Progress Notes | August 2022

The end of the summer is always an exciting time at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine as we greet new faces arriving on campus and reunite with those returning from well-earned relaxation. We were thrilled to see the influx of new students as the Class of 2026 went through orientation and began classes, receiving a warm welcome to our school and community. At the same time, we also know that after several years of dealing with COVID-19, we must exercise caution and emphasize safety when coming back together.

This month, we are preparing for another series of exciting transitions at VTCSOM. Dr. Rebecca Pauly will serve as our new Vice Dean, building on the legacy of excellence set by Dr. Dan Harrington. Dr. Jed Gonzalo, a leading educator and researcher in Health Systems Science will join VTCSOM as our new Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education, bringing an exciting collaborative vision and distinctive educational expertise to our school. This role stands on the shoulders of Dr. Rick Vari, a giant in medical education. Dr. Vari founded our interprofessional education domain, codifying the school’s commitment to teamwork and team performance. In a time of transition, we confidently build from a firm foundation, which gives us the opportunity to grow in new and unexplored ways.

VTCSOM’s strategic plan highlights collaboration and excellence ‘in all facets of academic life.’ In our Health Systems Science and Interprofessional (HSSIP) Domain, we focus specifically on the powerful interpersonal skills of teamwork. Throughout the first two years of HSSIP, many topics are covered, but all are built on the idea that healthcare is a fundamentally collaborative endeavor. Teamwork skills, such as mutual respect, communication, and leadership are taught as the building blocks for the rest of the information shared in HSSIP.

Putting these concepts into action, the domain leaders have deliberately recruited nine ‘clinical champions’ from VTCSOM’s clinical departments at Carilion Clinic. These designated faculty partners will weave health systems science into medical education in the first two years of classroom education as well as highlight real-world examples of health systems science principles in the clinical setting. This approach is unique. In partnership with TEACH, our teaching excellence collaborative, professional development in health systems science is ongoing. I highlight these examples of partnership between the VTCSOM and our health system partner to show the deliberate alignment of interests and deepening of relationships around health systems science.

Our medical students have many other opportunities to experience collaboration and the pursuit of excellence. They work with interprofessional teams of mentors and graduates students as they complete a rigorous longitudinal research curriculum spanning 3 ½ years. They complete the VTCSOM Engage service learning requirement to support the needs of our Roanoke community and reflect on the value of that experience. And many of our students pursue self-directed collaborations and interest groups to advance research, innovation, public health, and health equity.

As Dr. Vari and Dr. Harrington and countless others have taught us, we cannot achieve excellence alone. We must do so with deliberate collaboration. We welcome Dr. Pauly and Dr. Gonzalo in their new roles, and we look forward to benefiting from their new ideas for advancing collaboration and excellence at VTCSOM.

Welcome also to the Class of 2026!

Lee A. Learman




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

  • Internal Medicine:  Shawn Mordhorst
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine: Kathlyn LeSauvage
  • Surgery: Kathryn Bass
Middle and high school students from An Achievable Dream Academy enjoyed a day of exploration at VTCSOM and Carilion Clinic.

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • VTCSOM had such a great day hosting a group of amazing kids from An Achievable Dream Middle and High School last month! They spent the day exploring the health care field by touring the medical school, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and practicing their suturing and ultrasound skills. Not too many people get a selfie from the helipad at the top of Carilion RMH!
  • NL Bishop hosted students from the incoming class of 2026 for a pre-orientation field trip to the Harrison Museum. Afterwards, he took the students for a guided tour around Roanoke to show them the landmarks exhibited in the museum.
  • The next Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging event Black Bodies and Racialized Medical Technologies will take place Tuesday, August 9. Speaker Jariah Strozier will give her talk “A Black Feminist’s Critique of the Crooked Room of Medicine (CRoM): Innovation of Thick Studies and the Gender, Race, Weight Matrix.”
  • The InclusiveVT Summit (formerly the Advancing Diversity Summit) is Wednesday, August 10 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. This is mostly an in-person event, but parts will be available in hybrid format through Canvas.
  • The Health Sciences and Technology (HS&T) Center for Inclusion, located in 1 Riverside - Room 205B will open in August. In celebration of the opening, there will be a ribbon cutting on August 18 at 2:30 p.m.
  • VTCSOM will be represented at the Annual National HBCU Week Conference in September. The event is sponsored by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Holidays and observances in the month of August:
    • 1: Lughnasadh, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season
    • 1: Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus
    • 5–6: Tisha B’Av, a fast in commemoration of the destruction of two holy and sacred temples of Judaism
    • 6: Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast of the Transfiguration)
    • 7–8 (sundown to sundown): Ashura
    • 11: Raksha Bandhan
    • 12: Hungry Ghost Festival
    • 13: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
    • 13–15: Obon (Ullambana)
    • 15: Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary
    • 15: Dormition of the Theotokos, a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches that commemorates the “falling asleep,” or death, of Mary the Theotokos (“Mother of God”) and her bodily resurrection before ascending into heaven
    • 17: Marcus Garvey Day
    • 18–19: Krishna Janmashtami
    • 21: Khordad Sal (Birth of prophet Zoroaster)
    • 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean
    • 24: Paryushana Parvarambha
    • 26: Women’s Equality Day
    • 31: Ganesh Chaturthi
Dr. Robert Winn and Dr. William Lee sitting in armchairs with a flower arrangement between them.
Dr. Robert Winn, director of VCU Massey Cancer Center, and Rev. Dr. William Lee, founding Chairman of New Horizons Healthcare.

