July 2012

July 2012

Welcome to the July edition of the Round Table.

Roundtable Header

Welcome to the July edition of the Round Table.

Since Terry Sullivan's reinstatement as our president on June 26, she has been meeting with her vice presidents and deans, faculty leaders, and alumni — as well as with all members of the Board of Visitors (BOV). Her goal, she has said, is to restore trust, to promote reconciliation, and to leverage the extraordinary support and energy that has been created on behalf of the University. She is intent on getting back to work and to making some difficult decisions that will move the University forward.

So what does that mean to the School of Medicine and the University's Health System?

In her email to the University community on Wednesday, President Sullivan mentioned specifically the pressures on the Health System. It is important that the Board, the administration, and our patients and families know that we will respond to the changing environment — both here and nationally — by moving forward with the strategic plan, by developing our new Centers of Excellence, and by continually innovating our programs. We have much to do, but I’m confident that we have the faculty, staff, students, and alumni to achieve continued excellence.

In that same message, she wrote, “The quality of patient care is and will remain the top priority of our health care providers. The recent Supreme Court decision on healthcare will affect our Health System, no doubt in ways we cannot yet predict. Whatever the future of healthcare in this country, I will not rest until ours is recognized as the safest hospital in the nation.”

We believe we can be this good; now is our time to show it.

President Sullivan’s interest — from her first day as president two years ago — in the success and wellbeing of the Health System led to broadened attendance at the Medical Center Operating Board (MCOB) by BOV members and focused attention on both the Health System Strategic Plan and the successful transition to our NextGen Curriculum. Importantly, her concern for safety and quality care stimulated us to improve, with your help, the quality of our care. Our metrics are significantly better than previously, and they continue to improve. These changes have real outcomes in patient morbidity and mortality.

The rankings for quality recently released by Consumer Reports give us more evidence of the public interest in and knowledge of how their hospitals are performing. Even as we know that the “curve” of our performance on many of these metrics is in the right direction, the publication serves as a stimulus to do better, and as President Sullivan said, to become the very best. What can we do to achieve a higher level of quality? We continue improving hand hygiene, maintaining sterile technique with central line insertion, removing central lines as soon as possible, calling the in-house rescue physician (IRPA) at night, and discharging patients by noon. This early discharge allows for the early introduction of home health, home antibiotics, and home oxygen. In the past, we have noted reduced seven-day readmission rates in patients discharged by noon. Dedicating ourselves to the highest standards will ensure our patients receive the best in quality care. Colleagues, WE own this issue. Let’s move on it together.

At this time, I ask for your help and your reliance on our most important assets: our strong sense of community, trust, and collegiality, as well as our outstanding clinical and teaching skills. We are a large component of the University, and we need to work together as never before to pursue our goals, be a leader on Grounds, and excel in the healthcare we provide.

Finally, I would like to add my personal thanks to all of you — faculty, staff, and trainees — for your hard work, loyalty, and focus on clinical care while the central leadership underwent such a period of uncertainty. While I do not get to say “thank you” face-to-face to enough of you, please know that I and the rest of the School of Medicine leadership are deeply grateful for the work you all do in clinics, labs, classrooms, and at the bedside.

For all that you do for the Health System and the University, I sincerely thank you.

Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP


Paul Levine, MD, Is New President of UPG

Congratulations to Paul A. Levine, MD, Robert W. Cantrell Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, for his recent election to be the new president of UVA Physicians Group. He will serve a three-year term. Dr. Levine joined the University faculty in 1984 and has chaired his department since 1997. Once again, congratulations, Dr. Levine!

Making Progress on 2013 Goals and Metrics

I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on some of the University of Virginia Health System operational performance metrics, with relation to the targets for fiscal year 2013.

Under the “I Care” heading, the employee engagement ticked up from 68.27 in a census survey in the previous quarter to 73.47 in a recent pulse survey, bringing us closer to the 2013 target of 75. And the Patient Satisfaction Press Ganey weighted surveys trended up, from 87.1 to 87.5, bringing us closer to the goal of 89.

