Progress Notes | June 2020

Even while continuing to work and learn from home, we have been able to make significant progress on some key initiatives. Effective July 1, our curricular domain of Interprofessional Education (IPE) will transition to the domain of Health Systems Science and Interprofessional Practice (HSSIP).

Our school has been recognized nationally for our leadership in IPE. The new domain will build on that legacy with the addition of Health Systems Science (HSS). The HSS component of the HSSIP domain will provide students a clear understanding of how health care is delivered, how health care professionals work together to deliver that care, and how the health system can improve patient care and health care delivery.

We have identified two outstanding faculty members to lead the new HSSIP domain. Cynthia Morrow and Natalie Karp will develop an integrated curriculum that unfolds across the four years of medical school. Morrow will focus on VTCSOM Phase 1 that unfolds during the M1 and M2 years, and Karp will focus on VTCSOM Phase 2 that unfolds during the M3 and M4 years.

Thank you to our outgoing IPE domain co-directors, David Musick and Dave Trinkle, who will stay engaged in the new domain. Also thanks to the task force, co-chaired by Musick and Suzy Kraemer, that developed recommendations for the new domain.

I believe this new curriculum will help our graduates have a better understanding of the system that impacts the care they can give and be better able to affect positive change. Our current pandemic has only heightened that awareness. I look forward to the implementation of this curriculum in the coming year.

Stay safe and be well,
Lee A. Learman

From left: Karen Sanders, Shari Whicker, Mariah Rudd


  • Karen Eley Sanders, chief diversity officer, is continuing her service as an appointed member of Virginia's Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee. 
  • Shari Whicker, assistant dean for faculty development, and Mariah Rudd, education and faculty development manager for TEACH, have been accepted to lead a workshop at the 2020 AAMC Annual Meeting in November. The workshop is titled The Little Engine That Could: Moving Up the Program Evaluation Pyramid to Enhance Education. 
    Update: the in-person 2020 AAMC Annual Meeting has been postponed to 2021. We are awaiting word on whether this workshop will move online or be held till next year. 

Dean's Council on Advancement

The Dean’s Council on Advancement is a committee of volunteers created to advance the stature of the medical school by providing guidance, assistance, advocacy and philanthropic investment in support of the school’s strategic objectives as set forth by the dean.

  • We would like to take this opportunity to welcome new members who joined in the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020: Paul Dallas, Janet Frantz, Adam Tate, Bart Wilner, Troy Smith, and Maxine Lee.
  • Also, we would like to send a note of appreciation for these departing founding members of the council and thank them for their service: Nancy Agee, Nancy Artis, and Priscilla McCall.
  • Finally, we recognize Joe Moskal as the new chair for the Dean's Council and thank Janet Johnson for her service as first chair and thank her for remaining on the council as immediate past president.

Diversity and Inclusion

Virginia Tech's Office for Diversity and Inclusion is offering three diversity education courses through the Professional Development Network. All courses are 100% online and self-paced.

Humanism Notes

Holding Each Other in Uncertain Times

A recent Harvard Business Review article advises leaders that the skill of “holding” is critically important during a crisis. For leaders, holding is an important complement to a visioning, which by definition is future-oriented. Holding is rooted in the present. It describes the way another person “contains” and “interprets” what is happening in times of uncertainty. As stated in the article, “Containing refers to the ability to soothe distress and interpreting, to the ability to help others make sense of a confusing predicament.” Holding is present when we show clear thinking, offer reassurance, orient each other to what is going on, and help our teams stick together. Through holding we can promote mutual support, maintain the continuity of our work, and show openness to a new vision as the crisis emerges.

During these uncertain times with limited opportunities to be in physical contact let us all commit to this different way of holding each other, by soothing distress, sharing information, and navigating forward with a clear sense of direction. These efforts will sustain the positive culture we hold dear, and uplift us through giving and receiving kindness and support. You can learn more about this concept and its impact on organizational leadership here.

Take Note

The Last Note

If you haven't had the chance to watch the Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony, please take the time do so. The commencement ceremony video also includes student reflections about their time here at VTCSOM and their hopes for the future. It's worth a look. 

Add Your Own Note

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