March 1, 2021
Progress Notes | March 2021
Last spring, I hosted a VTCSOM Town Hall following national events that brought systemic racism and violent policing in the Black community into a painful spotlight. The Town Hall was an important first step toward identifying opportunities to improve the school’s programs and practices fostering inclusion, diversity and equity. On July 28, 2020, 158 VTCSOM students, faculty, staff, and friends of the school joined in a Community Forum. What followed was a tremendous heart-and-soul effort carried out by more than 100 faculty, staff, and students as part of the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force.
Now, eight months later, the scope and intensity of the task force’s effort has culminated in a thoughtful report memorializing our process, highlighting 15 key recommendations, and listing the themes and >125 specific recommendations emerging from the seven working groups.
Where do we go from here?
February was spent debriefing with the working groups and making sure we identified budget items in time for our FY22 budget request. Next, the senior leadership team will hold a virtual retreat this month to review key recommendations and finalize the implementation timeline. I will hold a town hall on March 22 at 5:30 p.m. to update the VTCSOM community on next steps.
Successful implementation of the task force recommendations will help our medical school become identified as a transforming organization. We will show commitment to intentional restructuring with inclusive decision-making and auditing to fuel continued improvement. We will partner with other institutions to improve the health and well-being of our community by dismantling racism.
As dean I welcome the opportunity to lead our team at VTCSOM with shared accountability on the action steps ahead. The journey has really just begun, and I look forward to proceeding on to the next leg of it with each of you.
Lee A. Learman
News Around Campus
- Medical students adapt health fair during the pandemic to continue serving refugee and immigrant families
- Third Colorectal Cancer Awareness Week runs through March 7
- VTCSOM Medical Student Research Symposium to be held March 26
- Early career biomedical researcher gets professional boost through NIMH diversity supplement program
- A big Thank You to everyone who came out for the Docs for Morgan Virtual Hoops game in January. Your support yielded 55 gifts totaling $5,331 to go to the Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship Fund.
- Another big show of gratitude to those who participated in the annual Giving Day. Our goal this year was to have 50 donations. We are thrilled to report that we more than doubled that goal. With 105 donors, we raised $55,783 for the school in the single biggest fundraising day of the year. Money raised during Giving Day supports academic programs, scholarships and other initiatives at the school.
- Congratulations to Jennifer Cleveland for successfully directing her first block for the Basic Science domain.
- Kudos to Kristin Eden as emcee for our first VTCSOM Kahoots! Virtual Trivia Game sponsored by the Employee Engagement Committee. She did a phenomenal job of keeping the game running smoothly and helping to make it fun! She may have missed her calling!
- Catherine Doss, communications manager, has completed the training to become a SafeZone Ally through Virginia Tech.
- Applause for Hannah Hudson who has been promoted to admissions manager.
- Adelaida Stambol expresses her gratitude to our IT team: Brian, Dustin, Andre, and Patrick. She says, “They are always there if I need any kind of technical assistance. They inform us of any changes and provide instructions. During the pandemic, Andre helps me to post Block I-VIII student group signs to the PBL rooms. All of them are ready to jump immediately and help.”
- Angelica Witcher, director of student affairs and instructor department of interprofessionalism, presented at the Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA) annual conference, Justice-minded peer group mentoring dynamics among educational leaders. Paper published in conference proceedings. Co-authors: Mullen, C. A., Boyles, E. & Klimaitis, C. C.
- The Virtual Graduation Celebration for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine's Class of 2020 was chosen to receive a Bronze Award for Excellence in the Special Events, Projects, Programs, or Campaigns category in the AAMC Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) Awards for Excellence. This award recognized the work of the medical school’s advancement, enrollment management, and student affairs teams.
Andrew Binks, director of faculty development in the Department of Basic Science Education, co-authored a reference paper in Comprehensive Physiology (formerly the Handbook of Physiology) published by the American Physiological Society. The paper, Air Hunger: A Primal Sensation and Primary Element of Dyspnea is a 35-page state-of-the-art review of our understanding of the physiology of shortness of breath.
Welcome to Monica Crouse who is serving as our interim human resources manager. Monica joins us from Virginia Tech's Division of Human Resources. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lisa Howard continues to serve as human resources coordinator for VTCSOM and is your first stop for HR questions. Lisa may be reached at email@example.com.
Diversity and Inclusion
- VTCSOM celebrated Black History Month by highlighting Black physicians who have helped to advance medical education and patient care.
- Have you signed up for our next Diversity Lunch and Learn to be held Thursday, March 11 from 1 to 2 p.m. by Zoom? This session, focusing on Principles of Community, will feature a short learning module followed by a conversation about what do the Principles of Community mean, and why are they referenced so often. Register here, and you will receive a link and passcode to the session.
Strategic Planning Committee Update
The Strategic Planning Committee is continuing its work and making good progress. The month of January was very busy with engagement sessions wherein various groups gave additional input on the future direction of the school and areas of recommended focus.
Themes which have emerged from these sessions included: 1) opportunities and infrastructure for faculty to conduct research; 2) increased community engagement; 3) issues pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion; and 4) enhanced collaboration across all sectors of our academic medical center.
We also have begun exploring how to best incorporate the recommendations of the InclusiveVTCSOM task force into our school's overall strategic plan. Our committee's goal is to produce a draft strategic plan by early to mid-April, and then gather additional feedback before publishing our final plan. As always, we welcome your ideas and input!
Being present is so important to our roles as educators, health professionals, family members, friends and confidants. Over the past year, our ability to give the gift of presence to others has been barraged by external threats. These new concerns are layered on top of the baseline pre-pandemic challenges we all may face and that some communities face inequitably. How do we find our way back so we can accept the invitations of others to be present? This aptly named poem offers hope and insight.
- Several positions are open at VTCSOM. If you know someone of might be interested in any of these, contact Monica Crouse for more information. They include:
- Judges are needed for the 2021 Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair. If you’re interested in judging, please complete this brief judge’s application form. For questions, contact Kris Rau.
- Collaborative Computing Solutions (CCS) is partnering with Microsoft this spring, offering training events to help you better utilize the features available in Microsoft apps. These include Microsoft Power BI on March 23, Microsoft Power Automate on April 2, and Microsoft Forms on April 7. All sessions are free to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students, but registration is required for each event you plan to attend.
- Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.
- March 15-21 – Brain School (hosted by Fralin Biomedical Research Institute)
- March 19 – Match Day*
- March 22 – InclusiveVTCSOM Town Hall
- March 25, April 15, May 6 – Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lectures (hosted by Fralin Biomedical Research Institute)
- March 26 – Medical Student Research Symposium
- April 9-10 – Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair
- May 8 – Graduation*
*Specific plans for these events will be posted on our website's event page as they are made available.
The Last Note
Are you a trivia guru? A self-proclaimed nerd? Or someone who just likes to have fun? The Employee Engagement Committee wants YOU for VTCSOM monthly games of Kahoot! This game-based learning platform lets you test your knowledge against your friends in a virtual environment. And it’s A LOT of fun! Just ask Julie Borden, our first winner.
VTCSOM Kahoot! First Thursday of each month at 4:30 p.m.
To learn more, contact Courtney Powell
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