Progress Notes | April 2023

March ended on a high note as our Class of 2023 all matched into categorical residency programs in their top-choice specialties. They will enter 15 different specialties situated at 23 academic health centers throughout the U.S., from the northern climes of Seattle and Vermont to the southern warmth of Gainesville and Dallas. We’re delighted for their success and eagerly anticipate their accomplishments during residency and beyond! See our photo gallery and video of the day in the Last Note section below.

Nearly half of our graduates will pursue careers in the primary care specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, and OBGYN. One-third will train to become specialists in general surgery, neurosurgery, otolaryngology, or anesthesiology. Five will train in emergency medicine, three in psychiatry or neurology, and two in diagnostic radiology. Virginia will remain the home of eight M4s including six (14%) at Carilion Clinic – VTC for residencies in Emergency Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, OBGYN and Neurosurgery as well as two who matched at UVA in Pediatrics and Diagnostic Radiology. Other popular match destinations include programs in North Carolina (Duke, UNC, Carolinas, New Hanover), Maryland (U Maryland, Johns Hopkins), California (U Southern Cal, UC San Diego, UCSF-Fresno, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara), New York (U Rochester, Columbia, Montefiore – Albert Einstein), and New England (Brigham & Women’s, Mass General, U Mass, Yale).

April marks the first full month of spring, a month that includes several holidays for members of faith traditions including Ramadan (March 22 – April 21), Easter (April 9), Orthodox Easter (April 16), and Passover (April 5-13). Religious identities and practices are more diverse in our region than meets the eye. If you are interested in discussing how religious identity fits into diversity and inclusion work, I encourage you to register for Ruining Dinner: Religion as the Silent Diversity on Tuesday, April 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Riverside 2 Auditorium (M203). This event is sponsored by VTCSOM as part of our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Series. In addition, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion section below has a comprehensive list of holidays and celebrations in the month of April.

In other exciting news we look forward to hosting a visit from Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke on Wednesday, April 26, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The President and Provost are planning visits to each Virginia Tech college to engage faculty and staff in discussion. This will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and hear the perspectives of Drs. Sands and Clarke on topics you submit either in advance or in person. We are sending out more information about the visit through departmental and other email lists with a web link to submit questions. We hope you will be able to take part in this engagement opportunity in person or by Zoom!

Lee A. Learman


  • Andrew Behnke, assistant professor in internal medicine and chief of Carilion Clinic Endocrinology, recently returned from his Fulbright Scholarship to The Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Republic of Moldova.
  • Andrew Binks, associate professor in basic science education, was elected President of the Dyspnea Society, an international collaborative society of researchers and clinicians with a common interest in the mechanisms and management of shortness-of-breath.
  • Katherine Coffey-Vega, associate professor in internal medicine, received the American Medical Directors Association and Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine's 2023 Choosing Wisely Award for her impactful, cutting-edge quality improvement programs impacting the care of older adults.
  • Heather Mason, curricular and media coordinator with TEACH, was selected for an Accessibility Professional Development Grant to join the Spring 2023 cohort learning community.
  • Congratulations to Alex Rico and Dale Worrell on their respective promotions to junior systems administrator and education technology specialist. 
  • Congratulations to Brian Stanford, VTCSOM facilities manager, for becoming a Certified Educational Facilities Professional.
  • Shari Whicker, assistant dean for faculty development, was recently selected to serve as chair-elect for the Southern Group on Education Affairs (SGEA) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Section.
  • Cheers to the 46 faculty members from nine clinical rotations and clerkships who received commendations from our students between January and February 2023. Thank you for providing our students with exceptional learning experiences. 
  • Please check the Diversity and Inclusion section of the newsletter to learn about the Dean's Diversity Champions and 2023-24 Aequitas Health Honor Society Fellows.
  • Patrick Barrett, class of 2023, presentedCan Video-Assisted Replace In-Person Occupational Therapy After Carpometacarpal Arthtoplasty? A Noninferiority Study at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.
  • NL Bishop, senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion was the keynote speaker at the Local Office on Aging annual meeting.
  • Liam Cleary and Brook Mitchell, class of 2024, along with VTCSOM faculty members and physicians from Carilion Clinic and the Allegheny Health Network presented their recently published research (listed below) as a poster at the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons meeting and from the podium at Virginia Orthopedic Society meeting. It will also be presented as a poster at the Carilion Clinic Research Day.
  • Faculty members from TEACH and VTCSOM Sarah Harendt, Avery Mahaney, Mariah Rudd, David Musick, and Shari Whicker presented “The Interdisciplinary MAP of Mentorship: A Circular Model to Integrate Junior Faculty within Health Professions Education” at the 2023 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (CHEP) at Virginia Tech.
  • Sarah Harendt, Natalie Karp, Mariah Rudd, and Shari Whicker presented “Intentionally Designing Clinical Faculty Professional Development to Support Health Systems Science Integration within Medical Education” at the same CHEP conference.
  • Cara Spivey, clinical research coordinator, presented “Medical School Student Research: The Role of the Clinical Research Coordinator” at the Association of Clinical Research Professionals monthly meeting.


head shot. details below

A warm welcome to Xiao Zhu, evaluation and assessment coordinator, who joined the VTCSOM family in March.


