Progress Notes | March 2023

The month of March brings many celebrations and new beginnings across our VTCSOM campus similar to the spring flowers starting to bloom! The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine strategic plan highlights that we nurture a thriving culture of learning, which charges each of us to recognize how, when, and where we can contribute to an environment of growth, exploration, and service. Through small acts of kindness, we can all sustain a supportive and creative culture that impacts the well-being and learning of everyone at VTCSOM. I encourage you all to bloom in your own ways in the pursuit of individual and institutional excellence!

New beginnings are in sight for the Class of 2023 as Match Day is quickly approaching! On March 17th from 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m., we will celebrate the results of the Match with the Class of 2023 at the Jefferson Center. The annual VTCSOM Student Research Symposium will take place the following week on March 24th from noon to 5 p.m. throughout Riverside 2. This yearly symposium will feature poster presentations from the Class of 2023 detailing the research they conducted during their time at VTCSOM.

The month of March is designated as Women’s History Month. We have a very active Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) at VTCSOM that sponsors multiple events throughout the year. Last month, GWIMS hosted a panel featuring several women physicians with accomplishments beyond clinical medicine, including Dr. Nancy Hardt who spoke at the Class of 2022’s graduation ceremony! This month, GWIMS will present a panel on March 20th from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Women’s Fertility and Family Planning; we hope to see you there!

I want to take a moment to recognize a few GWIMS leaders for their significant contributions: Chloe Lessard, class of 2025, who serves as the student president, and Dr. Chelsea Ryan and Dr. Charlotta Jornlid who serve as co-presidents for the Internal Medicine Residents. While faculty members support them, these leaders and their executive boards orchestrate most of the idea generation, planning, and logistics of our GWIMS events. As the GWIMS faculty advisor, I am honored to work with bright and talented women leaders. I hope you will join me in celebrating their contribution to our community. Visit the GWIMS VTCSOM chapter website to learn more or become involved with GWIMS.

Enjoy the many wonderful highlights within this issue of Progress Notes, and the coming warmth that spring will bring. Don’t forget to “Spring Forward” an hour on Sunday, March 12th for the start of Daylight Savings Time!

Most sincerely,

Rebecca R. Pauly, MD
Vice Dean


  • Nancy Howell Agee, VTCSOM faculty member and president and CEO for Carilion Clinic, was recognized in Virginia Business magazine's list of Virginia's 50 most powerful and influential executives.
  • Brian Connor ’19 was selected to be chief resident, Department of Dermatology, for AY 2023-2024 at the University of Washington.
  • VTCSOM’s communications team received two Summit Awards recently from PRSA Blue Ridge, celebrating excellence in public relations for 2022. The team earned the gold award in the Public Relations Campaign category for its 2022 Giving Day efforts, which included planning, social media, video, graphic design, writing, special events and more. It was an outstanding team project by Ryan Anderson, Catherine Doss, Vianne Greek and Josh Meyer.
    VTCSOM earned the silver award for writing for Doss's Class of 2022 story.
  • Congratulations to Brittany May on her promotion to director of alumni relations.
  • Congratulations to Vydia Permashwar, associate professor in pediatrics, who has been named vice chair for that department. 
  • Mariah Rudd, VTCSOM faculty member and director for the office of continuing professional and faculty development at Carilion Clinic, happily expanded her family with the birth of baby Bennett Dean
  • Cheers to the 45 faculty members from 9 clinical rotations who received commendations from our students between September and December 2022. Thank you for providing our students with exceptional learning experiences. 
  • Martin Barylak, class of 2024, presented his poster titled Assessing The Effect of Unilateral Total Ankle Arthroplasty on Fall Risk During Gait Using Margin of Stability at the 2023 Orthopaedic Society conference.
  • Stephanie Hamlin, class of 2024, presented her poster titled Gait Symmetry in Patients with Unilateral and Bilateral End-Stage Arthritis at the 2023 Orthopaedic Society conference.
  • Katelyn Stebbins, MD/PhD student, was a participant in Virginia Tech’s Nutshell Games, which offer a fun speaking competition for graduate research students. She gave a 90 second presentation titled Losing Sight of What's Important: The Connection Between the Eyes and the Brain.



ARTiculation: Creativity in Medicine reflects the creative endeavors of some of the VTC community. This journal was initially inspired by the VTC Narrative Medicine course, which seeks to develop students’ attentive listening skills, empathy, reflectiveness, and narrative competence through extended patient interviews and creative response. It has now grown into a creative opportunity for all VTC students, residents, faculty, and staff to explore humanism in medicine. Volume 3 of ARTiculation is now available on our website.

headshot for Paige Jentsch

A warm welcome to Paige Markham Jentsch, financial specialist, who joined the VTCSOM family in February.


