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School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

December 2017 Archives

December 18, 2017

End of Year Message from SOM Dean — Happy Holidays to you and yours

“To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – gift suggestions from Oren Arnold

Dear Colleagues-Friends:

The closing of one year and beginning of another is always a time for reflection. At our medical school, we have much to be grateful for and much to celebrate over a year of impressive accomplishments. As I close out what is almost my first full year of serving as your dean, I would like to reflect on some of your impressive contributions.

The school’s long legacy is the foundation for today’s momentum. We can point to some well-known firsts that continue to give us reason to celebrate. The Massey Cancer Center was the state’s first center to earn National Cancer Institute designation. It was renewed for the 42nd year in July 2017 because Massey continues to make important advances – like being the first in the world to successfully implant a bio-absorbable, internal radiation device known as CivaSheet to treat early stage pancreatic cancer.

This month, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first organ transplant in Virginia, a kidney transplant conducted by Dr. David Hume from one identical twin to another. Today, the VCU Hume-Lee Transplant Center is the longest-running clinical transplant center in the country and performed its 5,000th surgery in May. They’re still “first in second chances”!

In 1918, MCV opened its doors to women, and Mary Baughman was among the first to walk through. She became widely known for her advocacy for women’s rights and paved the way for other women – like the 372 who are on faculty in the medical school today and like Marsha Rappley, M.D., who set a first for VCU in serving as chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Medical Colleges over this past year. Also this year, we marked 25 years for WISDM, the faculty organization that seeks to further the professional goals of women physicians, scientists and dentists, including alumnae Susan DiGiovanni, M’84, H’87, F’89, and Betsy Ripley, M’86, H’89, F’92, who was the latest in many peers to be selected for a national fellowship for leaders in academic medicine.

Our Class of 2017 was the first to graduate under our team-based patient-centered curriculum and was the first to complete all four years in the new McGlothlin Medical Education Center. On the national medical licensing exams, they delivered remarkable scores and produced outstanding results on Match Day: 99 percent matched to a residency training program – many to one of their top choices – in the largest and most competitive residency match ever. I was especially pleased to see nearly three dozen students match to VCU Health for all or part of their residency. They are training in an environment recognized as exemplary earlier this year with the Baldwin award – a highly coveted national honor that we received in recognition of the professionalism of our residents and our health system’s excellence in care, quality and training.

One of the best evidences of a medical school’s success is in the lives of its graduates and trainees – some of whom continue to work side by side with us here on campus. You’ll be as proud as we are to know Colleen Kraft, M’86, H’89, will soon become president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Jack Ende, M’73, leads the American College of Physicians; Katherine Dec, H’93, is president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine; Alex Valadka, H’93, is president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; and Darryl Kaelin, H’95, was elected president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. And we’ve got a current student following in their footsteps: M.D.-Ph.D. student Audra Iness will take the helm of the American Physician Scientist Association in the spring.

We also congratulate other award winners who include: Arun Sanyal, H’90, honored by the American Liver Foundation with its 2017 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award; Bruce Rubin, M.D., M.Engr., M.B.A., recipient of the Prix Galien Award for Best Collaboration with Academia Leading to a Breakthrough Solution; and Aradhana Bela Sood, M.D., M.S.H.A., honored at the American India Foundation’s Virginia Chapter for her service with the juvenile justice system and career in child and adolescent mental health. We also salute neurosurgeon Harold F. Young, M.D., who was honored by the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation for serving as an example to us all in his care of patients and their families.

While these are just a few of high-profile positions that made the headlines in 2017, there are so many other things that you all have achieved, and we sincerely thank each and every one of you. We take immense pride in knowing the varied and vital ways you are making a difference in your communities and fields every day. These past accomplishments and aspirations for the future are why faculty, residents, students and staff choose to join us and contribute to the powerful impact of our medical school.

My wife Leonie and I will enjoy our first holiday season among the Richmond community. We are most grateful for the warm welcome during 2017, and we look forward to a busy and productive 2018.

I know you share our excitement for what’s to come.

As 2017 draws to a close, please take the opportunity in this holiday season to enjoy time with your family and friends. All your hard work and dedication throughout the year is much appreciated.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

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

December 11, 2017

Appointment of Tom Maness, M.P.A., as associate dean for development

Dear Colleagues-Friends:

I am tremendously pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Maness, M.P.A., who will serve as the medical school’s associate dean for development. He will join the medical school on January 29, 2018.

Tom Maness, M.P.A.

Tom Maness, M.P.A.

Mr. Maness brings a depth of experience to this role, having worked for 20 years in the philanthropy field and most particularly at academic medical centers including New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Most recently he has served for more than four years as associate vice president for annual, major and planned giving at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

At Children’s National, he was part of a team that led an effort to double annual philanthropy. He also has extensive experience in enhancing and expanding grateful patient and family programs through partnership with physicians and other health care providers.

