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School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

May 21, 2018

Outstanding news about our federal translational research grant

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Earlier today, with the support of Governor Northam, we announced the $21.5 M federal grant to VCU for our Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA).

Many of you have contributed to this major institutional achievement.  Thank you for all your effort and support.  We owe particular thanks to Dr. Gerry Moeller, Principal Investigator for our CTSA (called the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research; CCTR) for his visionary leadership and patience during the lengthy review process.  We are also most grateful to Mr. Kenneth Wright, whose kind support endowed the CCTR and thus created a public-private partnership that will endure through the CCTR.

To put the significance of this award in context, there are over 50 institutions nationally with CTSAs and of those, there are only some 20 public institutions like ours that have both a CTSA and a NCI-designated Cancer Center… and we are currently the only CTSA in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This award will enable us to support early career investigators in their efforts to pursue translational research.  It will also enable and encourage us further in our collaborations with research intensive universities and healthcare systems in Virginia and beyond. This collaborative work will advance discoveries and knowledge so as to improve human health and wellbeing. The opportunities that the CTSA provides will also make our institution even more attractive for talented people who are considering joining us.

Later this afternoon, at 4:30 pm in the Learning Theater of McGlothlin Medical Education Center, we have a General Faculty meeting. Please join us to hear Dr. Moeller talk more about the impact of this prestigious new federal grant. Please also share this excellent news at relevant medical student, resident, and staff meetings… it’s a big deal!

Thanks for your leadership.

With every good wish,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

May 8, 2018

Outstanding contributions of our faculty, staff, students and alumni

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Spring brings milestone events to the medical school, and I thought you would like to know about some particularly noteworthy items:

  • With 54 medical students participating, the 2018 Medical Student Research Day showcased more posters than ever before. Michael Donnenberg, M.D., our senior associate dean for research and research training commented that “We saw everything from ion channels to Twitter.” Top prize went to the Class of 2020’s Hameeda A. Naimi for her research conducted under the mentorship of Surgery’s Adam P. Klausner, M.D.  Naimi’s first place finish comes with an award of $1,000 that’s made possible by the G. Watson James III, M.D. Scholarship Endowment.
  • As the medical school marks its 100th anniversary of admitting women, the family of Cristina Page is marking its own milestone. The Class of 2018’s Page is the third-generation of female physicians in her family. “I am so fortunate to have a couple of generations of women ahead of me who showed me that it’s all possible,” she says. “There is nothing holding me back.”
  • The second annual Medical Education Symposium provided an opportunity to showcase and share with colleagues unique projects and practices for education innovation. Presentations included the use of holographic “enhanced reality” technology to help teach urogynecological surgical procedures, teamwork-building in first-year medical students and leadership-skill development among pediatric residents.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading their stories.

Warm Regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 24, 2018

Department of Dermatology leadership

Algin B. Garrett, M.D.

Algin B. Garrett, M.D.

Dear Colleagues-Friends:

My thanks go to Algin B. Garrett, M.D., who has been a dedicated member and respected leader in the Department of Dermatology for 35 years. He joined the faculty in 1983 after completing residency training in the department, and he went on to serve as interim chair from 1991-1993 before being named chair in 1993. He has announced his intention to leave the medical school on June 30.

Over the course of his tenure, he has earned a reputation as a superb teacher and clinician. A testimony to that is the first-rate physicians who train in and graduate from the department’s residency and fellowship programs. Dr. Garrett’s leadership has shaped those programs in lasting ways as he has served as director of both.

One of those stellar former trainees is Lydia J. Johnson, M.D., who completed her residency on the MCV Campus after earning her medical degree at the University of Virginia.

Lydia J. Johnson, M.D.

Lydia J. Johnson, M.D.

Dr. Johnson practiced with Dermatology Associates of Virginia for 16 years and led the multi-physician practice as its president since 2014. She joined our faculty in January 2018 and will serve as interim chair beginning in June.

Please join me in thanking these two physicians for their commitment to the medical school and also in wishing them future success.

