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School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

Doing what we do best…

Dear Friends-Colleagues:

Yesterday, we held the 15th annual VCU Health Resident-Fellow Research Day. It was a terrific showing – some 16 oral presentations and over 70 poster presentations. The range of topics was impressive – from molecular biology of cancer, through comparative evaluations of advanced surgical technologies, to quality outcomes and standardizing the discharge process… and lots more. There was a good mix of basic science and clinical science, with projects ranging in design from retrospective studies to prospective multicenter national consortia. Also, significantly, many presentations were in collaboration with our colleagues at the McGuire VAMC. In every presentation, the dedication, scientific curiosity and commitment of our residents and fellows was clearly in evidence. So too was the mentorship and support of our faculty, who gave generously of their ideas, expertise, resources – including their most valuable resource – their time. Our thanks to all participants and supporters of this vital research symposium. Particular thanks go to Dr. Evan Reiter, Vice Chair, Department of Otolaryngology, who led the event and to the senior faculty who served on the panel of judges. Thanks also to Dr. Brian Aboff, Sr. Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Ms. Jessica Waugh, GME Curriculum & Program Manager, and dedicated staff for facilitating this event.

The commitment of mentees and mentors at our institution to advancing discovery and science as well as translating this directly to improvement in patient care was very much in evidence at yesterday’s symposium – as it is daily in our basic science labs, in our clinics, and in our operating rooms.

As a complementary accompaniment to this note of thanks, I thought you might be interested in this “hot off the press” article from Health Affairs that demonstrates superior patient outcomes in academic medical centers (AMCs). This is an important article by Burke and colleagues building upon a seminal article that appeared last year in JAMA. Tellingly, in this week’s article, Burke and colleagues conclude: “the better outcomes at AMCs appear to apply to all patients, not only the sickest ones with the most complicated conditions.” Hopefully this will continue to advance the discussion in our academic and broader healthcare communities about the unique, vital, and complementary role that academic health centers – like ours – play in U.S. healthcare.

Thank you for your leadership and contributions to our discovery, to our training of our talented scientists and clinicians, and to the remarkable quality of care given every day to people who seek treatment with us.

With every good wish,

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

Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine
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Updated: 08/19/2008