Progress Notes | March 2022

My message for March shines a light on one of our core values – Innovation and Discovery. The value includes two important components. We commit to build knowledge and paradigms for transformative health care, as well as excellence in scholarship including teaching, research, evidence-based care and lifelong learning.

On March 25 we will celebrate the Innovation and Discovery exemplified by our senior students at our annual Medical Student Research Symposium. In oral and poster presentations, we will learn about the hypothesis-driven longitudinal research projects they have conducted at VTCSOM. The range of projects and mentors will reflect the vibrant research ecosystem at VTC, and the M4s’ depth of understanding will underscore the rigor and success of our research domain curriculum.

The annual research symposium occurs one week after Match Day, that fateful day when our future graduates learn where they will be spending the next stage of their careers in graduate medical education. Our research domain makes the transition to residency easier in a couple of important ways. First, the students’ accomplishments in research distinguish them from students from other schools who have spent less time developing the tools and habits of scientific reasoning. Second, once they become resident physicians our graduates demonstrate advanced skills in clinical reasoning and appraisal of the scientific literature to inform their care of patients. Put simply, our students are more competitive applicants for their desired specialties and better prepared to take full advantage of their residency training.

True to our mission statement, VTCSOM is committed to developing physician thought leaders. Our students learn critical skills through research that follow them into the world and help them provide the best patient care. They also exemplify our values of collaboration and excellence, diversity, equity and inclusion, and humanism and compassion. The synergies of these values together define the wonderful physicians that we contribute to the future of health care.

Lee A. Learman


  • Hillary and Sean O’Boyle (both VTC class of 2017) welcomed a baby boy Patrick Schaefer O’Boyle on February 2, 2022
  • Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion Clinic President and CEO, and VTCSOM faculty member, was recognized in Virginia Business magazine's list of the 50 Most Influential Virginians
  • Joe Gieck, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine and Director of Psychology Services of Carilion Clinic, discussed COVID Shame with TIME Magazine and WJLA-TV
  • Mark Greenawald, professor of family and community medicine, was a featured speaker of the AMA Moving Medicine podcast, the Great Reprioritization
  • A big Congratulations to Emily Holt Foerst, director of Academic Counseling and Enrichment Services, for successfully defending her dissertation and earning her PhD from Virginia Tech
  • Michael Nolan and John McNamara presented two posters at Virginia Tech’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning conference: “COVID-19 Modifications to a First Year Medical Human Anatomy Course: Effects on Student Performance on End- of-Course Examinations” and “Linking Pedagogy with Assessment through Reflective Practice: What Faculty Can Do to Ensure Success”
  • START NOW, a mental health intervention program developed by Robert Trestman, chair of psychiatry and behavioral medicine and colleagues, was recently featured on SciPod, a UK-based science podcast
  • Julie Zielinski, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with Carilion Clinic Orthopaedics and associate professor with VTCSOM, was voted in to the Board of Directors for Camp Holiday and will also serve on its medical advisory committee
  • Congratulations to faculty members who were acknowledged in Carilion Clinic’s Cheers for Peers publication


brightly colored image with the word Thank You

Giving Day - Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who supported the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and made Giving Day 2022 a success! With 124 donors and more than $101,000 raised, this was our best #VTGivingDay yet. You and more than 15,750 of your fellow Hokies came together, giving over $8.4 million. Thank you so very much. 

closeup of a map of the united states with someone placing a pin on the map

Register for Match Day

March 18 is the Match Day 2022. Even more important to our students than graduation, Match Day is when they learn where they will be spending the next chapter of their lives as resident physicians. In a private ceremony, held at the same time as other medical students across the country, they are given an envelope that reveals where they matched for residency. Then, in a public ceremony, students will share with their classmates, friends and family members where they’re headed. It’s a moving, celebratory time, and we invite you to watch the public portion of the event


Welcome to New Faculty

Welcome to all the new faculty who joined us in February:

  • Family and Community Medicine: Jonathan Barrett and Samuel Turner
  • Internal Medicine: Justin Lodenkemper
  • Orthopaedic Surgery: John Sloboda
  • Pediatrics: Dalton Renick and Sarah Shepherd