Warm Regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 19, 2018

Outstanding contributions of our faculty, students and alumni

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

On Friday we’ll welcome back hundreds of alumni for Reunion Weekend 2018. We always look forward to this opportunity to “show off” our medical school to returning alumni who are so proud of all the activities of our students, trainees and faculty.

Those sorts of noteworthy contributions are exemplified in a few news items that have crossed my desk and which I believe may be of interest to you:

  • The Pauley Heart Center has launched a grants program that funds promising early-stage research. The winning proposals were chosen with the help of an external review committee that included alumni like the Class of 77’s Bill Miles, who is chief of electrophysiology at the University of Florida. “I was impressed with the quality of what I saw,” he says. “These were substantive, cutting-edge projects with application to everyday cardiology.” He calls serving on the committee an honor and says, “If I’m invited to serve as a reviewer, I’ll always say yes. I’d love to participate again.” Our story includes information on the four proposals that were funded in the inaugural round of awards.
  • Each year, the MCV Foundation hosts a celebration of the outstanding philanthropic support given to students across the campus. The annual event provides an opportunity for scholarship recipients to thank our donors for their generosity, and donors have the pleasure of hearing what a difference their gifts have made.
  • Jim Nemitz, PhD’80, an alumnus of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, has been named president of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He has served the institution for 31 years in roles that include overseeing the accreditation process, research and grants, community outreach and government relations at the local, state and national levels. He says, “This is a place that I’ve devoted a majority of my career, it’s a place that I love with all my heart.”

Richmond magazine April 2018 cover Also, as you’ve probably seen, the April issue of Richmond Magazine features the annual Top Docs listing. We’re gratified that so many of our faculty and alumni are represented in its pages. I wanted to draw your attention as well to the 3-page advertisement built into the inside front cover. To complement this issue’s focus, the MCV Foundation took the opportunity to showcase medical student scholarships. Through the medical school’s $25 million 1838 Scholarship Campaign, we are building an endowment that will increase the number and size of scholarships that we award to our students. This magazine ad shared the stories of donors along with students and alumni who have already benefited from scholarship funds, spotlighting:

  • The Harriet and Harry Grandis Scholarship, the medical school’s first full-tuition scholarship,
  • the Harry and Zackia Annual Scholarship that’s awarded to medical students who show a demonstrated commitment to community service and
  • the Stephen C. and Marie F. Cenedella Endowed Scholarship established by an alumnus of the Class of 1968.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading their stories.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 18, 2018

Appointment of Nicole Deiorio, M.D., as Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Nicole Deiorio, M.D.

Nicole Deiorio, M.D.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole M. Deiorio, M.D., as associate dean for student affairs. A national leader in academic coaching in the medical education field, she brings valuable experiences and skills to her new role.

Dr. Deiorio will partner closely with our other associate dean for student affairs, Christopher Woleben, M.D., to work with our more than 800 medical students in career and academic advising. Dr. Deiorio will be the lead in the Student Affairs office for the new coaching program designed to better prepare students for internship via the Core Entrustable Professional Activities. She also will be the lead person working on new wellness initiatives for medical students in the Student Affairs office. Dr. Deiorio has worked with Dr. Woleben on several projects on a national level, most recently on the video interviews for emergency medicine residency applications.

Dr. Deiorio was most recently assistant dean for student affairs at Oregon Health & Science University, where she created a learning community and coaching program for undergraduate medical education. Her interests include professional identity formation and the transition to residency, and her research investigates the residency selection process and outcomes in undergraduate medical education as well as learning communities and coaching.

An emergency medicine physician, Dr. Deiorio has taught students at many levels, from directing the OHSU Principles of Clinical Medicine course to clinical experiences in emergency medicine for third- and fourth-year students. She has received multiple local and national awards for teaching and education leadership, including the Hal Jayne Excellence in Education Award from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

I am grateful to Assistant Dean for Medical Education Diane Biskobing, M.D., who led the search committee, and also to Interim Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Betsy Ripley, M.D., and Senior Associate Dean for Evaluation, Assessment and Scholarship of Learning Sally Santen, M.D., Ph.D., in recruiting Dr. Deiorio to our medical school.

