“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”
– Vince Lombardi

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Welcome to this new academic year and thank you for all your effort and activities during the past year. As we kick off this academic year, we also welcome many colleagues who are new to our School of Medicine ….. we are joined by 189 first year medical students (starting shortly), 185 new graduate/certificate students (starting in the fall), 144 residents and also clinical and research fellows, and 43 new full time faculty who have/will join us over the coming 2 months.

Please welcome all of our new colleagues.

As we embark on another academic year, I would like to briefly reflect on some of your collective accomplishments over this past academic year…. many of which have been commented on earlier and so I won’t go into details again here… though at broad level, you all have excelled in many ways, including ……

• Many of you received new federal grants and new foundation support for your research. Congratulations and thank you for your leadership.

• We renewed our CTSA grant, a further $21.5 M in federal support for research career development and community outreach… the largest NIH award in university history.

• Several of you held leadership roles in national and regional academic organizations.

• Some of you as faculty published your science in premier journals, while others as medical students or residents experienced your first presentation at one of our research days.

• Many of you, as trainees or faculty, volunteered your scarce time and your great expertise to help underserved people .. whether that was “at home” or in Vietnam, South America or other far-flung destinations. Thank you.

• We contributed to the university-wide new Strategic Plan and to defining our strategic research priorities.

• Our Development Team, with your support, attained more than $33 million in philanthropy over the last year, including new scholarships, endowed chairs, and programmatic support.

• We opened a remarkable new home for Virginia Treatment Center for Children [VTCC] …….a great new asset for the children of The Commonwealth of Virginia … congratulations to all in the Department of Psychiatry, our pediatrics and our community partners who made this happen.

• We “broke ground” on a very exciting collaboration and new rehabilitation facility in our partnership with Sheltering Arms.

• We “broke ground” on the new ambulatory facility, the largest clinical building ever committed to (a capital investment of $349 million) and which will redefine our clinical footprint on the MCV Campus as we create world-class facilities to match our world-class care.

• You gave great care to so many Virginians, as evidenced by many grateful patient stories and compelling feedback, with also very impressive enhanced performances in our Quality metrics.

• You have increased our OR volume and outpatient volume, achieved a remarkable reduction in inpatient average Length of Stay in the 4th Quarter to 6.01 days, over 24 % of daily discharges now occurring before 12 noon, and other efficiencies in accordance with Vision by DESIGN.

• Our medical students matched to great programs, including 34 staying with us for residency at VCU.

• We recognized and honored several of our marque programs, including our Pauley Heart Center (recognizing that the first human heart transplant at our institution was performed here 50 years ago), our Evan-Haynes Burn Center (the oldest civilian burns unit in America), and the Hume-Lee Transplant Center which has performed over 5,000 organ transplants.

These are just some of the highlights of a busy academic year and of your impressive accomplishments. More details have been presented on our School of Medicine website and/or in individual departmental communications.

In the aggregate, your accomplishments are broad and compelling.

We can head into this new academic year with pride and enthusiasm. Also, three of our faculty will shortly receive University Awards for Excellence at the 36th Annual Faculty Convocation which you are invited to attend on August 22 at 4pm. Dr. Arun Sanyal is receiving the University Award of Excellence, Dr. Paul Wehman the Distinguished Scholarship Award and Dr. Stephanie Call the Distinguished Teaching Award.

On another note – and a very big deal! – we have the great honor of hosting the Governor of Virginia, the Honorable Ralph Northam, who will give a special grand rounds at our medical school on Monday August 20th at 12pm in the Learning Theater in McGlothlin Medical Education Center. To have the Governor, a long practicing pediatric neurologist in the Commonwealth, address us as a distinguished presenter is truly a privilege. All are welcome to attend this very special lecture which will focus on the topic of addiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We will send you a further announcement later this month. In the meantime, please mark this event on your calendar.

Finally, I wish each of you every success in this academic year… I know that you will do great things …and …we will have a lot of fun.

Thank you for all you do and for your leadership,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System