Progress Notes | November 2020

In conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) kick-off, VTCSOM launched our own site-specific CVC drive last month, and I’m excited to announce we have already met 97% of our $5,128 goal! With our donations, we have a chance to help deserving charitable organizations during this season of giving. Most of these agencies are finding themselves struggling now more than ever during these uncertain social and economic times. Our participation, along with the generous gifts already received, send a powerful message that the spirit of compassion and humanism that we espouse in our students is also reflected in our faculty and staff.

I was pleased to learn that VTCSOM received an Award of Distinguished Achievement from Virginia Tech for the highest percentage increase in total contributions from 2018-2019 during which our participation jumped from 38.46 to 45.31%. This year is sure to be a challenge due to the pandemic; but with the creativity of our campaign co-chairs Pam Adams and Courtney Powell, I know this year’s campaign can be just as successful as last.

Most CVC donations are made through tax-exempt payroll deductions, but there are other ways to give as well such as with cash, check, or credit card. You may designate that your gift to one or more of the 22 local charities in this year’s campaign, or for more choices, there is a link with all 1,000 on the university’s CVC page along with instructions on how to give at

For the list of local agencies or any other CVC information specific to VTCSOM, contact Pam or Courtney. In addition, watch for weekly emails updating us on how the campaign is going and virtual fundraisers that Pam and Courtney have in store.

Thanks in advance for your participation.

Be safe and be well,
Lee A. Learman

three photographs, detailed in story linked below
Kathy Dorey, David Trinkle, Emily Holt, Rebecca Pauly, Jennifer Bath, Natalie Karp, Douglas Grider, Paul Dallas


InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force

Since the last update, the seven working groups have read articles, reviewed a few books, met with administrative leaders to learn more about current programs and practices associated with the working groups, consulted medical educators at schools whose diversity, equity, and inclusion practices we want to emulate, and proposed three specific diversity-related issues (“working group priorities”) that the school should tackle. The VTCSOM Task Force chairs and the steering committee will begin to meet weekly to review the working group priorities. Read more about this and view past updates


Strategic Plan Update

The VTCSOM strategic planning process is off and running! A Town Hall meeting on October 13 was attended by more than 80 people. A survey of students, staff, faculty, and other constituent groups was sent out to approximately 1,500 people on October 20. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey, and let us know what you think. The Strategic Planning Committee held its first meeting on October 22 and began formulating specific plans for its work, including the organization of subcommittees and future sessions where we will gather feedback. Should you have questions or comments, please contact either of the committee’s co-chairs: Rebecca Pauly or David Musick.

Diversity and Inclusion

Last month’s Lunch and Learn featured a discussion about inclusive language and terminology and was led by Charlotte Baker with the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Tech. The graphic from her presentation is an excellent visual of the difference between the terms “equality” and “equity.”

A free webinar will feature three faculty members from Africa discussing how their experiences in Africa shape their understanding of racial and ethnic issues in the United States. Sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, the webinar will be Thursday, November 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To register, go to

Humanism Note

This touching and uplifting story from the future, told by older brother to younger siblings, looks back upon the 2020 pandemic with 20/20 hindsight. The poet and storyteller is Tomos Roberts, who lives in London and was born in New Zealand to Welsh parents.

Take Note

Upcoming Events

You have probably noticed new art on the walls of 2 Riverside. This fall’s show titled, “Art for the Journey,” looks a little different from past shows, as we follow recommended guidelines regarding gatherings in small spaces. Instead of an opening reception, we have taken the more than 100 pieces of art that were submitted and created this online gallery. You’ll also see that we’ve included several videos about the Art for the Journey organization as well as a few others that relate to populations of artists that are featured in the show, including women in prison, veterans, and Alzheimer’s patients.

We held a virtual alumni event last month that celebrated 10 years since we opened the doors of the medical school and welcomed the charter class. Guests included Dean Lee Learman, Dean Emerita Cynda Johnson, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Carilion Clinic President and CEO Nancy Agee, Charter Class President Matt Joy, and well-wishes from faculty, staff, and community members.

doodle by Steven White of masked student being donned with a white coat by a masked faculty member

The Last Note

What a fun surprise when Virginia Tech doodle artist Steven White created a sketch for our White Coat Ceremony!

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