Please join me in welcoming her when she assumes her new role in August.

Warm Regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 11, 2018

Department of Internal Medicine’s Leadership

John E Nestler, MD Chair Internal Medicine

John E. Nestler, M.D.

Dear Colleagues-Friends:

Since 1985 when John E. Nestler, M.D., joined the faculty of the School of Medicine, his colleagues have benefited from his ingenuity, collegiality and wise counsel. Fortunately, that will not change when he steps down from his post as chair of the Department of Internal Medicine on June 30. He will continue as a member of our faculty, devoting himself to research and to cultivating those fascinating opportunities that exist where medicine intersects with the arts and humanities.

Nestler became the fifth chair of the medical school’s largest clinical department in November 2009 after having already served as the department’s vice chair and, prior to that, as chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

We are fortunate to be able to call upon Todd Gehr, M.D., to serve as interim chair.Todd Gehr, M.D. On faculty since 1987, he is now the vice-chair of the department as well as chair of the Division of Nephrology.

Todd Gehr, M.D.

Todd Gehr, M.D.

Gehr serves as professor, medical director of the dialysis unit and as physician director of the home dialysis program. Recognized with numerous teaching awards from medical students and internal medicine housestaff, he’s published more than 100 articles on research interests that span renal pharmacology, novel treatments of hypertension and the impact of daily dialysis on patient outcomes.

I am proud to note that both Nestler and Gehr completed a portion of their training here on the MCV Campus. They are testimonies to the quality of the programs and, indeed, their decades of service have shaped their department in lasting ways.

Please join me in thanking them for their contributions and assisting them in their future endeavors.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 6, 2018

Outstanding contributions of our faculty, students and alumni

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

One of the things I enjoy most about my role is learning about the outstanding contributions of our faculty, students and alumni. I think that you, too, might like to know:

• Our alumnus Jack Ende, M.D., of the Class of 1973 will conclude his yearlong tenure as president of the American College of Physicians in April. He talked with us about what it’s been like to lead the nation’s largest medical specialty organization.

Ken Ellenbogen, M.D., has been honored by the American College of Cardiology for his contributions to its flagship journal. Our chair of cardiology is internationally known for his commitment to advancing the field through research and teaching.

Glenn D. Hoke Jr., PhD’86 (BIOC), who was honored with the medical school’s Outstanding Basic Health Sciences Alumnus Award in 2000, returned to campus in February to speak with biomedical doctoral students and postdoctoral scientists about his career in industry. “Remember, you are trained to solve problems,” he told them.

I was also pleased to see two terrific feature stories in Vol. 13 of Impact, the quarterly publication distributed by VCU’s Development and Alumni Relations Office:

Hands-on Health, a 5-page feature on VCU Health’s Community Internship program giving influential community leaders a behind-the-scenes look at VCU Medical Center.

Leading Light, a 4-page feature on how the Haag Professorship enables the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Hamid Akbarali, Ph.D., to balance student mentorship and critical research.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

April 4, 2018

Leadership Transition at VCU Center on Society and Health

Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H.

Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H.

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Please join me in thanking Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H., for his tremendous leadership of the VCU Center on Society and Health, which he has directed since its founding in 2007. His vision shaped an academic research center that aims to improve the health of Americans through its study of the health implications of social factors like poverty and education as well as neighborhood and community environmental conditions. The center is known for its life expectancy maps, which show that your zip code may be as important as your genetic code in predicting your health.

Fortunately, we will continue to benefit from Dr. Woolf’s wisdom, as he is not leaving VCU. He will remain at the center to serve as director emeritus and will maintain his role as professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Woolf, who first established himself as a health services researcher, has focused his career on raising public awareness about the socioeconomic and environmental inequities that shape health and bringing that message to policymakers. His findings have influenced the health of our nation through his more than 200 articles, his testimony before Congress, editorials in major newspapers, web-based tools and speeches. Woolf is stepping down as director to spend more time on public policy issues, writing and partnerships with colleagues and institutions around the country.

