On Monday at Roll Call, their names were read one-by-one. And one-by-one, they stood to take their place in the Class of 2013. As the week progressed, I watched them get to know one another and get to know the MCV Campus, and was struck by the thought that these students will be agents for change. They will be the ones to transform American health care into whatever form it takes in the coming years.

Although the future course for American healthcare is yet to be defined, I remain optimistic that meaningful change can occur. I’m from Chicago. And I’m a Cubs fan. So I’m well equipped with the necessary patience, passion and hope.

And I am confident that our school serves as an outstanding training ground in that regard. On the one hand, our students participate in our nationally recognized Project HEART program that nurtures their spirit and their commitment to empathetic care. On the other hand, they will work with our health care information technology system that is ranked as one of the best in the country. The juxtaposition of these programs is particularly interesting to me. They offer fundamentally different views on medicine, but without each other, they are useless. Our Health System’s innovative approach to medical homes for the under-served is touted as a national model.

So as our students celebrated the first official milestone in their medical careers, I reminded them that medicine is a science. Doctoring is a profession. Health care is a business. By the time they finish their four years here on the MCV Campus, I know that they will be equipped with the wisdom to reconcile these perspectives as their careers progress.

Former Dean Jerome F. Strauss

Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System