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

  • Family and Community Medicine: Taylor Dayton and Collen Mattock
  • Internal Medicine: Donald Arthur, Alec Fletcher, Hyder Husain, Charlotta Jornlid, Viraj Shah and Chunxiao Zhang
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology: Patricia Beauzile
  • Surgery: Scott Johnstone and Adam Maerz

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • In honor of Black History Month, VTCSOM's Diversity Inclusion and Belonging event Black Family Health, brought together nine Black physician panelists to talk about daily challenges, myths, and hopes and dreams in the medical profession. View the video recording along with transcript here. Thank you to Drs. Olivia Asamoah, Anthony Baffoe-Bonie, Azziza Bankole, Kimberly Clay, Ayesha Kelly, Calandra Quarles, Oluyemisi Solomon, Brooke Watkins, and Sharon Williams for your time and your expertise.
  • On April 11, the office of diversity, equity, and inclusion will host another Diversity Inclusion and Belonging event titled Ruining Dinner: Religion as the Silent Diversity
  • Holidays and observances in the month of March:
    • Women’s History Month
    • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
    • National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
    • National Irish American Heritage Month
    • March 13–April 15: Deaf History Month
    • March 22-April 21 (sundown to sundown): Ramadan
    • 1: St. David’s Day
    • 2 (sunset) to March 20 (sunset): Nineteen-Day Fast (Bahá’í)
    • 5: Orthodox Sunday
    • 7-8: Lailat al Bara’a/Lailat Al Baraah/Barat/Shab-e-Bara or Night of Forgiveness.
    • 7-8: Purim
    • 7-8: Holi
    • 8: International Women’s Day
    • 8-10: Hola Mohalla
    • 9: Asian-American Women’s and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day
    • 17: St. Patrick’s Day
    • 19: St. Joseph’s Day
    • 20: Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox
    • 20–21: Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year
    • 20–21: Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year
    • 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
    • 22-31: Chaitra Navaratri
    • 25: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
    • 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
    • 30: Ram Navami
    • 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
a collage of four images of the art show, with people gathered or looking at art
Community members enjoy the Healing Power of Hope exhibit at the opening reception.

Community Corner

  • The Healing Power of Hope: We had great attendance at the art show reception last week. You can continue to enjoy the art show at our Riverside 2 building until May. Find information about the exhibit, or to schedule a tour here.
  • Blood Drive: The Humanism in Medicine Club, Internal Medicine Club, and The VTC Chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association hosted their annual blood drive here at the medical school last month. The students registered 32 donors and helped the Red Cross to collect a total of 30 units! The blood from this drive will help support the lives of more than 90 patients, many right here in our area. WAY TO GO!!
  • Learning about Medicine: Adam Jacobowitz and Jake Grondin, members of the class of 2025, coordinated a program for a group of middle and high school students from the YouthHQ@Goodwill youth and teen center on Melrose Avenue. Nine students spent the morning touring the school and learning about different diagnostic procedures.
  • Coming this Spring - Bodies and Bites: Organized by Kris Rau, assistant professor in basic science education, and the VTCSOM Nutrition in Medicine club, this program uses hands-on activities and small group discussion to teach kids at the West End Center for Youth how their bodies work and how to keep healthy through good nutrition and exercise. Each session ends by making a healthy snack with the kids. The program relies on enthusiastic teams of medical students and graduate students from the FBRI to facilitate each of the groups.
    This spring, the group will be working with 4th and 5th graders, and there will be a neuroscience theme to the activities. If you’d like to be involved, contact Kris Rau.
  • Kids Tech University: Helena Carvalho, associate professor in basic science education, will be the keynote speaker at the third session of this year’s Kid’s Tech University on Saturday, March 18.
Collage of photos from giving day: hokie bird statue with a giving day sticker; Dean Learman speaking to donors; Renee LeClair with a gift basket.

Spotlight on Giving

A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s success on Giving Day! The annual Virginia Tech event, which began at noon on Feb. 15 and wrapped up 24 hours later, set records university-wide. More than 16,000 Hokies participated, raising more than $9.6 million to support students and programs.

VTCSOM surpassed its fundraising goal with more than $111,000 in gifts from a record 136 different donors, helping to unlock all the generous challenge gifts. The school’s Giving Day After Hours Social brought people together in support of the cause and to enjoy great food, drinks and music!

Thank you again for your support and for giving back to VTCSOM!

Humanism Notes

Do you have a Mr. Jensen in your life? Maybe you ARE one. This short video provides a powerful example of how compassion coupled with strength-finding can make such a difference in others’ lives, particularly those of children.

Take Note

Take Note

  • Call for Proposal: The Virginia Tech Professional Development Community of Practice is hosting its inaugural Professional Development Conference on May 4 at the North End Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, with the theme “Using Your Talent for Influencing Change and Solving Wicked Problems.” The conference committee is accepting proposals for presenters to share tools, resources, and strategies during 45-minute sessions in tracks such as Technology, Accessibility, Shared Governance, Leading by Example, Engagement Strategies, and Sharing Resources. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit proposals addressing the conference theme and fitting within one of the available tracks. The deadline for proposals is March 15.
  • Do you ever feel like you need to take a mid-day break and stretch your arms and legs? This spring get some 'you time' and join our on-site yoga series. A 45-minute yoga session meets at noon on the second and fourth Wednesdays through April in room 210. For questions, please email Emily Holt Foerst. Here's the full schedule:
    • March 8: Breathing exercises, guided mindfulness, and slow flow with Emily Holt Foerst
    • March 22: Ashtanga Vinyasa (strength & focus) with Nishika Raheja
    • April 12: Breathing exercises and slow flow with Emily Holt Foerst
    • April 26: Mindfulness meditation—restorative flow with Nishika Raheja
  • The Assistive Technologies Group at Virginia Tech has been working hard to get university wide access to a PDF remediation tool. This tool will allow you to fix PDFs and make them more accessible. Sign up to obtain a license for the PDF remediation tool
  • Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.

Upcoming Events

Keeper, the golden labrador, looking at a milk bone cookie

The Last Note

Happy Birthday to Keeper who celebrated his fifth birthday last month. His pawty was a blast!

Add Your Own Note

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