Derek A. Chapman, Ph.D.

Derek A. Chapman, Ph.D.

I am pleased that Derek A. Chapman, Ph.D., has agreed to take over as the center’s interim director. Since joining the center as Associate Director for Research in December 2013, Chapman has been responsible for operational management of the research team and has ably led its expanding list of quantitative research projects. Since 2004, he has also served as associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health in the Division of Epidemiology (formerly the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health).

Anton J. Kuzel, M.D., M.H.P.E., chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, notes, “The VCU Center on Society and Health is shining a light on the factors that have the greatest impact on health – social determinants. I am pleased that it will continue this critical work under the leadership of Dr. Chapman, and I am enormously grateful to Dr. Woolf for establishing and leading the center for more than a decade.”

Chapman’s scholarly work on maternal and child health epidemiology, and the intersection of biologic and social determinants on children’s health and development, is complemented by his 13 years of experience working in state health departments, where he conducted applied public health research to inform programs and policy.

I deeply appreciate that there is so able a colleague prepared to step up. The wealth of talent at the VCU Center on Society and Health is indeed another example of Woolf’s fine leadership in assembling a team dedicated to moving the needle to improve the health of Americans.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

March 12, 2018

The passing of Jan Chlebowski, Ph.D.

Jan Chlebowski, Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

It is with tremendous sadness that I share the news that Jan Chlebowski, Ph.D., passed away over the weekend. Jan was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the School of Medicine’s Associate Dean for Graduate Education.

It is hard to imagine a more student-focused and committed faculty member than Jan. He simply loved our institution and he delighted in his vital role of overseeing the training of our graduate students. Jan was passionate about ensuring that our students received all the attention and support that they needed.

He was a champion of numerous programs that provided students with a culture for growth and scientific enrichment. Recognizing the need for increased diversity of students and faculty in the sciences, he was instrumental in securing funding of a large NIH initiative on which he served as program director to enhance graduate education opportunities for minority students at Virginia State University and Hampton University to bridge masters to doctoral training between our institutions. He also was the faculty sponsor of the graduate student organization Women in Science as well as a leader in the Broadening Experiences for Scientific Training that raises graduate students’ awareness of potential careers and opportunities to learn about various career paths.

Jan was a wonderful advocate for our trainees across all the schools at VCU and even beyond. He had directed the school’s international educational partnership with the University of the West of England since the program began in 1987. In the past 30 years he oversaw more than 100 UWE student internships at VCU, doing everything from recruiting faculty advisors to picking up students from the airport when they arrived in the U.S. His enthusiasm for the program was stoked in part by his own experience studying abroad. In 2002, the UWE awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

He was the first to celebrate student achievement and coordinated a range of awards and activities that commemorated the pioneering efforts of individuals who populated our institution’s history of advanced degree education in the biomedical sciences.

His commitment to quality science and to the integrity of higher education was unwavering. He was a superb protein biochemist whose research was focused on biophysical mechanisms that modulate protein structure and enzyme activity, and he published seminal papers on alkaline phosphatase from E. coli. He played an important role in establishing the Institute for Structural Biology and for many years led the Massey Cancer Center Structural Biology core.

Jan earned his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1969 and completed post-doctoral training as a research associate at University College London in 1971 and as a research fellow at Yale University in 1976. He was a research associate in Yale’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry until 1979 when he joined VCU in what was then the School of Basic Health Sciences.

Jan Chlebowski, Ph.D.

For decades, Jan selflessly served our institution – and most particularly its students. He was on the graduate committees of more than 100 students as well as participating on or chairing an astonishing 150 university committees and task forces. He served in key and demanding roles including being a founding member of the SOM Professionalism Committee. He organized and taught a graduate course in his area of specialty for over 30 years, while still teaching significant blocks in other biochemistry graduate courses.

Jan was promoted to the rank of professor in 1991 and was named associate dean for graduate education in the School of Medicine in 1995. He served three times as interim chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and later was a valued advisor to three biochemistry chairs.

