September 8, 2020
Progress Notes | September 2020
After almost six months since the rapid and pervasive spread of COVID-19 forced Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine to halt in-person instruction and clinical rotations, life here is looking cautiously brighter. All four classes have returned to mostly on-campus instruction and clinical rotations, and some of our employees have elected to return to the office from teleworking arrangements. Everyone is wearing masks and becoming accustomed to our new procedures for keeping our people and spaces as safe as possible.
Riding on an initiative of the New River Valley Public Health Task Force, of which Virginia Tech is a member, the university unveiled a Community Wellness Commitment to encourage community members to care for the health and well-being of others. VTCSOM and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC worked together to bring on partners from the Roanoke Valley. You may have already seen wellness commitment posters like this one with our logos and other local organizations around the medical school and broader Roanoke Valley. We hope seeing it around campus and town reminds us that we all have a part to play in the health of our community, particularly during this pandemic.
I am proud to say that in the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) nearly 90 of our students signed up to be part of the Virginia Department of Health’s Medical Reserve Corps. One third of them have taken assignments to be volunteer contact tracers. We give a sincere thank you to these students in Recognitions below.
One other bit of news from the VDH is that Cynthia Morrow, co-leader of our Health Systems Science and Interprofessional Practice (HSSIP) domain, has accepted the position of director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts of the Virginia Department of Health. Cynthia will remain co-leader of HSSIP, and we expect her new role will facilitate many opportunities for collaboration.
As we look ahead to the coming weeks and months, continued vigilance in our professional and personal lives will directly affect our ability to continue in-person and clinical teaching and learning. Consistent habits of social distancing, masking, and hand-washing give us the power to influence the future of our community’s health through shared commitment and determination. We are truly all in this together.
Stay safe and be well,
Lee A. Learman
News Around Campus
- We were honored to give members of Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors a masked and socially distanced tour of the medical school while they were in Roanoke for their meeting.
- Medical student Natalia Sutherland envisions future in medicine close to her Hispanic roots.
- Cynthia Morrow, co-leader for the health systems science and interprofessional practice domain, takes on new role as new the health director for the VDH Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
- Dean Lee Learman, along with the Virginia Department of Health, extend a sincere thank you to VTCSOM students, faculty, and staff who have signed up to be part of VDH’s Medical Reserve Corps and volunteered to be contact tracers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hailey Gosnell, class of 2021, has been selected as one of ten medical
students for the 2020 American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Medical Student Awards.
- Mark Greenawald, vice chair of family and community medicine, was a guest on public radio’s “With Good Reason” speaking about physician burnout and his PeerRXMed program.
- Malek Bouzaher, class of 2020; Dave Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture and interim chair of interprofessionalism; and Brock Mutcheson, assistant dean for assessment and program evaluation, recently had their article titled, Service Learning and HSSIP Interprofessional Service Learning in Medical Education: a Year-Over-Year Assessment of Student Feedback published in Medical Science Educator.
- Allison Bowersock, assistant professor of basic science education, was co-author, along with colleagues from Simmons University and Northshore Medical Group, of a publication titled, Move It or Lose It: Summarizing Peer-reviewed Evidence for Practicing What You Preach that appeared in Sports Medicine Reports.
InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force
Under the leadership of co-chairs, Michael Jeremiah, chair of family and community medicine; Fidel Valea, chair of obstetrics and gynecology; and Patricia Wooten, human resources manager, the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been moving forward since it was officially announced in late July.
More than 100 members of the community are serving on seven working groups to “advance an inclusive environment that attracts and retains the best talent, values diversity of life experiences and perspectives, and encourages innovation in our pursuit of equity.” The first things needed were orientation sessions for facilitators and co-leaders. In addition, the group decided how it will share information and highlight the progress of the working groups. Starting this month, regular updates will be added to the website.
We encourage you to submit any questions to the group via the link under Task Force Member Resources on the website.
Diversity and Inclusion
- Virginia Tech Police Chief Mac Babb will be among the panelists in a webinar on the intersection of racism, justice, and community resilience.
Wednesday, September 9 3:30-5 p.m.
- Applications are being accepted for Accessibility Certification Grants, which go to selected candidates throughout the university to become certified accessibility professionals. According to Vianne Greek, web designer, who recently completed this certification, the Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) program “provides a great overview of how we can create a more accessible world.” Deadline to apply for these grants is Friday September 11.
- Take part in the Self-Guided Gainsboro History Tour 5K. Hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, this virtual 5K is part of the Welcoming Roanoke campaign for equality and inclusion. Kickoff is Monday, September 14.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health is hosting a virtual symposium to highlight state, tribal, territorial, and community-based efforts to address COVID-19 among racial and ethnic minority populations.
Thursday, September 17 noon to 6 p.m.
VTCSOM’s Narrative Medicine elective, co-taught by Brian and Cyndy Unwin, is based on the premise that the effective practice of medicine requires the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence leads to a more humanistic understanding of the patient experience. It also promotes a greater ability of physicians to express the emotional quality of our experiences with patients.
The three cohorts of students who have completed the elective have created stories, poems, paintings, songs, and more – to reflect on their experience as student doctors. Their work was so outstanding, it is being featured in an online publication for all to enjoy.
- We extend a warm welcome to the parents of the class of 2024, for whom this is the first issue of Progress Notes. Past issues of Progress Notes are also available on our website.
- A reminder to all that you can find us on various forms of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Test your knowledge with the VTC Library's Constitution and Citizenship Day Quiz.
- Did you know that LinkedIn Learning, formerly known as Lynda.com, is available to everyone at Virginia Tech, including faculty, staff, and students? Check it out. You might be surprised what you can learn!
The Last Note
Our traditional class photo on the steps of VTCSOM during new-student orientation looked a little different this year. For safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to get creative. Luckily, drone photography allowed our students to safely distance themselves while still posing for a group shot. This one will go down in VTCSOM history!
Add Your Own Note
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