Mr. Maness has a true enthusiasm for philanthropy – which he describes as a marriage of science and art that’s put to use in developing, cultivating and closing gifts that can transform an institution. He prioritizes understanding an institution’s vision, creating smooth working relationships across the organization and listening to alumni and grateful patients. A track record evidences his success in matching donors and their interests to the needs of medical schools and health systems.

The School of Medicine is currently in a campaign to raise $300 million in support of a life-changing learning experience for students, exceptional care for the sick and a curiosity for medical research and discovery. With about 70 percent raised toward our goal, Mr. Maness’s experience in planning and executing large fundraising campaigns will lead us to a strong finish that builds on the productivity of the development office’s operation, advances the generosity of its alumni base and expands our grateful patient program.

Mr. Maness succeeds Tom Holland, who retired this year from his more than 28-year tenure at VCU during which he served the School of Medicine and the VCU Health System.

I appreciate the work of the search committee, led by John E. Nestler, M.D., the William Branch Porter Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, and Samantha Marrs, senior associate vice president for development operations in the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations. We are also grateful for the input of Chris Ritrievi, VCU senior associate vice president for campaign leadership and constituency relations, our MCV Foundation and VCUHS leadership, our alumni and donors, departmental chairs and our development team throughout the search process.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Maness to the medical school!

Warm regards,

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

December 5, 2017

Pride in our accomplishments: our faculty highlighted at national conference

This past weekend, the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges brought together 4,500 attendees from medical schools and teaching hospitals all across the country to discuss the transformation of our nation’s health care through education, research and patient care. I was extremely proud that colleagues from our medical school and from VCU Health had prominent leadership roles and key presentations at this AAMC meeting. Our colleagues represented with distinction and pride the high quality medical education that you all deliver on the MCV Campus.

Chief among our presenters was Marsha Rappley, M.D. In addition to serving as our vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, Dr. Rappley served this year as chair of the AAMC board of directors. In that distinguished role, Dr. Rappley shared the stage with AAMC president and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., and she gave an outstanding Nov. 5 keynote address.

Dr. Rappley challenged an audience of academic leaders across U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals to ensure access to medical education, research and care for all by addressing the issue of cost – cost both for our students and for our patients. You can read or watch her presentation online.

Other colleagues were also recognized at AAMC for their leadership and contributions. Craig Cheifetz, M.D., was honored by the AAMC for his exemplary service in fostering information sharing, communication and discussion of key issues relating to regional medical campuses. Alan Dow, M.D., serves on the advisory board of the Council on Faculty and Academic Societies, and was active on two of its subcommittees. Teresa Knott, M.L.S., director of the Tompkins-McCaw Library, represented us as one of five mentors in a leadership fellows program affiliated with the AAMC, and Amy Grover, M.D., who is associate director for the general surgery residency program, was active in the Group on Women in Medicine and Science. We also had representation on the Council of Deans administrative board, where I lead the Council of Deans fellowship program.

In addition to this presence, our faculty gave important presentations. As an example, Chris Woleben, M.D., who serves as board chair of the Electronic Residency Application Service, shared data on the current ERAS application cycle. He also presented preliminary findings from a working group that’s conducting research on the use of standardized video interviews for applicants to emergency medicine residency programs showing the SVI does not discriminate amongst applicants based on gender, race or ethnicity. It was also gratifying that Sally Santen, M.D., Ph.D., our newly arrived senior associate dean, had nearly a dozen meeting contributions to her credit. The topics reflected her broad interests, ranging from USMLE Step 1 performance to a competency-based fourth year. We also had the opportunity to highlight VCU Health’s selection as a 2017 Baldwin Awardee and our research work investigating vitamin C as a treatment for sepsis.

These collective contributions were also recognized at a VCU School of Medicine reception on Nov. 4. There, our alumni gathered with peers from the AAMC and other medical schools. Dr. Rappley and Ms. Deborah Davis, CEO of VCU Health System Hospitals and Clinics, both spoke to the impressive culture of innovation at VCU. Our distinguished alumnus Dr. Chris Colenda, of the Class of 1977 who also currently serves as a special AAMC liaison with the VA, spoke on behalf of our alumni and he expressed his pride in our accomplishments and in the prominence of our School of Medicine. I’m grateful to Ms. Priscilla Wiggin for providing this special opportunity to interact with our alumni.

As you know from your own activities and presentations at national organizations and conferences, opportunities like these are immeasurably important in raising the profile of our School of Medicine.

My compliments to all on such a great showing for our school!

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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