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • Last month Dean Learman presented the quarterly update for the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force. This Mile Marker 3 update provided an in-depth look at where we’ve come so far with advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at VTC and where we’re headed. Interesting, colorful graphics make the site especially engaging.
  • VTCSOM celebrated Black History Month by highlighting Black physicians who have helped to advance medical education and patient care. Special thanks to Luma Abunimer, class of 2023, who researched and wrote the profiles.
  • In Black Medicine in the Star City, part of the Diversity and Belonging series, NL Bishop and Jordan Bell gave a visual tour of Roanoke with lots of interesting stories about healthcare in Roanoke - who the doctors were, who the patients were, what the culture was like. It's well worth a listen.
  • Holidays and observances in the month of March:
    • Women’s History Month
    • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
    • National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
    • 1: Maha Shivaratri
    • 1: Mardi Gras
    • 1: Shrove Tuesday
    • 1: St. David’s Day
    • March 2 (sunset) to March 20 (sunset):  Nineteen-Day Fast (Bahá’í)
    • 2: Ash Wednesday
    • 3-5: Losar, Tibetan Buddhist New Year
    • 6: Cheesefare Sunday or Forgiveness Sunday, the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent for Orthodox Christians 
    • 7: Beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian faith
    • 8: International Women’s Day
    • 9: Asian-American Women’s and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day
    • 16-17: Purim
    • 17: St. Patrick’s Day
    • 18: Holi
    • 18-19: Lailat al Bara’a/ Shab-e-Bara/Night of Forgiveness
    • 18-20: Hola Mohalla (Sikh festival)
    • 19: St. Joseph’s Day
    • 20: Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans
    • 21-22: Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year, celebrated on the spring equinox
    • 21-22: Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year held annually on the spring equinox
    • 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
    • 25: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
    • 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
an abstract depiction of three people: white, brown, and black in an embrace
Artwork by Tykeisha Swan Patrick, All of Us, 2021

Community Corner

  • The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine's Creativity in Health Education Program is accepting original art in all media through March 18 for our spring Black Love exhibit celebrating the works and contributions of our local and regional artists of color. Artwork should reflect the concept of experiencing Black love in your community, family, school, or self.
  • The recording from last month’s virtual panel discussion “An Unfinished Conversation on a Contested Space,” hosted by the offices of Community and Culture and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is now available. 
Nancy and Susan Lucas with the hokie bird. Ali Toloczko, first recipient of the scholarship, with the hokie bird statue.
Nancy (left) and Susan Lucas with the Hokie Bird. Ali Toloczko is the first student to receive the Nancy Lucas Memorial Hokie Physician Scholarship

Spotlight on Giving

Like with everything in her life, when it came to being a Virginia Tech fan, Nancy Lucas went all out. It was in honor of Nancy’s passion in life that her sister, Susan Lucas, established the Nancy Lucas Memorial Hokie Physician Scholarship at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Humanism Notes

February 25 was the 2022 Thank a Resident Day. Introduced by the Gold Humanism Honors Society in 2018, this day recognizes residents as an “integral part of the health care team, often serving as indispensable resources for medical students, especially during a clinical clerkship.” By celebrating our VTC – Carilion Clinic residents on this day, we celebrated their engagement as teachers and mentors to our students. We also celebrated the intangible ways that they influenced the development of our students’ professional identities as compassionate, thoughtful and knowledgeable physicians. Thank a Resident Day comes once a year, but there are opportunities each day to thank the people in our professional lives who set an example that inspires us. Our gratitude nourishes these role models in a virtuous cycle.

Take Note

Take Note

  • I See You: Navigating Free Speech and Civil Discourse,” featuring professors Cornel West and Robert George, will be held on March 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Haymarket Theater, on the second floor of Squires Student Center at 290 College Ave., Blacksburg. This program will also be offered virtually.
  • Accessible Technologies is hosting a number of accessibility-related courses this spring, including PDFs, PowerPoint and Google Slides, using Ally in Canvas, and universal design for learning.
  • Virginia Tech users (including all VTCSOM faculty and staff) can obtain free access to the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) Institutional Membership. Benefits include access to the annual series of IAAP live webinars; access to IAAP webinar archive directory featuring dozens of sessions; discounts to industry webinars; and more.
  • Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.

Upcoming Events

a collage of four images where the LaConte, LeClair/Binks, Rau, and Parker kids view and judge the exhibits prepared by Virginia Tech graduate students
“I had a great time! It was fun judging the older kids! My favorite poster was ‘Testing Horse Boogers.’ It was neat!” This was the testimonial from Nicholas Rau, the son of assistant professor Kris Rau who, along with the LaConte, LeClair/Binks, and Parker kids, was a judge in Flip the Fair.

The Last Note

Youngsters from Roanoke area schools gathered at the Roanoke City Library’s Melrose branch last month to learn about horse boogers, breast milk, weed killer, and other riveting topics at Flip the Fair, a chance for the younger kids to judge presentations by Virginia Tech graduate students about their research. Sponsored by the University’s Center for Communicating Science, Global Change Center, and the Communicating Science Club, the event gave graduate students a chance to explain their research and a chance for the younger ones to become interested in research.

Add Your Own Note

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