February 2012

February 2012

Roundtable Header

Welcome to the February edition of the Round Table!

Over the past several months, you have heard much about our new clinical strategy. I, along with other Health System leaders, have been attending open-forum meetings, such as Uteam and Town Hall meetings, to convey the history of, and reason for, this new strategic direction. To continue the transparency and communication of information regarding this initiative, I will continue to visit individual departments with other members of Health System leadership to discuss our overall goals and the future of the Health System, and to solicit questions.

The Medical Center Operating Board will meet this month, and part of its agenda will be to review and discuss the implementation planning of the new clinical strategy. We are currently assembling work groups to implement six areas of focus: ambulatory and physician network development, clinical programs, clinical research strategy, regional partnerships, our operations team, and a financial resources group.

We need our faculty and staff in the School of Medicine, as well as those across the entire Health System, to have a shared commitment and engagement for this new direction. As we face diminishing, or drastically reduced, funding from various avenues, we have to find new ways to become self-sufficient. Keeping the status quo is not an option. "Business as usual" will not allow our organization to thrive in these competitive times. The clinical strategy represents our opportunity to lead by example, foster a cycle of success, become the partner of choice for other institutions, drive innovation, and affirm our position as a top-tier academic medical center.

More information regarding the clinical strategy can be found in the debut issue of Collaboration, a new quarterly Health System publication. Collaboration also tells the stories of dedicated colleagues and technological advances. It celebrates research discoveries and academic accomplishments, setting the stage as we move as one. I urge you to bookmark uvacollaboration.com, customize your news, and subscribe to the RSS feed.


Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP


Allison Holt Named 2011 Administrator of the Year

Please join me in congratulating our 2011 School of Medicine Administrator of the Year, Allison Holt, who is the Co-Administrator for Otolaryngology, Neurology and Urology. Described as a conscientious and strategic thinker, her quality of work in financials, billing, and strategic processes has been outstanding and has served to move the School of Medicine forward in its goals and initiatives.

The contributions Allison has made to multiple departments, its employees, and the School of Medicine were best summed up by nominator Karen C. Johnson, MD, Professor of Neurology and Public Health Science and Department of Neurology Chair: "Her role is critical to the success of the department and her execution of her role is remarkable. Allison has the perfect balance of skills in completing tasks and in having a vision for the future goals. She has the perfect balance of firm decisiveness and emotional intelligence. She is an outstanding communicator and tackles difficult conversations with grace and compassion." Congratulations Allison!

Care Connection Reaches Major Milestone

Care Connection, which provides easy access to expert healthcare to our faculty, staff, and their families, recently passed the two-year mark and has accommodated an amazing 10,000 visits. Of these 10,000 visits, 80 percent are from UVA employees or family, and 77 percent are initial visits. Special congratulations go out to our top departments: 1,600 employee appointments in Dermatology; 1,000 employee appointments in Family Medicine; 500+ employee appointments in Ophthalmology and Orthopedics; and 300+ employee appointments in Digestive Health, Neurology, Otolaryngology, and OB/GYN.

I would like to thank you for your outstanding efforts, dedication, and teamwork in reaching this major milestone.

School of Medicine Employee of the Month Awards

I'm happy to announce our latest School of Medicine Employees of the Month are Barbara White (August 2011), Danielle Richardson (October 2011), Keena Thomas (November 2011), and Ornuma Wawsri (December 2011). There were no nominees in the month of September 2011.

Thanks to each of you for giving your colleagues, patients, students, and others your best.

Barbara White

Barbara, Fiscal Analyst in Neurology, was honored for assuming the responsibility of Clerkship Coordination due to an unexpected absence. Her pleasant demeanor and professionalism reflected positively on the department and the School. "Barbara has worked hard and has always agreed to work on whatever aspect of the clerkship coordination that needed to be done. She is always cheerful and calm, which helps out tremendously in a sometimes stressful situation," wrote Priscilla Potter, MD, Clerkship Director.

