Welcome to the August edition of the Round Table.
U.S. News & World Report has recognized the University of Virginia Health System as being one of America’s “Best Hospitals.” Compared to previous years, there was some slippage attributable to a new ranking methodology employed by U.S. News. As I’ve said in the past, it is very easy to overstate the importance of “best of” lists such as these. Very few people care about them … unless you’re not on them. However, because of your hard work, we join fewer than 150 hospitals out of almost 5,000 in the U.S. with a nationally ranked program! Recognition such as this is a good external validation of our continuing efforts toward excellence and signals to our community the value of UVA’s services.
Highlights of the report include UVA having 10 medical specialties recognized as among the best in the country. Our diabetes and endocrinology programs were ranked 44th in this year’s guide. Nine additional programs were recognized as high performing for ranking among the top 25 percent in their respective specialties: Cancer, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Pulmonology, and Urology. Additionally, 158 of our physicians from 54 specialties have been named to U.S. News’ “Top Doctors” list. These are wonderful accomplishments. Thank you for your daily dedication to offering the best in quality care to our patients and unwavering support to their families and visitors. We will continue to improve our safety and quality, and as those scores improve I expect our rankings will rise!
While we are listed as a “Best Hospital,” we are also an outstanding institution for research. We are renewing our commitment to this goal. I and other senior leadership are excited to announce a new investment in translational clinical research by the Medical Center which has agreed to provide $35 million over the next five years to more quickly develop our clinical research. Be sure to keep an eye out for a request for proposals, which will contain more details on this new grant program. I encourage you to bring your innovative best to the table. I am intrigued to see what new medical advancements and treatments we will develop.
Change is upon us — some good, some challenging, and some uncertain. Last month, in a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. This as well as other pending state legislation items will have a large impact on the University of Virginia and the School of Medicine. How exactly? We don’t know yet, but being prepared for change and being willing to adapt to the evolving landscape is a good first step in ensuring the continuation of our success.
I would like to offer a warm welcome to our newest students: the class of 2016. I look forward to personally meeting these students in the coming months and watching them progress and grow through our program, and join the outstanding student body already here at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Finally, I’d like to remind you that the next School of Medicine State of the School address will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m. in the Claude Moore Medical Education Building (3rd Floor, Room 3110). The agenda will include research, education, and clinical updates. Please join me at a reception immediately following our meeting. I look forward to seeing all of you!
Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP
UVA-WorkMed Clinic Relocates
Please note that, as of Aug. 3, the UVA-WorkMed clinic relocated to 1910 Arlington Blvd. and is operating under its normal business hours (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). As UVA-WorkMed provides the Employee Health services for the School of Medicine, it’s important for you to note this change. The phone numbers have remained the same and, as before, it is always best to call ahead for an appointment to reduce your wait time. For a map and written directions to the new location, please visit www.uvaworkmed.com or call 434.243.0075.
Update: LCME Steering Committee Forms
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) site visit is scheduled to occur in the fall of 2014, and we are organizing for their arrival. The accreditation steering committee will consist of myself as Chair; Randolph J. Canterbury, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Education as Co-Chair; Barnett R. (Bart) Nathan, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, as Faculty Chair of the Institutional Self-Study; and Lesley Thomas, JD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education, as LCME Coordinator. As the fall approaches, we’ll begin appointing faculty to self-study subcommittees, whose work will begin in June 2013. Thank you in advance for your assistance and participation in preparation for this accreditation review.
Save the Date: 11th Conference on Comprehensive Breast Care and Imaging
Mark your calendars: The Breast Care Services at the University of Virginia will present the 11th Conference on Breast Care and Imaging on Oct. 19 and 20, 2012.
This conference, sponsored by the School of Medicine Office of Continuing Medical Education, offers discussions and interactive case presentations, as well as a full day’s focus on breast imaging. This course will provide clinicians with practical information related to breast imaging and breast care and will include the latest information on screening, diagnosis, and treatment, with a focus on breast density. This year’s guest speaker is Liane Philpotts, MD, Chief of Breast Imaging at Yale University School of Medicine. UVA healthcare professionals can attend for a reduced fee of $50 for both days.
To view the full brochure and to register, please visit www.medicine.virginia.edu/education/more/cme (click on “Conferences & Symposia”).
2012-2013 Faculty Leadership Program Schedule Now Available
For those interested in participating in Faculty Leadership Program
(FLP) events, the 2012-2013 course listing is now available at the FLP
www.medicine.virginia.edu/administration/faculty/faculty-dev/fdp. This year’s schedule includes items for new faculty, programs for thriving in academic medicine, faculty wellness, NextGen teacher development, research support, and more. (To download the PDF directly, click here: www.medicine.virginia.edu/administration/faculty/faculty-dev/fdp/20122013FacultyLeadershipProgram.pdf.) Be sure to check the site frequently, as programs are added, changed, or canceled when necessary throughout the year.
Faculty interested in registering can visit the FLP registration page here:
www.medicine.virginia.edu/education/more/cme/all-cme-prog-folder/FLP-page. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Ayers by phone at 434.924.8497 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESEARCH HONORS AND DEADLINES
Thomas Braciale, MD, PhD, Receives Award for Years of Service
Congratulations to Thomas J. Braciale, MD, PhD,
Professor of Pathology and Microbiology, and Director of the Beirne
Carter Center for Immunology Research. In honor of his 20 years of
service as the Center Director, the Beirne B. Carter Foundation has
gifted $20,000 to the center. These funds will be used to support
Carter Immunology Center research and training initiatives. Dr.