Under the “I Heal” heading, the current quarter’s mortality index is at 0.8 (using 2010 calculations); our goal for 2013 is to have this number below 0.9 using 2011’s adjusted calculations. Another metric in this category is to have five clinical programs ranked in U.S. News & World Report by fiscal year 2013 — this is a benchmark we currently have met.

Under the “I Build” heading, the Case Mix Index for all payers (an assessment of severity of illness) moved from 1.93 to 1.95, which meets the FY13 goal of greater than or equal to 1.95. While we still have some work to do with regards to meeting the 40% goal of UVA employees and families who receive care at the Medical Center, programs such as Care Connection have helped us move closer to that milestone, as we moved from 27% to 30.1%. And, as we all know, access is king: In this area, I have good news. By FY13, we want 70% of all patient calls to result in an appointment within 3 days; we moved the needle on this item from 52.5% to 62.5%. The patient access benchmark for Specialty Care Clinic visits is 65% within seven days — and we’ve progressed in this area as the numbers trend up from 52.4% to 55.5%. Ultimately we’d like all of our patients to come visit our clinics within three days of calling for an appointment — 100% access. We’re not there yet, but the progress is promising.

While these are just the highlights of some of our operational metrics, they show how your focused energies and your daily commitment to excellence are paying off. Moving these metrics in a positive direction will help us achieve our quality goals, as defined by our clinical strategy.


Class of 2016: By the Numbers

We’re weeks away from welcoming our newest School of Medicine students as the Class of 2016. Here is a preview of what they look like, from a purely numbers viewpoint. Of the 4,382 applicants and 600 interviews performed, we will have a final class of 156 students; 79 men and 77 women. Of these, 74 are Virginians, 82 are from out of state, and 23 are from groups underrepresented in medicine. The class of 2016 has an average age of 23.4 years, an average GPA of 3.80, and an average MCAT of 34.44. While numbers never tell the whole story, those are impressive statistics, and I look forward to meeting our new students next month.

Deadline Approaches for ADE Application

Since 2003, the Academy of Distinguished Educators (ADE) has worked to recognize and reward outstanding teachers, to develop effective faculty educators across the academic medical center, and to make excellence in teaching a domain of academic advancement. All faculty at the School of Medicine at the Assistant Professor level or higher are eligible for membership. If interested, electronic applications (a single PDF) consisting of a reflective statement, a teaching portfolio, and two letters of support can be sent to Ashley Ayers (ala5t@virginia.edu) no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 3. Further details can be found at medicine.virginia.edu/administration/faculty/ade/membership-page. New ADE members will be announced the week of Sept. 17.

David Bruns, MD, Authors/Edits Book on Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics

Congratulations to David Bruns, MD, Professor of Pathology, Director of Clinical Chemistry, and Associate Director of Molecular Diagnostics, who brings us the fifth edition of Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Bruns says he was honored to be an editor of the fourth and fifth editions, as this was a text he used and studied while still in training. In the most recent edition, Bruns added the “Molecular Diagnostics” topics indicated in the title, co-authored the first three chapters, edited other chapters, and brought in new authors to this magnificent text, which many clinical chemists refer to as “the bible.” I recommend you stop by the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library reserve shelves to check it out.


Mark Conaway, PhD, Receives National Honor

Congratulations to Mark Conaway, PhD, Professor of Public Health Sciences, Director of Translational Research, for being elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the world’s largest community of statisticians. ASA serves industry, government, and academia in more than 90 countries. According to the ASA, “The designation of Fellow has been a superlative honor in ASA for nearly 100 years. … Individuals are nominated for the honor by fellow members and, to be selected, must have an established reputation and made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work.” Congratulations to Dr. Conaway for receiving his field’s highest honor.

Deadlines Approach for Four Grants

I would like to bring your attention to four opportunities for upcoming grants and awards whose internal deadlines are approaching next month.

Internal Deadline: Aug. 13

  • The Hartwell Foundation — thehartwellfoundation.org
    Focus: to grant awards to individuals for innovative and cutting-edge biomedical applied research that potentially benefits children.
  • Searle Scholars Program — searlescholars.net
    Focus: to make innovative and high-impact contributions to research over an extended period of time.