Danielle Richardson

Danielle, Grants Accountant for the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, was honored because she assumed additional responsibilities as the result of a vacancy while maintaining her full workload. "I have seen Danielle lead difficult cost savings conversations, act as a leader by relaying group concerns, and quickly and accurately respond to requests. Danielle's reputation as being in the forefront of her specialty precedes her, and I feel extremely proud to have her as a member of our finance team," wrote Elizabeth Molina, Director of Finance.

Keena Thomas

In nominating Keena, Amy H. Bouton, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs, wrote, "Keena has been a key liaison with the construction staff for the lab, as well as the entire department, and has come in repeatedly on nights and weekends to check on the aftermath of construction outages." A Laboratory Specialist Senior with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, Keena became the "go-to" person on the 7th floor of Jordan whenever any administration or construction concerns were expressed. This was particularly critical in 2011 as the department faced extreme challenges amid significant construction impediments.

Ornuma Wawsri

"Ornuma is 'one of a kind' and a 'rare find' who is truly an asset to Anne Chapin [her supervisor] and the Clinical Skills Center team," says Yvonne G. Newberry, Assistant Clerkship Director, OB/GYN. The nomination for Ornuma, Medical Senior Simulation Technology Specialist in the Department of Medical Education, highlighted her taking the initiative to sort and organize two years of data to facilitate a clinician's research; devising a beneficial solution to enhance the privacy for patients and student learners in the Clinical Skills Center; and creating efficiencies in Center operations that allowed the Center to nearly double its output in 2011 without additional staff.

Congratulations Barbara, Danielle, Keena and Ornuma.

Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health Faculty Receive Accolades

January was a wonderful month for faculty members in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, as they received many awards and recognition. Please join me in congratulating ...

Richard Guerrant, MD, Director of the Center for Global Health and Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine, was recently awarded Virginia's Outstanding Scientist by the Science Museum of Virginia. With support from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Guerrant is working to understand the impact of intestinal infections on malnutrition and cognitive development, and to develop innovative solutions. This award is given to those whose research extends the boundaries of any field of science and whose contribution is easily recognizable as a definite advance of knowledge or technological development.

Rebecca Dillingham, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, received the Young Physician of the Year Award from the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians. This award recognizes Dr. Dillingham for her outstanding achievements benefitting local and regional communities, as well as international areas, particularly for her work in Haiti.

Eric Houpt, MD, Harrison Associate Professor of Medicine, received the 2012 Academic Faculty Teaching Award from the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP). According to the ACP, Dr. Houpt's "excellent teachings have … extended far beyond the bounds of the University of Virginia, strengthening medical education in many areas of the world."

Amy Mathers, MD, Assistant Professor of Research, and Costi Sifri, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, received wonderful commentary from Amos Adler and Yehuda Carmeli, Division of Epidemiology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and National Center of Infection Control, Ministry of Health, Tel Aviv, in the form of an editorial in mBio for Mathers' and Sifri's work demonstrating clonal and plasmid transfer mechanisms of the spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC). You may read it at mbio.asm.org/content/2/6/e00280-11.ful.

William Petri, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Infection Diseases and International Health, tells me that to have five faculty members recognized in so many different ways is a reflection of the teamwork and dedication of the entire Infectious Disease and International Health faculty, fellows, and staff who catalyze success. I couldn't agree more. Congratulations to all.

Collaboration Is Rewarded With 2011 Charles L. Brown Award for Patient Care Quality

Collaborative efforts by the Physical Therapy Unit, Department of Orthopaedics, 8 West, 6 East and Department of Public Health Sciences earned them the 2011 Charles L. Brown Award for Patient Care Quality with the project "Improving Outcomes of the Total Joint Arthoplasty Patient: Validating Safety and Enhancing Mobility."

Special congratulations to the project team: Andy Poole, PT, Joel Anderson, RN, Quanjun Cui, MD, Wendy Novicoff, PhD, Matthew Kinney, BS, Greg Cooper, PT, Stella Prevost, PT, Patrick Hennelly, PT, Laura Schapiro, Peter Simons, PT, and Michelle Longley, GNP.

