Dear VTCSOM Family,

Welcome back! I hope you had a restful and restorative winter break, spending quality time with family and friends.

There never seems to be enough time, and that is why many of us are resolving to focus more on the things that matter most. In order to improve our communications, you will notice Progress Notes has a new look for this New Year.

The goal of the new format is to provide you a shorter email that you can easily scan through and find topics of interest to read about on your schedule. You can click a link to visit the newsletter in its entirety online. All the regular content, including upcoming events, recognitions, publications, new hires, etc. will be available on the website.   

2024 will be a newsworthy year.  In January we welcomed Dr. Lisa Uherick to her new role as our first Chief Well-Being Officer for VTCSOM, Dr. Kim Filer to a senior administrative leadership role in our office of medical education, and Dr. Nick Rider as our newest senior faculty recruit to the Department of Health Systems and Implementation Science.  In February we will receive feedback from the Liaison Council for Medical Education (LCME) on curricular changes set to be implemented with the next incoming class. Later this year we will start planning the design and construction of a new medical school building and preparing the self-study process that precedes our LCME re-accreditation visit in 2026-27.  The new Carilion Clinic Chief Physician Executive, Dr. Tony Seupaul, who started in December, will become engaged with us in envisioning how our partnership matures in the years ahead to support our shared vision for VTC.

I know how valuable your time is and how important it is to stay up-to-date on the happenings at VTCSOM. This new format will provide all the Progress Notes content you have come to know in a time-saving configuration. I hope you enjoy.

Lee A. Learman, M.D., Ph.D.

Editor’s note: The next issue of Progress Notes will be published Monday, February 5. All submissions should be sent to Catherine Doss ( no later than Monday, January 22

Special Highlights from the January issue of Progress Notes

News Around Campus

Social Media

Humanism Notes 

With so much attention on polarizing points of view, we rarely appreciate how humanizing relationships among colleagues can drive successful collaboration in legislative bodies.  This recent story illustrates how leaders who are passionate about their different points of view find agreement and work together on many issues for the public good.  Cardinal News cosponsored the event with Roanoke Collaboration Project as part of a project called The Cardinal Way: Civility Rules, which is supported by a grant from the American Press Institute Project to encourage civil discourse. Dean Learman serves on the steering committee of the Roanoke Collaboration Project and was present at the event.


  • Sarah Harendt, education and faculty development manager, Office of Continuing Professional Development, completed the degree requirements and graduated in December with a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech's Higher Education and Student Affairs program in the School of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her dissertation was entitled Resettled Refugee Experiences of Aspiring to and Navigating Through the Postsecondary Access Process.

  • Heather Mason has been named research administrator reporting to Leslie LaConte and Sharon Barrett.

New Roles at VTCSOM

  • Monifa Vaughn-Cooke has joined VTCSOM as associate professor of Health Systems and Implementation Science.
  • Nicholas Rider, professor of Health Systems and Implementation Science
  • Lisa Uherick, chief well-being officer

Welcome New Faculty

Welcome to these faculty members who joined us recently:

Pediatrics: Hayley Busch, Thomas Donohue, and Jacqueline Price

Family and Community Medicine: Bethany Elza and Christopher Mertes

Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine: Laura Huff

Internal Medicine: Jessica Li Eason, Aaron Markwith, and Jessica Pfleger

Radiology: Larry Nolan

Emergency Medicine: Roberta Pritchard and Zachary Shaub

Health Systems and Implementation Science: Tasia VanderVegt

Spotlight on Giving

It’s that time again to cheer on the competitors at the annual basketball fundraiser for the Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship Fund at VTCSOM. All donations will support medical students and honor Morgan’s legacy. To find out more, visit:

Docs for Morgan
Jan. 24, 2024
7 p.m.
Patrick Henry High School Gym

Alumni Update

Help celebrate the 10-year reunion of the VTCSOM Class of 2014! Inaugural class alumni and their families are invited to join us for a weekend of activities and events to reunite with classmates, become reacquainted with the school, and learn about its future plans.

Register Here:

May 17-19, 2024
The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
110 Shenandoah Ave
Roanoke, VA 24016

Schedule of events and more information

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update

Nominations are open for the Dean’s Diversity Champions Award, which was established in 2022 to recognize the significant achievements of faculty, staff, and students towards developing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. 

Nominations (including self-nominations) are welcome from any member of the VTCSOM community. Up to ten awards will be given each year. Submit nominations

Deadline for nominations is Friday, Feb. 2 at 5:00 p.m.

Below are January holidays and celebrations.

1: New Year’s Day
1: Feast Day of St. Basil
3: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
4: World Braille Day
5: Twelfth Night
6: Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day)
7: Christmas (Eastern Orthodox)
13: Maghi/Lohri
14: Orthodox New Year
15: Makar Sankranti
15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
18–25: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
20: Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Church)
20: Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji
21: World Religion Day
25: Mahayana New Year
27: The International Day of Commemoration


  • Jan. 24 – Docs for Morgan (see Spotlight on Giving above)

  • Feb. 2 – Nominations for Dean’s Diversity Champions Award due

  • Feb. 6 – Exploring Mental Health in the African American Community

  • Feb. 22-May 6 – Spring Art Show “From These Hills”

  • Feb. 23-25 – Medical Exposure for Diverse Students Experience Applications due February 2.

Take Note

Dean's Visit Group Picture
Photo by Ryan Anderson for Virginia Tech.

We were delighted to welcome deans from other colleges at Virginia Tech last month. The group toured VTCSOM, and showcased educational, research, and service endeavors in which our students and faculty are engaged. Pictured left to right: Paul Winistorfer, Dean, College of Natural Resources and Environment; Lu Liu, Dean, College of Architecture, Arts, and Design; Alan Grant, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;  Julie Ross, Dean, College of Engineering; Lee Learman, Dean, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; Laura Belmonte, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Daniel Givens, Dean, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Recycling on the HS&T Campus
One simple way to make our campus more sustainable is by ensuring we are recycling correctly. When tossing items please double-check and place such things as cardboard, paper, emptied and rinsed plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, and steel and aluminum cans in appropriately marked blue bins. Please note that once non-recyclable item is placed into a recycling the whole bin becomes garbage. 

The Last Note 

Holiday Festivities!

Breakfast with Santa
Breakfast with Santa, to benefit the Child Health Investment Partnership of Roanoke Valley, was a huge success. Medical students added to the magic by volunteering at the North Pole Care Center, where children could bring their stuffed animals to get a wellness check-up. Photo courtesy of Kris Rau.
Holiday Party Collage
It was a lively, enjoyable winter celebration with faculty, staff, and students at the Braeloch Center last month. Delicious food, good music, and great company to celebrate the holiday season.