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August 2017 Archives

August 24, 2017

Harinder S. Dhindsa, M.D.

Harinder S. Dhindsa, M.D.Outstanding Term Faculty Award

Having joined the faculty in 1996, Harinder Dhindsa, M.D., has an exceptional record of teaching and service. He is an associate professor and chief of emergency medicine in VCU’s School of Medicine, and is the medical director for the university’s Critical Care Transport team.

Dhindsa leads the clinical operations of the Emergency Department and has worked tirelessly to improve efficiencies that raise the level of care patients receive. Described as a problem-solver, collaborator and patient advocate, Dhindsa has dedicated himself to making a difference in patient outcomes.

He is equally passionate about ensuring that not only future physicians are trained well, but other hospital personnel, including EMTs and paramedics, are also trained well to create an environment of first-class support for patients at all levels of interaction with health care staff. And he does this with kindness and humor, respect and insight that have made a positive impact.

Peter F. Buckley, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, says, “The same warm, caring and humanistic approach Dr. Dhindsa has with his patients is also extended to his colleagues, and for that reason he is the ‘go-to’ person when patient care needs to be better coordinated, services need to be provided more promptly, or interpersonal or interdepartmental collaboration supporting excellence in patient care needs to be strengthened.”

Dhindsa’s achievements are extensive, and he has been recognized many times over for his service and leadership. He developed a curriculum for the school’s multidisciplinary team to ensure patients being transported to VCU receive the best-quality care. He created and oversees the LifeEvac critical care transport program, which provides lifesaving critical care air and ground transportation. In addition, he identified efficiencies that have led to shorter wait times and improved quality of patient care.

Widely regarded as a leader and mentor in the field of patient-centered care and safety, Dhindsa serves on multiple committees and panels, sharing his knowledge and expertise with broad audiences.

The Outstanding Term Faculty Award recognizes a part-time, full-time, collateral or adjunct faculty member (rank of instructor and above) who has at least three consecutive years of employment at the university, and has achieved superior accomplishment consistent with the Quest for Distinction and in the areas of teaching and service. This new award was established in 2016. Dhindsa received the award at the university’s 2017 Faculty Convocation.

Michael C. Neale, Ph.D.

Michael C. Neale, Ph.D.Distinguished Scholarship Award

Making the connection between how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors interact and contribute to illnesses such as substance abuse and psychiatric disorders is no small task.

However, doing so is crucial to elevating human health around the world. Michael Neale, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, human genetics and psychology in the VCU School of Medicine, and associate director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, has dedicated his research efforts to utilizing data to make these connections possible.

Neale’s research has been published hundreds of times over, and he has written dozens of book chapters expanding the knowledge base in the field. In addition, he created an open-source computer program that is used widely by researchers in modeling data to determine whether genetic variants are linked to outcome variables such as substance abuse, its risk factors and indices.

The program has had a profound impact on genetic scholarship by eliminating barriers in building evidence in the field. It has afforded researchers the opportunity to test their hypotheses about the relationships in complex family data sets freely. In fact, the program has been cited more than 3,000 times in scientific literature.

“In addition to his remarkable level of productivity, Dr. Neale is an outstanding teacher and mentor,” says Peter F. Buckley, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “It is estimated that over 2,000 researchers in his field have been trained by Dr. Neale … significantly influencing the next generation of researchers.”

Neale has received several awards for his scholarship and service to the field, and has shared his expertise while serving as president of the Behavioral Genetics Association, board member of the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology and reviewer for multiple scholarly journals.

The Distinguished Scholarship Award recognizes an outstanding scholar who has demonstrated a pattern of productive scholarly activity, which has been recognized nationally or internationally, as appropriate. Traditional research, creative endeavors and other scholarly activity are included in this category. Neale received the award at the university’s 2017 Faculty Convocation.

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