Braciale has been the Director of the Beirne B. Carter Center for
Immunology Research since its inception in 1991. His research focuses
on the host immune response to respiratory virus infection, with
particular emphasis on how virus infection produces injury in the
infected lungs. Thank you to Dr. Braciale for his more than two decades
of service — and congratulations!
Deadline Approaches for Burroughs Wellcome Fund Awards
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent, private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. The Career Awards at the Scientific Interface preproposal application deadline is Sept. 4, 2012. This is a $500,000 award to bridge advanced postdoctoral training and the first three years of faculty service, and are intended to foster the early career development of researchers who have transitioned, or are transitioning, from undergraduate and/or graduate work in the physical/mathematical/computational sciences or engineering fields into postdoctoral work in the biological sciences.
More information can be found at www.bwfund.org/pages/558/Career-Awards-at-the-Scientific-Interface/. Questions about the application process can be directed to Steven Wasserman, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research, at email@example.com.
Help Keep Our Labs Safe and Secure
The safety and security of our laboratories is a top priority of the
School of Medicine (SOM). I write to remind all in the SOM that UVA
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is available to assist with
safety concerns and maintain safe laboratories. EH&S has developed
a laboratory checklist that will help fulfill our safe laboratory
responsibilities. You can download this checklist, titled “School of
Medicine Environmental Health and Safety Checklist for Laboratories,”
The checklist will be referenced during EH&S visits, so please
familiarize yourself with its contents.
It is important to know that our lab safety efforts will be permanent and ongoing. EH&S will be conducting periodic laboratory walk-throughs to look for and help resolve any safety issues. While it is everyone’s duty to be aware of safety procedures in labs, the department chairs and principle investigators are responsible for their labs’ safety. Also, please inform EH&S of any new lab personnel, regardless of position. I look forward to seeing the monthly safety status updates from all of our laboratories. Richard Allen, Director, Space Management, has sent out an email with more details. Please contact your lab manager for further information.
Our labs are essential tools in fulfilling our research mission. If we fail to adhere to the full menu of precautions, it may result in fines and loss of lab use — things we all want to avoid. I thank you in advance for your vigilant efforts in this area.
NIH Re-Announces Director's Transformative Research Awards Initiative
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Transformative Research Award is an R01 initiative designed to provide support for collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose transformative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. To be considered transformative, projects must have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms through the use of novel approaches, to transform the way research is conducted through the development of novel tools or technologies, or to lead to major improvements in health through the development of highly innovative therapies, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies. Proposals are due by Sept. 21, 2012. More information
can be found at grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-12-017.html.
UVA Receives Grant to Improve Care for Cancer Patients
Congratulations to Paul Read, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology and Otolaryngology, and colleagues for being awarded $2.5 million for their project “Proactive Palliative Care and Palliative Radiation Model,” a project aimed at improving the care for patients with advanced cancer. The program, which was initiated with Buchanan Award funding, will integrate data from multiple sources to help providers proactively identify opportunities for evidence-based care interventions that have been shown to improve quality of care, increase survival, and reduce costs.
In addition to various aspects of care, the program includes a specific redesign of radiation therapy to provide highly effective single-day treatment for cancer that has spread to the bone. By limiting unnecessary travel for frequent radiation treatments and delivering more rapid radiation therapy to reduce tumor size, this initiative is expected to decrease complications from metastatic disease. The program team hopes to lead the nation in advanced cancer patient management via the integration of multiple novel clinical translational cancer programs. Once again, congratulations Dr. Read!
OTHER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE NEWS
Sign Up Today for New Alert Systems
To stay safe during an emergency it is important for faculty, staff, and trainees to be aware of any events as soon as they happen. To that end, there are two communication systems for which I strongly urge you to sign up.
SOM Alerts is an incredibly fast way for us to notify School of Medicine employees of emergency situations. Users can sign up to receive SMS texts on their mobile device(s) and/or e-mails to their account(s). Please visit www.virginia.edu/uvaalerts/ today to activate your UVA Alerts account and automatically be signed up for SOM Alerts.
Alertus Desktop is a great software application that enables a full-screen alert message to display on your desktop or laptop. It will take over the whole screen of your computer with a warning that is impossible to miss. Alertus Desktop works if you are using your computer (laptop or desktop) on Grounds and on the UVA network, or off Grounds if you're connected to UVA via virtual private network (VPN). Health System Computing Services (HSCS) computers should already have Alertus installed. Please double-check that yours is running Alertus. Non-HSCS computers can download this program from ITS Software Central its.virginia.edu/central/ and install it on your PC or Mac. If you have questions or problems, please contact the Help Desk at its.virginia.edu/helpdesk/, 434.924.4357, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take a few moments today to sign up. Much of your ability to respond to an emergency relies upon the timely information distributed by these systems.
Uteam Meetings Currently Underway
It is important for UVA to foster a culture of engagement through communication and recognition. To that end, Uteam meetings are continuing this month. For your convenience, the presentation is offered at multiple venues and times and will provide an opportunity to share your thoughts with senior leaders. This month’s topics will include updates on our strategic focus and finances, the implications of the Affordable Care Act, an overview of operational goals, milestones on current construction projects, and the success of our recent community outreach efforts. To find a time that best fits your schedule, go to www.uvauteam.com.