The Charles L. Brown Award was created to honor the late Charles L. Brown's service and generosity to the Health System as a former member of the Health Sciences Council in the 1990s. He served as an adviser to the former Vice President for Health Sciences, Don E. Detmer, MD. Through this fund, $10,000 is awarded to Health System faculty and staff to recognize excellence in patient care.

Congratulations again, for the great team effort!


Ann Deusing Wins Library Services Outreach Award

Please join me in congratulating Ann Duesing, Outreach Librarian for Southwest Virginia with the University of Virginia Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. She recently won the National Library of Medicine Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award. This award is given annually to honor a health sciences librarian assisting an underserved community.

Duesing's efforts include playing a key role in three major health initiatives, including TechWorld, a program using student volunteers from area high schools to teach computer skills to caregivers for patients with Alzheimer's and other conditions. Deusing helped secure a grant for a touch-screen computer and printer at the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center, a facility that helps its residents access online information about cancer and treatments, and also provides gas cards and food to patients who travel to receive cancer treatments. And, as a faculty member at the Healthy Appalachia Institute, she helps leaders on health projects access vital information for their work. Congratulations, Ann.

Authorship, Plagiarism, and Falsification of Data

Last month, Steven Wasserman, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research, and John Kattwinkel, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, and Chair of the Conflict of Interest and of the Research Ethics committees, presented the faculty development session, "Authorship, Plagiarism, and Fabrication of Data."

These are national problems and the School of Medicine has not been immune. The open-source nature of information on the Internet and the sophistication of graphics manipulation software have created new challenges for the researcher. Whether intentionally plagiarizing or not, the problem is real and places individual researchers, the School of Medicine, and the University of Virginia at risk. Drs. Wasserman and Kattwinkel offered a description of the problems associated with these areas and suggested best practices to avoid problems through proper project management (for authorship issues) and the development of data management and data manipulation policies at the investigator level (to avoid misconduct issues).

I urge you to familiarize yourself with the institutional policies on Research Misconduct (https://policy.itc.virginia.edu/policy/policydisplay?id=res-004), Laboratory Notebook and Recordkeeping (https://policy.itc.virginia.edu/policy/policydisplay?id=RES-002), and the School of Medicine authorship policy (www.medicine.virginia.edu/administration/office-of-the-dean/administration/school-policies/Authorship-of-Scholarly-Publications.pdf).

"Authorship, Plagiarism, and Falsification of Data" will be offered again later this year. I also wish to bring to your attention an upcoming companion session, "Disclosure, Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Commitment, and Ethical Partnerships with Industry," being offered by the Faculty Leadership Program on March 16. Information and registration can be found at www.medicine.virginia.edu/education/more/cme/events/FLP-page.

Eugene C. Corbett Jr., MD, Honored with Jane F. Desforges Distinguished Teacher Award

Eugene C. Corbett Jr., MD, Bernard B. and Anne L. Brodie Professor of Medicine, Professor of Nursing, Retiring Dean for Clinical Skills Education, Interim Clinical Director, Clinical Skills Center, was recently awarded the 2012 Jane F. Desforges Distinguished Teacher Award. Since 1968, this honor has been awarded annually by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and is bestowed upon one "who has demonstrated the ennobling qualities of a great teacher as judged by the acclaim and accomplishments of former students who have been inspired and have achieved positions of leadership in the field of medical education, primarily as teachers." Along with this award, Dr. Corbett also received a Mastership from ACP. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Corbett on this outstanding achievement.

Program Helps Faculty Successfully Compete for Grants

Last month, Angela Sherman, Research Administration Manager in the Office of Sponsored Programs, and Beverly Van Ausdal, Assistant Director for Grants, School of Medicine, presented "Finding and Applying for NIH 'F' and 'K' Series Career Development Awards" in Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium. This session, worth two continuing medical education credits and sponsored by the Faculty Leadership Program, attracted more than 100 faculty, graduate students and postdocs.

