October 2011

October 2011

Roundtable Header

Welcome to the October 2011 edition of Round Table

I want to update you on three projects of great importance to us all: a new budget model for the University, the Health System's strategic planning and Department of Medicine progress.

In an October 25 email to the University community President Sullivan introduced us to the University's new financial model. The change is largely driven by the continued pressure on funds from all sources. The president said we must move to a budget model that will emphasize transparent decision-making, incentive-based allocations, and prudent stewardship of the University's resources. The new model, to be implemented in the 2013-14 budget year, will empower individual academic units to be innovative and cost-efficient. Importantly, the president said incentives will be built into the system to encourage entrepreneurship among deans, administrative leaders, and faculty and staff members across the University.

Executive Vice President and Provost John Simon and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine are sponsoring the initiative. They are working closely with a steering committee. Together, they will operationalize the new system. They have pledged to communicate regularly with groups across Grounds to gather comments and answer questions, and encourage involvement. I will also provide more information as the model develops.

The School of Medicine is well placed to benefit from this new model. Many of our colleagues excel at creating and introducing ideas and inventions, and moving them to market. I encourage you to support this work at every opportunity.

An early focus of our strategic planning has been a review of our mission and vision statements. After soliciting views from across the Health System we concluded that the current mission statement should incorporate a commitment to quality and the vision statement should focus on several distinct themes.

Please take a moment to review our proposed mission and vision statements. They are a work in progress, and I invite you to offer your thoughts and comments.


The mission of the UVA Health System is to provide excellence, innovation and superlative quality in the care of patients, the training of health professionals, and the creation and sharing of health knowledge.


In all that we do, we work to benefit human health and improve the quality of life. We will be:

  • our local community's provider of choice for its healthcare needs
  • a national leader in quality, patient safety, service and compassionate care
  • the leading provider of technologically-advanced, ground-breaking care throughout Virginia
  • recognized for translating research discoveries into improvements in clinical care and patient outcomes
  • fostering innovative care delivery and teaching/training models that respond to the evolving health environment.

Again, we welcome your input. Please link here to share your ideas. http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/feedback/.

The Department of Medicine is making great progress on the road to financial stability. I am very grateful for the hard work and institutional loyalty shown by the faculty, staff and department leadership. The Department's annual deficit has been halved, but with the low hanging fruit now gone, the more challenging work of reorganizing operations and processes – in order to achieve long-term success - is well underway. Several teams of experts from within the Department and from across the Health System have made a productive start in reviewing and confirming financial and other data, which is referenced in the Department's improvement plan. Currently the teams are gaining a more thorough understanding of the operational and strategic issues that must be taken into consideration when developing final recommendations. It is a slow but thorough process that will take approximately two years, but I believe it will be worth it. A thriving and vibrant Department of Medicine is essential for the health and success of an academic medical center.

In the next few weeks, project team initiatives include a survey of Department faculty regarding the research environment, and the drafting of performance metrics that are meaningful to researchers and the research mission. Another important initiative involves faculty compensation. The compensation team is in the process of hiring a consultant to examine the current faculty compensation model and make recommendations that will improve faculty satisfaction and be performance-based. Naturally, when adopting changes to any process or model, the implications for other departments will be assessed carefully and thoroughly.

In this edition of Roundtable you will find information on:

  • Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign
  • Dean's New Faculty Seminar Series
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Mentoring/Shadowing Opportunity
  • Mandatory Flu Inoculation
  • Mark Kirk, MD, Leads Creation of Emergency Response Tool

Respectfully, Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP

Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

The Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) is underway and I urge everyone to make a donation. I would like as close to 100 percent participation – even if the amounts are relatively small. There is a way in which state employees can give to the charities of their choice. Approximately 1,300 charities participate in the campaign, so employees can easily find causes that match their interests. In the past, UVA employees have been among the most generous in the state in supporting the CVC.

Among the charities participating in the CVC are those funding health and human services, animal welfare, environmental and/or historical restoration, preservation or conservation, and medical research. This year UVA employees can provide aid to Virginians impacted by this year's natural disasters through the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. More information about the campaign, including locations where you can drop off pledges, is at http://www.virginia.edu/cvc/.