Community Corner

  • Congratulations to third year medical student Lauren (LB) Canary, newly announced recipient of a Medical Society of Virginia Foundation’s 2022 Salute to Service award! The Salute to Service awards recognize members of the physician community for their exceptional commitment to care. Individuals are chosen for their outstanding service in advancing patient safety, quality improvement, and service to the uninsured and underserved communities, both in local areas and abroad. LB was nominated for the award by David Trinkle and Cynthia Morrow, and her name was submitted by many more faculty members when the call for nominations arrived. LB works tirelessly and selflessly to change her community for the better, and is both a leader and an inspiration to her fellow students. VTCSOM could not be prouder to have LB represent us at the MSV Annual Meeting this October.
  • Last month, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine hosted Generational Health: An Intimate Conversation on Black Men and Health Disparities featuring Dr. Robert Winn and moderated by Rev. Dr. William Lee. What an amazing and informative event! Many thanks go to Black Father Family for organizing this event. Use the link above to watch the full conversation, or the link below to watch the short event recap video. 
Neslihan Ari

Spotlight on Giving

As a fourth-year student at VTCSOM, Neslihan Ari is well on her way to earning her medical degree. However, finding her way to the school from her native Istanbul Turkey was more than challenging. As a recipient of VTCSOM’s Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship, Neslihan hopes to serve her community and pay it forward

Humanism Notes

We all face times when we’re overwhelmed by responsibilities. It’s part of life, especially for those of us who have chosen professions supporting others. Here are some life lessons from Samson, the medical service dog about the value of love, trust, and friendship that has no bounds.

Take Note

Take Note

  • Did you know? Your Elements profile also doubles as an Experts @ VT profile, and you can activate it in just a few steps. By setting your Elements to be viewable by the public, you'll be searchable from the Experts website. Sending an email with your public profile web address to Vianne Greek at will get your profile linked on the VTCSOM website.
  • Virginia Tech's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is hosting Welcome Back Symposium 2022: Teaching Strategies for Increased Student Engagement on Tuesday, August 16 in 260 New Classroom Building on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus. This is a one-day event focused on motivating and engaging students in courses to increase academic success.
  • The New Faculty Welcome program, held on August 18, is an annual event offered by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost with contributions from other university units that support faculty at Virginia Tech. It is designed to provide overview information about the university, hear from other faculty, and network with new faculty and leadership. For teaching or research faculty, additional sessions will be offered on August 19
  • Virginia Tech’s Accessible Technologies has opened the application process for employees to become certified accessibility professionals. Four members of the VTCSOM family so far have completed CPACC (certified professional in accessibility core concepts), which focuses more on concepts for universal design for learning. Will you be next? Applications for the accessibility certification grants are open until August 18, and the classes will start September 5. These courses are open to all faculty and staff with a VT PID. 
  • The Medical Mutual Mentorship program is designed to foster community and mutual mentoring for disabled health care providers and trainees. This is a virtual group sponsored by the Stanford Medicine Alliance for Disability, Inclusion, and Equity, Medical Students with Disability and Chronic Illness, and the Society for Physicians with Disabilities. Fill out this interest form to learn more about the medical mutual mentorship program.
  • Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.

Upcoming Events

A collage of four images. Large: M1 students interaction; three thumbnails: people gathering in the Carilion box; a closeup of three students interacting; a student smiling

The Last Note

As is the tradition at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the M1 pre-orientation activities included a baseball game at Salem Memorial BallPark. A good time was had by all.

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