Progress Notes | February 2020

At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, our mission is to develop physician thought leaders through inquiry, research and discovery. Preparing future leaders in medicine requires knowledge of how health care is delivered and how to optimize the quality of health care for patients and populations. This content draws from multiple different areas of expertise and has been given the name “Health Systems Science (HSS).”

Our HSS task force, co-led by Dr. David Musick (VTCSOM Senior Dean) and Dr. Suzy Kraemer (Carilion Chief Quality Officer), has been hard at work since last fall and will be submitting its report soon to guide our HSS curriculum design. The leading edge of curriculum implementation is expected to be introduced in the 2020-21 academic year.

Kicking off our preparations is a special Dean’s Forum, taking place today and tomorrow (February 3 and 4), and featuring Dr. Jed Gonzalo, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the subject. Dr. Gonzalo’s professional appointments are many, including associate dean for health systems education, associate professor of internal and hospital medicine, and associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, which is a founding member of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium and an early adopter of HSS in medical education. Dr. Gonzalo co-authored the first book on understanding core HSS fundamentals and many scholarly publications informing HSS curriculum implementation.

I highly encourage you to come to one of the Dean’s Forum sessions. They will stimulate us to envision the many opportunities we have in the clinical learning environment to advance the education of our medical students, residents and allied health professional students. View schedule.

Lee A. Learman

News Around Campus

  • Sol Moon, Class of 2020, has matched into residency in the national urology match. He will be going to his first choice: The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Charles “Bud” Conklin, associate professor of surgery and founding director of Carilion Clinic’s hospital dentistry, was recognized by VTCSOM and Delta Dental of Virginia for 40 years of service in developing a cleft lip and palate program in Southwest Virginia.
  • Jennifer Cleveland, faculty in the Department of Basic Science Education, was named VTCSOM’s first recipient of Virginia Tech’s College Awards for Outreach Excellence.
Andrew Binks, Renee LeClair, Kristin Machac, Sarah Parker
From left: Andrew Binks, Renee LeClair, Kristin Machac, Sarah Parker


  • Andrew Binks and Renee LeClair, faculty members in the Department of Basic Science Education, will present at the Virginia Regional Health Sciences Education Symposium later this month on “Clinical Immersion for Basic Science Educators: Helping Refocus, Emphasize and Contextualize the Basic Sciences.”
  • In addition, Binks, LeClair, and Kristin Machac from Virginia Tech were awarded a Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning grant for using design thinking to effectively integrate student perspective into curricular design.
  • Sarah Parker, senior director of the Carilion Clinic Center for Simulation, Research, and Patient Safety, was awarded an NSF Aspiring PI travel award to go to the NSF headquarters in Alexandria for training, specifically for their Smart and Connected Health Initiative.


Task Force Updates

This month, the chairs of the task forces on incremental growth and health systems science wanted to recognize the members of their respective groups.

  • The following people serve on the task force on health systems science (HSS): 
    David Musick (Co-Chair), Suzanne Kraemer (Co-Chair), Josh Clark, Tracey Criss, Dan Harrington, Dan Karolyi, Don Kees, Leslie LaConte, Sarah Parker, Dave Trinkle, Richard Vari, Malek Bouzaher, Morgan North, Shyam Bhatt. 
  • The following people serve on the task force on incremental growth:  
    Richard Vari (Chair), Dan Harrington, Aubrey Knight, Tracey Criss, Tarin Schmidt-Dalton, Leslie LaConte, Heidi Lane, Natalie Karp, Donald Kees, Sue Gregory, Christina Matthews, Haley Gosnell, William Reis.
    Ad hoc advisors: Brock Mutcheson, John McNamara. 

Take Note

@vtcsom has started a Wellness Wednesday post every week on our Instagram channel. The feature will showcase recipes from the Wellness Weekly newsletter, motivational quotes, and other wellness news and happenings.

Volunteers for lined up at Renovation Alliance on MLK Day of Service 2019

Humanism Notes

Following VTCSOM tradition, students, faculty, and staff spent January 20 giving service to the community in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was our pleasure once again to partner with Renovation Alliance, a volunteer organization in Roanoke that improves homes and lives for low-income homeowners in need. Take a look at the video and photo gallery from the day as we built components for a home access ramp.

The day started by sharing a few select quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrating humanism and service.

“Not everyone can be famous but everyone can be great because greatness is determined by service. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

We also read part of a message from Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: “Today we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and begin a celebration week in his honor called “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” The title is a quote from Dr. King’s iconic speech at the 1963 March on Washington. He repeated the phrase at the conclusion of his 1967 speech about the war in Vietnam, and while his message was focused on the challenges of that day, his words continue to ring true for us. “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today,” Dr. King said. “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

Upcoming Events

Docs for Morgan score: Students 67, Docs 59

The Last Note

It was a fun and exciting nail-biter at the eighth annual Docs for Morgan Basketball Game fundraiser, but in the end our medical students came out on top, regaining the win after three years.  Special thanks to Virginia Tech President Tim Sands (“Sandsman”) for playing in the game!

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