While it was evident that he had health problems for years, he showed great grace and dignity in his resilience and was never focused on himself. We have much to learn from Jan and his life. He was a person of great humility, utmost integrity and remarkable commitment. He leaves behind a great legacy.

A memorial service to celebrate his life and service will be held on Friday, March 16, at 4 p.m., in the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building.

Sincerely,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

February 12, 2018

Appointment of Tom Yackel, M.D., as president of MCV Physicians

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Tom Yackel, M.D.

Tom Yackel, M.D.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Yackel, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., as president of MCV Physicians, the faculty practice plan of VCU Health. He will also serve as senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the VCU School of Medicine.
Dr. Yackel will serve collaboratively in our well-integrated and matrixed team as a member of our senior leadership. In this role as a strategic and collaborative physician executive, he will lead MCVP in managing and growing our clinical enterprise, while embracing and supporting the entirety of our academic mission.

He comes to us from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland where he most recently served as vice president and chief clinical integration officer for OHSU Healthcare and associate dean for the clinical practice in the OHSU School of Medicine.
“Dr. Yackel’s recruitment is the result of a highly competitive national search,” said Marsha Rappley, M.D., chief executive officer of the VCU Health System and VCU vice president for health sciences. “He is the first-ever external recruitment to this position, and he follows in the steps of physicians who have come up through the ranks and done exceptional jobs leading MCVP.”

Deborah Davis, CEO of VCU Health System Hospitals and Clinics, noted “Dr. Yackel’s long tenure at Oregon and the breadth of his experience in several leadership positions contributed to an exceptionally well-run health system and have well equipped him for this role.”

Dr. Yackel brings a passion for mentoring junior colleagues, and he is a strong advocate for the role of evidence-based practice. His published academic contributions chronicle OHSU’s clinical innovations, and we look forward to his partnership to similarly raise the profile of our efforts at VCU Health.

Dr. Yackel joined OHSU in 2000 and was named chief health information officer in 2008. He built the department of clinical informatics, successfully deploying the Epic electronic health record in the hospital and 65 ambulatory clinics. Under his leadership, OHSU was the first hospital in Oregon to qualify for the Meaningful Use program and the OHSU Faculty Practice was the top UHC hospital for Meaningful Use. In 2015, he created the department of clinical integration and evidence-based practice to leverage the academic center’s unique contributions to medicine across OHSU’s clinical partners. He has participated in numerous payor-partnerships and led his institution’s accountable care organization.

Dr. Yackel graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1996, earning both a medical degree and a Master of Public Health focusing on healthcare administration and management. He continued his training as a primary care internal medicine resident at GW and served as chief resident. In 2002 he completed a fellowship and Master of Science in medical informatics at OHSU. He is a practicing primary care internist and is board certified in internal medicine and clinical informatics. In June 2018, he will graduate from the OHSU Healthcare MBA program.

He will succeed John Ward, M.D., M.S.H.A., who has provided stellar leadership of MCVP for two four-year terms in an era that has seen unprecedented growth in our health system. His breadth of knowledge, wisdom and willingness to be a great partner to all of us has been a vital part of that growth. We are fortunate that Dr. Ward will remain on the clinical faculty where he will continue to lead by example – as he has done throughout his tenure as MCVP president – and will maintain an active practice in neurosurgery. We are also grateful that we all can continue to benefit from his mentorship and senior leadership.

We thank Laurence J. DiNardo, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, and David P. Chelmow, M.D., chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, along with the other members of the search committee for their service in this process. In addition, the administrative leadership of Ms. Maria Carlton, VCU Health’s director of human resources, and MCVP’s Ms. Anne Bonnevie was invaluable. We also appreciate the contributions of the MCVP board members who were involved in Dr. Yackel’s recruitment and selection. His appointment was ratified by the MCVP board at their meeting on February 7, and Dr. Rappley will seek approval of the VCU Health System Board of Directors this coming March. Dr. Yackel will begin his new role on April 2.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

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