The goal of the session was to help inexperienced applicants sort through the often-confusing processes of finding appropriate funding opportunities, writing and assembling a grant application, and submitting it. Tips on grantsmanship and how to develop a focused idea and present it clearly were discussed. Resource materials, including annotated guides and links, were emailed to participants following the session.

The response was overwhelmingly positive and included suggestions for future topics. Based on participant feedback, new sessions are in the works to assist faculty in successfully competing for grant funding. For information on future sessions, contact Angela Sherman at ags3f@eservices.virginia.edu.

Preparing for the LCME Site Visit

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) site visit will be in October 2014. The LCME is the accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canadian medical schools. While October 2014 may seem like a long time from now, it will require a full two years of intensive, elaborate preparation, requiring broad participation from the faculty in the School of Medicine.

In the next few weeks, we will be establishing committees and sub-committees to conduct the self-survey, and we will be calling on you to participate in these committees. I ask for your support in this critically important process. Thank you in advance.

Dean's New Faculty Seminar Series

Thank you to everyone who attended the first installment in the new year of the Dean's New Faculty Seminar series, "Genome stability in the germline and in somatic lineages," presented by Aaron R. Quinlan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences. In addition to education, the seminars 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 and Grounds.

All faculty, students, and staff are welcome to attend the seminars, which are held in Jordan Hall Auditorium. As a reminder, February's event will be on:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 4 p.m.
  • Presenter – James Stone, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology
  • Topic – Traumatic Brain Injury: Neuroimaging correlates of repetitive blast exposure in human military service members.

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


UVA Is Joining Forces With the White House and the AAMC

Last month, I attended the Joining Forces kick-off in Richmond at which First Lady Michelle Obama spoke. Joining Forces is the national initiative to give service members and their families the support they have earned. A central tenet of this initiative is wellness, and the White House has reached out to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the nation's medical schools to help heal our returning military and their families. The initiative will address everything from obvious, combat-related injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), to the more subtle psychological wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

To assist in this initiative, Raymond Costabile, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Strategy, Jay Y. Gillenwater Professor of Urology, Colonel U.S. Army (retired), has been appointed our key contact. Jeffrey Barth, PhD, the John Edward Fowler Professor at UVA, will help integrate the effort with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a Department of Defense-funded center at UVA, with other departments (such as Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Psychiatry) as well as other centers throughout Virginia.

The Next Generation Curriculum at the School of Medicine has incorporated a "thread" of cultural competency running through all four years of education that will now address specific aspects of the care of returning U.S. military combat veterans and their families. These now include more than 40 Learning Objectives integrated into the Pre-Clerkship Team-Based Learning. In addition, I have discussed coordinated efforts with the Richmond VA Traumatic Brain Injury Program.

By collaborating with the White House, the AAMC, and our colleagues across the country under the Joining Forces initiative, it is my hope that we will help heal, both mentally and physically, all of our returning service members and their families.

Medical Student Summer Research Program

The School of Medicine (SOM) Office for Research is soliciting projects for the Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP). The program is restricted to rising second-year UVA medical students. Research projects will run for seven weeks. The total stipend is $2,800, though SOM can provide limited co-funding — up to $1,000 for one student per preceptor — if preceptor need is documented; SOM pays Summer Session fees for all participating students.

The large number of returning preceptors is a testimonial to the productivity of these students. A detailed program description can be found at www.medicine.virginia.edu/research/offices/research/for-students-and-postdocs/medical-student-research-programs-at-uva.html.

If you wish to participate in the program, please complete the 2012 Preceptor Form (see above link). Send the completed form to the Office for Research — email the Word version to Joyce Fortune at jcf9u@virginia.edu and follow with a signed hard copy to McKim 3026. Students will contact you directly. Before a project is approved, student and preceptor must complete the student form with the preceptor's countersignature and overall funding must be established. Full support is available for several students whose research projects fall in areas supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

If you have any questions about the MSSRP, feel free to contact Dr. Steven Wasserman at ssw3an@virginia.edu.