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

  • Internal Medicine: Yousuf Khan
  • Pediatrics: Lauren Dowden
  • Radiology: Leah Britton

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022-23 Dean’s Diversity Champions Award, which recognizes significant achievements of faculty and students toward developing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
    • Class of 2025: Chloe Lessard and Mosufa Zainab
    • Class of 2024: Casey Engel
    • Faculty: Vydia Permashwar and Tarin Schmidt-Dalton
    • Staff: Ryan Anderson and Elvir Berbic
  • Congratulations also to the Class of 2024 Aequitas Health Honor Society Fellows.
    • Students: LB Canary, Nneoma Edokobi, Brandon Ganjineh, and Alex Miner
    • Post-Graduate Trainee and Faculty: Badr Ratnakaran
    • Over the next year our student fellows will work together to develop and execute a common project that aims to advance health equity in our community. VTCSOM will honor our student recipients during their graduation ceremony next year highlighting the work they have done with their collective project during their fourth year.
    • This year the Aequitas Health Honor Society has been recognized by the McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute announcing the society as a 2023 McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund recipient. The McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund is awarded annually to early-stage organizations that have demonstrated significant momentum with innovative models of change.
  • 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 April:
    • Celebrate Diversity Month
    • Autism Acceptance Month
    • National Arab American Heritage Month
    • 1: Lazarus Saturday
    • 2: World Autism Awareness Day
    • 2: Palm Sunday
    • 3: Mahavir Jayanti, celebrated by the Jains to commemorate the birth of Lord Mahavira
    • 4: Lord’s Evening Meal
    • 6: Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
    • 6–13: Passover
    • 7: Good Friday
    • 9: Easter
    • 14: The Day of Silence, protesting the silencing of LGBTQ+ students and their straight allies
    • 14: Vaisakhi (Baisakhi), the celebration of the founding of the Sikh community
    • 16: Orthodox Easter (Pascha)
    • 17: Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the year for Muslims
    • 17–18: Yom HaShoah
    • April 21–May 2: The Festival of Ridvan (Bahá’í)
    • 21–22 (sundown to sundown): Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of Ramadan
    • 22: Earth Day
    • 23: St. George’s Day
    • 24: Armenian Martyrs’ Day
    • 29: Ninth Day of Ridvan (Bahá’í)
Helena Carvalho addresses students; VTCSOM students engaging with a young boy; an overhead shot of the Kids Tech University tables
Fifteen students joined Helena Carvalho at Kids' Tech University last month. 

Community Corner

  • Health Sciences Exploration Day: TMBH, VTCSOM, and RUC team up on Friday, April 21 to present an opportunity for community college and high school students to explore health care professions.
  • Blue Ridge Marathon: VTCSOM and FBRI have once again teamed up to man an aid station at the upcoming Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon on Saturday, April 22. Register here if you are interested in volunteering with our group. Click Aid Station under the header, and scroll till you see: Aid Station-VT Carilion. Our password is med.
  • Global Health Forum: Join us for the 2023 Global Health Forum on Wednesday, April 26 to hear from the latest group of VTCSOM students to take part in our Global Health Rotation Elective. This is the first year our students have traveled since 2019, and we have added some new locations to the list! Register to attend. The evening will start with a light reception at 5:30 p.m., and the program begins at 6:00 p.m. 
  • The Hub: Looking for ways to engage? Already have an engagement event or project in the works and want to get the word out? VTCSOM Engage information is a very handy link to register an activity or event - it's all at The Hub!
  • Kids Tech University: Fifteen VTCSOM students joined Helena Carvalho, basic science education faculty member, to volunteer at the annual Kids Tech University at Virginia Tech. Carvalho gave a talk to 160 middle school students and their parents about microcirculation. She and the medical students offered several stations with hands-on activities focused on special senses and a dramatization of blood circulation. Shruthi Prabhakar, class of 2026, is featured in the video below.

Humanism Notes

Spring brings forth new life and reminds us that the dark, shortened days of winter are behind us. For many of us, the delight of the awakening of nature feeds our bodies, minds, and souls. I invite you to pause momentarily and enjoy this gallery of breathtaking images of spring from National Geographic photographers.

Take Note

Take Note

  • In an effort to make it easier for you to populate your VTCSOM curriculum vitae using Elements, we provide you with direct links to the sections that are captured within the VTCSOM CV template. Just log into Elements, and then use this easy reference guide to populate your CV
  • While we're talking about Elements, here is a friendly reminder that in five easy steps you can activate your Experts @ VT profile and have your profile linked from the school of medicine website.  
  • Please submit any events that you are planning in the next two months, so we can include them on the website, on social media, in Wellness Weekly, and in the next issue of Progress Notes.
  • 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:
    • 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

A collage of various photos from Match Day. The Gallery link below will take you to larger versions with descriptions

The Last Note

It was a Match Day to remember! The class of 2023 ushered in their match results in classic rock ‘n roll style. Our soon-to-be doctors are going places, and we couldn’t be more proud!

Add Your Own Note

Have something noteworthy to share in Progress Notes? Do you have feedback about this newsletter? We'd love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with us.