Dean's New Faculty Seminar Series

Thank you to everyone who attended the first two presentations in the Dean's new faculty seminar series. Our October presenter, Hui Li, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology in the Cancer Center, provided us with some fascinating insights into "Chimeric RNA and its implication in reproductive system, muscle differentiation and cancer." In addition to education, the seminars also are an opportunity for presenters to introduce themselves and their research programs to other faculty and to make contacts with others in their field and around the School of Medicine. All faculty, students, and staff are welcome to attend the seminars, which are held in Jordan Hall Auditorium. As a reminder, upcoming speakers this Fall and Winter are:

Wednesday, November 16, 4pm.

  • Presenter – James Stone MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology.
  • Topic Traumatic Brain Injury: Neuroimaging correlates of repetitive blast exposure in human military service members.

Thursday, December 15, 4pm.

  • Presenter – Adrian Halme, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology.
  • Topic – Developmental control of tissue regeneration.

Thursday, January 19, 4pm.

  • Presenter – Aaron Quinlan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences.
  • Topic - Genome stability in the germline and in somatic lineages.

It is my hope that this merit-based series will speed the introduction of exciting new research ideas, and accelerate collaborations and interactions between our new faculty and all of our established colleagues!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Mentoring/Shadowing Opportunity

Thank you to everyone in the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing who participated last January in our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. The all-morning event was the highlight of an all-year mentoring effort for those interested in a career in medicine. We once again are asking for volunteers to act as mentors to local students and others, both for the remainder of the academic year and for MLK Day 2012. If you are interested in either the year-long mentoring or mentoring on the morning of January 16 (MLK day), please volunteer your time. We already have 35 undergraduates who would like to shadow a medical professional and 20 faculty volunteers; I encourage more to participate. Please contact Judy Pointer at jjp5s@virginia.edu if you would like to volunteer. This is a great opportunity to educate and enlighten future health care professionals, and I urge you to consider contributing your time to this program.

We also will continue to honor the legacy of Dr. King with a range of events designed to reach out to local community members, high-school students, undergraduates, graduates, and others to inform them about the challenges and successes that minorities face in the field of health care.

Mandatory Flu Inoculation

In the past few years, the potential for a major influenza outbreak has highlighted the need for the UVA Health System to implement a comprehensive screening and inoculation program. This is important for patient protection, as well as employees, colleagues and visitors. I encourage everyone to get the flu inoculation as soon as possible.

This year the inoculation is mandatory for all School of Medicine faculty, professional research staff, staff and wage employees, as well as unpaid or visiting faculty of the School of Medicine who work in or regularly visit facilities owned or operated by UVA. The flu inoculation is considered a condition of employment. Details about the policy can be found at http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/administration/office-of-the-dean/administration/school-policies/RequiredHealthScreenings.pdf. To receive the flu shot please call UVA WorkMed (243-0075) to schedule an appointment, visit Employee Health during normal clinic hours, or attend a flu clinic. The clinic schedule is at http://www.hr.virginia.edu/news-events/news/2011-flu-shots/. Alternately, you may visit your personal health care provider for the vaccination, but you will need to provide a vaccination record as confirmation. Individuals can request a waiver for several reasons. Details are on the School of Medicine Human Resources website at www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/intranet/somhr/news/healthscreeningpolicy.cfm Our colleagues in the Medical Center and UPG already have a policy that flu shots are required. Thank you for your assistance with this initiative and in helping protect the health of our patients and colleagues.

Mark Kirk, MD, Leads Creation of Emergency Response Tool

Congratulations to Mark A. Kirk, MD, for his leadership role in creating and launching CHEMM-IST (Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management Intelligent Syndromes Tool), an online tool to assist first responders during large-scale chemical accidents or terrorist attacks. Dr. Kirk, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, is also Special Advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, where he is leading the CHEMM-IST program together with members of the National Library of Medicine. CHEMM-IST assists paramedics, nurses, emergency physicians and other first responders to rapidly identify the group of chemicals causing patients to become ill. The program also will provide expert medical guidance to responders who are at the chemical hazard site and to local hospitals that are treating the victims. Dr. Kirk has been involved in CHEMM-IST's development since working with the Indianapolis Fire Department's hazardous materials response team in the early 1990s. This online program is a unique tool and offers a new approach for the nation's first responders in identifying chemical hazards. A smart phone application will be available soon, making access easier for emergency medical workers. Congratulations to Dr. Kirk for leading the effort to create this tool, and for his contributions to our nation's security.

Respectfully, -STDeK