Internal Deadline: Aug. 24

  • Commonwealth Health Research Board — chrb.org
    Focus: to advance the understanding of biological systems, to improve the treatment and control of human disease, and to improve health services and the delivery of human healthcare.
  • Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences — pewtrusts.org
    Focus: to support the independent research of outstanding individuals who are in their first few years of their appointment at the assistant professor level.


Please deliver all internal packages in PDF to Megan Harris and Dr. Jeffrey Plank before 4 p.m. on the due date. Questions and queries about these awards can be sent to Dr. Plank at 924-6901 or jp4q@virginia.edu.

Academy of Distinguished Educators Announces Grants

Richard L. Merkel Jr., MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, and Robert Bloodgood, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, are Co-Chairs of the Education Research Subcommittee for the Academy of Distinguished Educators (ADE), and they announced that the ADE recently made grant awards to:

  • Stephen Borowitz, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences, Nancy McDaniel, MD, Medical Director of the Children’s Medical Center, and Mark Mendelsohn, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, for their proposal “Promoting Communication by Integrating the Electronic Medical Record into Undergraduate Medical Education,” which will be funded for $42,740 over two years.
  • Jennifer Marks, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Valentina Brashers, MD, Professor of Nursing, Jeanne Erickson, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, and John Owen, EdD, MS, Faculty Continuing Medical Education Coordinator, for their proposal “Teaching Pain Management to Undergraduate Medical and Nursing Students Using an Interprofessional Approach,” which will be funded for $42,740 over two years.
  • Kathryn Mutter, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mark Sochor, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Mark Kirk, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, and William Brady, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine, for their proposal “Internship Boot Camp: Critical Decision-Making and Procedural Skills for the First Year on Call,” which will be funded for $14,520 for one year.


This is the ninth year that the School of Medicine Dean’s Office has provided funds for ADE medical education grant awards. These awards are made only for projects that affect undergraduate medical education and that fall into two categories: medical education research and innovations in medical education. I’m especially proud that one of the grants is for interprofessional education. Congratulations to all!

Correction to June Round Table

I would like to make a correction to last month’s story “American Diabetes Association Highlights UVA Diabetes Research.” In it, we said, “Currently, we test for type 1 diabetes by measuring blood glucose levels.” To be more accurate, we test for type 1 diabetes in most non-pregnant adults by measuring hemoglobin A1c, which measures your average blood glucose control for the past two to three months. This recommendation has been incorporated into the latest guidelines on laboratory testing in diabetes.


Reminder: P&T Letters Due Soon

As we move into August, I would like to remind all faculty that it is academic advancement time and that, if you have agreed to write letters of recommendation, they are due soon. It's important to deliver these on time to ensure a smooth review cycle. I know we are all busy, but this is an important time to support our peers and to help our colleagues advance. Thank you in advance for your efforts.

SOM’s Employees of the Month Are …

Amy Fansler (April):

As Project Director of the Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort (SHINE) trial, Amy was nominated for her diligence and commitment to her role in making the NIH-funded national stroke trial a resounding success. With the departure of three major team members, she took on their responsibilities, and as Karen C. Johnston, MD, Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology, stated, “[Amy] worked tirelessly with outstanding thoughtfulness, professionalism and energy despite the enormity of the SHINE project.”

Barbara “Basia” Nowakowski (May):

As the Residency Coordinator for the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, nominators praised Basia for stepping up and filling in for two of the department’s key vacancies, while managing her regular responsibilities. Co-worker Terry Johnson stated that with Basia “as our representative, we have remained a professional and organized institution in a period that could have easily shown weaknesses and vulnerability.” Tina Pendleton-Fuller, Associate Administrator, singled Basia out for “working tirelessly in coordinating work schedules, resident lectures, visiting professors, and recruitment, as well as being a resident advocate.” Basia also deserves much credit for the smooth transition in monitoring duty-hour maximums for the residents. Spencer Gay, MD, Professor of Radiology, Residency Program Director, indicated that “the residency program nearly ‘runs itself’ when she is in charge.”