Basic Scientists and Clinicians Collaborate to Understand Prostate Cancer

Each month in Round Table I will be highlighting examples of how basic scientists and clinicians collaborate to advance medicine. This month, I wish to turn your attention to the efforts of faculty working on the recently re-funded Program Project Grant (P01), "Signaling and Progression in Prostate Cancer," and how they brought together a multi-disciplinary team to win a National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to investigate the molecular changes occurring as prostate cancer progresses to the therapy-resistant state.

The principal investigators of the P01 are Bryce Paschal, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, Professor of Urology and Pharmacology and (now) Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Joining Paschal and Theodorescu is Anindya Dutta, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Professor of Pathology.

Michael Weber, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Cancer Center Director, had encouraged Dutta to apply his basic science approaches to prostate cancer. In the course of attending project meetings, he eventually developed a project working on microRNAs in prostate cancer. "[Drs.] Paschal and Theodorescu were also extremely helpful in getting me to think about the disease," says Dutta.

Paschal says, "Getting a P01 renewed is an extremely competitive process, so of course the selection of projects for the P01 renewal was itself very competitive. Dutta's project stood out as an approach that was highly meritorious scientifically and with strong translational potential."

Dutta also credits "the iterative cycles, where we changed many of our specific aims, or developed new preliminary data, as the projects were brought into closer relationship with each other." UVA and external advisers also played an important role in developing the P01.

The team meets monthly to discuss the latest data from the labs, including critique of the data and suggestions for improvement. "In the course of these discussions collaborative ideas emerge, ranging from a simple sharing of reagents to a new experimental design," says Dutta. "We come to this group with different expertise, so it is only through this collaboration that I can translate my basic research in microRNAs on cells in culture to models of prostate cancer in animals."

Paschal says, "One of the goals of the P01 is to develop new model systems that recapitulate key aspects of human prostate cancer." They recruited David Wotton, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, for his expertise in transgenic mice. "Wotton's group has already developed a new mouse model that displays features of the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer," says Paschal. Wotton heads a core on animal models, with Daniel Gioeli, PhD, Associate Professor of Research of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, as co-director.

Henry Frierson Jr., MD, Professor of Pathology, heads a tissue analysis core, providing the perspective of human prostate cancer. He helps test hypotheses on prostate cancer biopsies. "As a pathologist who has literally examined thousands of cancers over several decades, Dr. Frierson is instrumental for helping us characterize our new model systems," says Paschal. Mark Conaway, PhD, Professor, Division of Translational Research and Applied Statistics, Department of Public Health Sciences, provides statistical expertise to interpret both animal and human cancer experiments.

The team not only spans basic science and clinical departments, but with Theodorescu's relocation to Colorado, it also spans time zones. Dutta says, "While this could have weakened our team, we converted this into a strength, by integrating new researchers in Denver into the P01 team. We now have access to a larger pool of prostate cancer patients and scientists with new expertise from Denver. The Denver group joins in on our monthly meetings by video conference."

Paschal adds, "We believe that multi-disciplinary science and team-based approaches will provide insight into the mechanisms that underpin the development of prostate cancer. Discovery-based science is essential for defining the key pathways and components that can then be exploited therapeutically." Clearly, the creativity and team-building efforts from various departments and disciplines have paid off, and represent a model for translational research at the School of Medicine.


UVA Health Plan Clarification

Last month I discussed the reduction in co-pays for those on the UVA Health Plan. To clarify, these reductions are for those employees who participate in the UVA Health Plan with Aetna. It does not apply to those who are in the UVA Health Plan with Southern Health.

Sean Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Expands Role to UVA Physicians Group

Please join me in congratulating Sean Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, School of Medicine, as he expands the scope of his duties to include the UVA Physicians Group. Having Sean oversee the information technology departments for both UPG and the School of Medicine makes sense — as we move forward with our strategic direction, this streamlining will better align the two organizations and allow for greater economy and efficiency in our operations. Congratulations, Sean.