Progress Notes | March 2020

In the eight months since I arrived as dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, something that has increasingly made me proud is the caliber of students we attract and how exceptionally well-trained they are by the time they leave. Residency programs and medical educational leaders are noticing our graduates’ unique skill set in medical research, clinical reasoning, and team-delivered care.

This month, we celebrate two milestones with the Class of 2020: Match Day on March 20 and the Research Symposium on March 27. As you know, our match rate has been 100 percent in our first six years. Our students have matched in a total of 24 specialties in 34 states at some of the most prestigious programs in the country.

The VTCSOM Medical Student Research Symposium promises a day of inspiring moments when we see the scope, skill, and professional merit of research projects on display in the poster sessions and at the oral presentations. In order to train scientist physicians, our curriculum and research mentors dedicate hundreds of hours to research. Our students are completely immersed in the language, culture, and practice of research. Very few other medical schools have such a rigorous research program, and it shows!

I have no doubt it will be a very busy and exciting March.

Lee A. Learman

Renee LeClair

Task Force Updates

The task force on health systems science (HSS) has completed its work and submitted a report, including recommendations, to Dean Learman. The report is currently being shared with key administrative, faculty and medical student leaders, and with the school’s curriculum committees. Next steps will involve the appointment of course design teams to formulate specific methods of incorporating HSS into the curriculum.

A key parallel component will be a major emphasis on faculty development. We recently welcomed Jed Gonzalo to our campus for a series of presentations on HSS. If you were unable to attend these sessions, you may view his presentations on the Teaching Excellence Academy for Collaborative Healthcare (TEACH) web site. In addition, all faculty are invited to participate in the Spring 2020 IAMSE webinars on HSS, which will provide an overview of various aspects of this important topic. If you are interested in this work, we would welcome your participation! Please contact either David MusickSuzanne Kraemer, or Rick Vari.

The task force on incremental growth is pleased to share that on February 19, Dean Learman received an official document from LCME confirming that VTCSOM has adequate educational resources to grow our incoming class by seven students in 2020, that we are compliant with all accreditation standards, and that we have achieved the expected performance on nearly all accreditation elements, except for two (diversity and scholarships). We have launched initiatives in both of these areas that should bear fruit starting with the next matriculated class, and we will submit a report to document our progress for LCME in December 2021. Overall, this is outstanding news! We could not have expected any better outcome. We will now move forward with the remaining approval steps in coordination with the Provost’s Office and the VTC, Inc. Executive Committee, and then look forward to welcoming 49 incoming students in the Class of 2024. We will be sure to update you when this becomes official.

Take Note

Book Cover for The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Humanism Notes

Many interpretations have been offered about the intended message in the classic children’s book, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. Over time the protagonist (a boy) grows to adulthood, demands more from the tree as he grows, leaving only a stump for the mature boy to sit on (but the stump is happy). As the boy takes more and more, do the tree’s kindness and giving potential diminish, or can kindness be drawn from a renewable well? Recent scientific evidence supports the health benefits of being kind, as efficiently summarized here. Habits of giving can create a reinforcing and renewing cycle. In other words, we should worry more about the boy than the tree.

Support VTCSOM - Giving Day Virginia Tech

Giving Day

Virginia Tech’s next Giving Day is March 18-19. What is Giving Day? It’s a 24-hour marathon period when alumni, students, and friends from the university’s colleges and other units can make a difference with a donation. At VTCSOM, we will have two matching challenges to help your gift of any size go a little further.

  • Lee Learman is matching dollar-for-dollar every donation to the school up to a total of $5,000.
  • Sid Smith and his wife, Lucy, will donate an additional $5,000 if the school receives 25 gifts for Giving Day. Smith is the former chair of the VTCSOM Board of Directors and currently serves on the VTCSOM Dean’s Council on Advancement.

Upcoming Events

Four scenes of mini-medical observers watching standardized patients act out scenarios

The Last Note

What in the world is going on in these pictures, you ask? Relax. It’s our standardized patients acting out various illnesses. The observers are doing just that—observing. It was all part of VTCSOM’s Mini Medical School, “The Art of Observation: From Gallery to Clinic” in which participants spent time here and at the Taubman Museum of Art honing their observation skills!

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