October 2010

October 2010

Welcome to the October edition of Round Table.

Roundtable Header

We began this month with a day of great celebration as we formally dedicated the Claude Moore Medical Education Building. I was truly moved to see so many alumni return for the occasion and grateful for President Sullivan joining us for her first building dedication. Special thanks to Karen Rendleman and the development staff for putting together a wonderful event!

President Sullivan’s Day of Dialogue and the dedication of a plaque in memory of Morgan Harrington, daughter of our own Dr. Dan Harrington, have given us all pause to reflect on the fragility of life. We cannot take our safety and security or that of our friends, family, students, and colleagues for granted.

There have been a number of criminal incidents against University students in recent weeks. Most -- although not all -- have occurred between midnight and daybreak at or near the Corner or in neighborhoods adjacent to the University in which many of our students live. We live in a safe area, but we must remain vigilant to preserve our safety. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about safety in your area, please send them to me and we can address them quickly. I share in the University’s commitment to do all we can to make main Grounds and all of our facilities as safe as possible.

In this issue of Round Table, we welcome new Chair of Public Health Sciences Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, and new Chair of Microbiology Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, we also celebrate a national teaching honor for Dr. Ed Nemergut, review some changes and challenges in our local healthcare market, and celebrate our employees of the month: Brenda Martin of the Cancer Center and Joshua M. Rady of the Department of Pathology.


Steven T. DeKosky,

MD Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, Named Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences

I am very pleased Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, will serve as Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, effective November 1, 2010.

Ms. Bernheim has served as Director of the Division of Public Health Policy and Practice in the Department of Public Health Sciences since 2005. She is founding director of the Master of Public Health Program in the School of Medicine, which awards dual degrees with medicine, law, and business administration.

Ms. Bernheim’s scholarship focuses on public health policy, law and ethics. She currently serves on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ethics Subcommittee and Virginia's State Pandemic Flu Advisory Board. She also is the current President of the Virginia Public Health Association.

She received her law degree from the University of Virginia and her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Since coming to the University ten years ago from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health faculty, she has initiated numerous new educational programs in research.

As Associate Director of the University-wide Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life since 2001, Ms. Bernheim teaches courses across Grounds, including in the law school and College of arts & sciences. She is a member of the founding faculty of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

I extend my deep gratitude to the members of the PHS search committee, led by Karen Johnston, MD, MSc, for their excellent work and tireless dedication.

Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, Appointed Chair of the Department of Microbiology

I am extremely pleased to announce that Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, has accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Ravichandran, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, joined the department in 1996 and was appointed Professor of Microbiology in 2004. He has served as Director of the Center for Cell Clearance since 2008.

Dr. Ravichandran’s research focuses on apoptotic cell clearance and intracellular signaling pathways regulating T and B lymphocyte function. The daily clearance of billions of apoptotic (dead) cells is fundamentally important in maintaining health. Failure to promptly and efficiently clear apoptotic cells can lead to chronic inflammation, autoimmunity and developmental defects. Dr. Ravichandran’s laboratory addresses how the dying cells are recognized by phagocytes, ingested, and removed without harm to the host.

After receiving a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Madras Veterinary College, Dr. Ravichandran received his PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1992. He performed his post-doctoral work in the Division of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. After a year as Instructor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ravichandran joined the faculty at UVA.

Dr. Ravichandran has authored more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including multiple publications in the top biomedical journals such as Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Immunology and Nature Cell Biology.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to the members of the search committee, led by Rick Horwitz, PhD, for their committed and diligent work in identifying from a national search the best candidate to head the Department of Microbiology.

As many of you know, Dr. Tom Parsons is stepping down after 17 years at the helm. We thank Dr. Parsons for his enormous service to the School of Medicine, the University, and his outstanding stewardship of the Department of Microbiology.

Edward Nemergut, MD, Honored with 2010 International Anesthesia Research Society Teaching Award

The International Anesthesia Research Society has honored Dr. Edward Nemergut of our Department of Anesthesiology as its 2010 Teaching Recognition Award Winner for Innovation in Education.

The Award is given annually to one educator who has made significant contributions to the development and academic approach of anesthesia education. Teachers worldwide are considered for this honor.

