Clinic family medicine physician, has joined forces with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University to improve treatment and screening for unhealthy alcohol abuse in Virginia.

Task Force Updates

The task force on incremental growth is meeting weekly, gathering data on facilities, instructional staff, clinical facilities, student services, applicant pool, and financial support necessary for a small increase in class size from 42 to 49 to 56 students over 2-3 years. This information is needed to complete a formal request to the LCME for approval to increase class size which will be submitted in December. While LCME approval is required for growth in class size, additional VTC stakeholder discussions and approvals would need to occur before growth is implemented.

The task force on health systems science (HSS) is meeting twice each month. Its initial work has focused on analysis of where our current medical student curriculum addresses various aspects of health systems science (HSS) and where there are gaps in the curriculum, with an eye toward adding relevant content without increasing total curricular time. Future tasks will be to examine early opportunities for students to interact with our health system and educational opportunities for faculty leading implementation of the curriculum in clinical settings and classrooms. Our goal is to write a comprehensive report with recommendations by the end of January 2020. 

Humanism Notes

The Gold Humanism Honor Society was founded in 2002 through the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Berrie Foundation, and an anonymous donor. It now has more than 160 chapters in medical schools and residency programs. Inducted members exceed 35,000 medical students, physicians, and other leaders have who serve as role models of the human connection in healthcare. In Restoring Joy in Medicine: A Haiku Gallery  the Society features poetry by medical students, residents and practicing physicians. Please tell us your favorite and why it resonated with you.

The Last Note

Keep calm and carve on. VTCSOM faculty and staff had a pumpkin carving contest last month to benefit the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC). Votes were cast with monetary donations, and the winning carvers selected which CVC charitable organization would receive their proceeds. Many thanks to Layman Family Farms for their generous donation of pumpkins. Pam Adams and Courtney Powell are to be commended for the hard work they have done to obtain prizes and keep up the engagement for the CVC, resulting in VTCSOM exceeding our goal for contributions. Let's keep up the momentum!

3 pumpkins, described below
Three decorated pumpkins - a pregnant pumpkin, a white painted pumpkin with painted face, a library scene

Add Your Own Note

Have something noteworthy to share in Progress Notes? Do you have feedback about this newsletter? We'd love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with us.