The mission of Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is to train Physician Thought Leaders through developing the skills of research, inquiry, and discovery. The development of a thought leader is a deliberate process that extends well beyond the classroom. One way that VTCSOM guides student development as thought leaders is through the Physician Thought Leader Communities (PTLC).

The PTLCs are faculty led student communities that provide an administrative structure through which students can experience individualized personal, academic, and career advising and mentoring that fosters personal and professional growth. Additionally, it is intended that these communities teach and model professionalism, enhance connectivity and collaboration both between students and faculty as well as among classes, and promote student wellness.

There are twelve Physician Thought Leader Communities. Each Community is led by an exemplary faculty member chosen by the Dean’s Office through an application process. The communities are comprised of 3-4 students from each Class for a total of 11-12 students per community.

Responsibilities of a Physician Thought Leader Community leader:

  • Leadership training, which includes learning how to use the AAMC Careers in Medicine (CiM) material.
  • Meet with each of their assigned M1, M2, M3, and M4 students individually at least once a year for personal, academic, and career counseling.
  • Meet with their M1 students as a group and their M2 students as a group at least once a year.
  • Be available to meet with their students on an as needed basis
  • Help to facilitate the organizing of and participate in group gatherings for their PTLC at least 2x/year. This could include such things as a journal club, a book club, viewing and discussing a movie or article, attending a lecture together and meeting afterward to discuss, or meeting to discuss patient care or professionalism issues. These gatherings could also be purely social. This is dependent on the personality of each PTLC.
  • Meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs once a year individually and once a year as a group to discuss progress, receive and provide feedback, and help plan for ongoing improvement in the process.