Dr. Nemergut, who also serves as the Program Director of Anesthesiology Residency, is the co-creator of OpenAnesthesia.org. OpenAnesthesia is a closely monitored wiki that allows users to instantly author and edit medical content related to anesthesiology. The educational platform creates a unique opportunity for resident physicians to take an active role in their own education, serving as the website’s primary contributors.

Within the first month of its inception, OpenAnesthesia surpassed 10,000 unique international visitors and 500 registered users. Today—less than 18 months after its announcement—OpenAnesthesia is an established educational platform with more than 90,000 visitors a month.

Congratulations to Dr. Nemergut for this prestigious honor and for leading the way on utilizing new technology to advance education and research!

UVA Center for Telehealth Approved for School of Medicine

I recently approved a request from the Office of Telemedicine to establish the UVA Center for Telehealth in the School of Medicine. Karen S. Rheuban, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education and External Affairs will lead the Center. Dr. Rheuban has been a force in the adoption and expansion of telemedicine services. She currently serves as President of the American Telehealth Association.

The new Center’s mission is to advance the institutional core missions of clinical service, teaching, research and public service through the use of advanced technologies and broadband communications networks. Through its distributed network of telehealth facilitated clinics and hospitals and via linkages to communities in underserved and other regions of Virginia, the Center will play a key role in improving access to healthcare services, to research opportunities, innovative applications and educational outreach services.

Since it was founded in 1995 by the Health System, the Office of Telemedicine has performed more than 20,000 clinical encounters. It has developed as the hub of an 80-site distributed clinical, educational and outreach telemedicine network in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since the inception of the program, telehealth has reduced the burden of travel for Virginians by 5.6 million miles.

Changes to Healthcare Market Come to Charlottesville

Over the past year and a half, we have been discussing the changing healthcare market and the central role our clinical enterprise plays in the Health System’s success. Recently, Rockingham Memorial Hospital and Martha Jefferson Hospital announced mergers with Sentara Healthcare.

With the implementation of health care reform and these market consolidations, there are new challenges to address. At the same time, our focus must be on serving communities in Central Virginia, the core of our market.

You have heard me many times say that without money, there is no mission. Half of the SOM’s operating funds come from clinical income sources. These new marketplace developments could place even more pressure on the Health System/Medical Center bottom line, and directly impact the funds we receive from it.

Looking to the future, our commitment to continuous quality improvements and operational efficiencies are a solid base on which to expand the clinical enterprise. We will continue seeking opportunities to collaborate with other providers, while knowing the foundation for our future success starts right here_with everyone at UVA. With your support and engagement, we will not only meet the challenges of the new environment but continue to build and thrive in it. We can serve as both a superb primary care resource and the source for the latest in medical treatments and technology.

Brenda Martin of the Cancer Center and Joshua Rady on the Department of Pathology Named SOM Employees of the Month

Congratulations to Brenda Martin and Joshua Rady, who both have earned the honor of the School of Medicine Employee of the Month.

Brenda was nominated for providing coverage during the vacancies of the Grant Manager and the Associate Director for Research Administration.

“Brenda’s expertise, dedication, and willingness to do what is needed to keep the Cancer Center administration in good financial shape is of great importance not only to the Cancer Center, but also to the University because of the impact it had on over 100 accounts that affect 210 faculty who constitute the Cancer Center membership,” Michael J. Weber, Ph.D., Director of the Cancer Center said her nomination.

As I told her when I presented her with her certificate, there can be no higher praise from an administrator.

I had heard about Joshua Rady’s exploits before he was nominated for employee of the month. Joshua, a senior technician in the Cross and Templeton labs in the Department of Pathology, went above and beyond the call of duty in the aftermath of this summer’s microburst storm.

With power fluctuating or completely out due to the storm, Josh, without prompting, arranged delivery of 500 pounds of ice to be delivered to the MR5 loading dock, for the use of labs in the entire medical school. This dry ice arrived just after 11 a.m. Thanks to Joshua some irreplaceable freezer content was rescued!

“Joshua Rady is not only a careful scientist, but also a dedicated team-player who’s a delight to work with,” said nominator Ken Victor.

Congratulations again to Brenda and Joshua!