Ray Nedzel (June):

Nominations from the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging applauded webmaster Ray Nedzel’s efforts in creating a new website which more fully meets the needs of their various audiences. David Farr indicated that Ray’s “vision of a multi-phase approach to the project development was critical to the timely launching and future management of the site,” and that Ray’s “technical expertise and design experience were essential to the success of the project.” Ray’s work has resulted in a “flagship site for the School of Medicine … an accurate and authoritative source for contact, location, and service descriptions,” stated Philip Cohen, Graphic Designer and Media Specialist. Ray’s unwavering commitment to this ongoing project is highly regarded.

Amy received her certificate and photo with Dean DeKosky at the May 24 Employee of the Month celebration, along with the winners for January, February and March 2012. Basia and Ray will be publically honored during a September reception.

I encourage you to nominate your colleagues for Employee of the Month. Please submit nominations by the 10th of the month. Award recipients are publically honored in May, September, and January with a reception and a plaque. Departments may nominate an employee electronically via the SOM HR website: staging.healthsystem.virginia.edu/intranet/somhr/rewards/eom_nomination_form.cfm.

April Uteam Meeting Available Online

If you were unable to attend the April Uteam meeting, you can go online and access a video of the first presentation as well as question-and-answers from senior leaders. The video includes updates on our clinical strategy from Ed Howell, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center; our new model of alignment, and the establishment of the Associate Chief Medical Officers from Jonathan Truwit, MD, Chief Medical Officer; and progress made on our organizational focus from Bo Cofield, Associate Vice President, Hospital and Clinics Operations. The video can be found at healthsystem.virginia.edu/pub/human-resources/employee-engagement/uteam-meetings.

Faculty Development and Performance Review Tool Now Online

I would like to bring your attention to a new online tool for faculty development and performance reviews. While participation is not mandatory, I am hopeful that all School of Medicine departments will use this tool with their faculty. It can aid our annual discussions, help identify opportunities for growth, and allow us to engage in a dialogue that celebrate our successes. To access the Faculty Development and Performance Review tool, visit: https://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/intranet/somhr/faculty/facultyforms.cfm.

SOM Employee Engagement Survey Deployed

By now you should have received an invitation letter from the Center for Survey Research to participate in the School of Medicine (SOM) Employee Engagement Survey. This brief and confidential survey will measure 12 core elements of engagement developed and identified by the Gallup Research Group. Known as the Q12, these elements have proven to be highly predictive of workplace engagement and employee and workgroup performance.

Elements of the Q12 were included in this year’s Faculty Survey. Your responses will help shape the future of the SOM and Health System as we combine your responses with ongoing reporting, learning, and strategic interventions. Over the next year a group of SOM faculty and staff will work with representatives from across the Health System to develop a comprehensive Health System Engagement Survey and a year-round focus on improving and strengthening our workplace. I look forward to your honest feedback and thank you in advance for your participation.

Deadline Approaches for EOP Information Request

We recently received a note from the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) regarding a request for information about the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) evaluation. We would like your assistance with their completion. All units should coordinate one submission for each question and send them to Cayce Fournier ( clf2q@virginia.edu) and Robin Fisher ( rlf3x@virginia.edu). The requests are summarized below:

  • A list of all disability accommodations granted in your unit in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since January 1, 2010. This information should be returned to Cayce Fournier and Robin Fisher on the ADA Accommodations Worksheet, which you should have already received via email. If you need a worksheet, please contact Cayce Fournier or Robin Fisher. The deadline is July 20, 2012.
  • A narrative of your unit’s good faith efforts from October 15, 2011, to present. This should be submitted via email to Cayce Fournier and Robin Fisher no later than July 27, 2012.

Thank you for your cooperation with this important matter. Questions from chairs and administrators should be directed to Cayce Fournier ( clf2q@virginia.edu), Robin Fisher ( rlf3x@virginia.edu) or Ellen Missana (ejm6n@virginia.edu).