Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Earlier this month, Learn Serve Lead 2019, the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) brought together almost 5,000 attendees from medical schools and teaching hospitals across the country to address some of our most challenging issues. It was a highly informative and productive meeting, and it was truly gratifying to see at a national level the many examples of how VCU is at the forefront of medical education.

We were extremely proud that 30 colleagues from our medical school, VCU Health, VCU Libraries and the VCU Inova Campus attended the meeting, presenting and contributing to at least 27 concurrent sessions, discussion groups and posters. Topics ranged from advocacy; trainee wellness; mistreatment; diversity, inclusivity and quality; learning and assessment; and coaching to interprofessional collaboration and the changing physician workforce. Our presentations represented the high quality medical education that you all deliver with distinction and pride. Indeed, as we walked into a poster session, one of the rows of posters was a sea of black and gold with all our posters grouped together – we were a presence.

Additionally, many of our colleagues are serving academic medicine through various roles at the AAMC in the coming year:


Dr. Alan Dow


Chair of the Communications Committee of the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS) and member of the Administrative Board

Dr. Alicia Freedy

Member of the Group on Regional Medical Campuses Planning Committee

Darrell Griffith

Principal business officer-at-large for the Group on Business Affairs Steering Committee and officer and vice chair of the Academic Medical Group Leader Roundtable, previously known as Academic Practice Plan Directors

Dr. Stephanie Goldberg

CFAS member

Emily Hurst

National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Sciences Library Leadership Fellow

Dr. Donna Jackson

Liaison to the Committee on Student Financial Assistance for the Group on Student Affairs

Dr. Betsy Ripley

Member of the Group on Faculty Affairs Professional Development Committee

Dr. Sally Santen

CFAS member, representing the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine

Dr. Christopher Woleben

Chair of the Electronic Residency Application Service Advisory Committee

Dr. Michelle Whitehurst-Cook

Member of the American Medical College Application Service Advisory Committee


At the meeting, Bryan Stevenson, civil rights lawyer and author of the New York Times best-selling book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and Jon Meacham, political historian and author of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, gave two compelling plenaries. Stevenson noted that solving society’s issues involves doing the uncomfortable. Meacham called for individuals and our collective nation to espouse curiosity, humility and empathy to combat the negative forces currently at play.

We also heard from the new AAMC CEO and president, Dr. David Skorton, who gave his inaugural address, reflecting on the tripartite mission of academic medicine and encouraging attendees to “lead beyond the boundaries of our institutions to improve the nation’s health.” It was a gifted and thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Skorton, which was complemented by the highly engaging town hall meetings that he led on the AAMC’s new strategic planning process.

In an inspiring and powerful chair’s address, Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and outgoing chair of the AAMC Board of Directors, urged attendees to challenge the status quo to confront the social and economic challenges we see every day.

It was a highly invigorating meeting, and while several sessions reminded us how far we have come – and how far we still have left to go on tackling social determinants of health, racial disparities and inequities in academic medicine –there were many compelling presentations that spoke to our collective innovation, to some remarkable accomplishments, to the nobility and relevance of our work, and most importantly, to how high the public trust and confidence remains in academic medicine … exciting times.

As you know from your own activities and presentations at national organizations and conferences, opportunities like these are valuable personal and professional development for individuals and also are immeasurably important in raising the profile of our School of Medicine. Our compliments to all on such a great showing for our school!

With every good wish for your continued good work,




Peter F. Buckley, M.D.

Dean, VCU School of Medicine

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health Systems