Thank you for your patience, your diligence, your poise and your resilience. The rapidly developing news cycle and related changes to everyday life in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted every one of us, both on- and off-campus.

Thank you to you, our faculty and staff. We are on the front lines of this public health crisis daily. Yesterday, we visited hospital units and were impressed and truly inspired by the cohesive teamwork and remarkable expertise that you all bring to this challenging situation.

As you all know, the impact continues to stretch beyond the walls of our hospital. We are adapting the cutting-edge research and education that we are so proud of here at VCU to the current times, which have all of us in a period of uncertainty. We are most grateful to all our scientists and their research teams for their responsivity and professionalism as we scale our research and protect this vital asset for the discoveries that through your great work will advance science and medicine well beyond this crisis.

Additionally, we are immensely proud of our students for their willingness to tolerate rapid changes in pedagogy. We are excited about the next stage of our students’ training tomorrow as they hear about residency positions on Match Day, a time-honored tradition in medicine. Even during this challenging moment, there is great anticipation and there will be great joy.

Please know that now more than ever your work and collective contributions to this school, this hospital and this community are compelling and enduring.

I urge each of you to keep yourselves informed to the best of your ability and to continue following the direction put forth by local, state and federal authorities. We are doing our part by canceling gatherings larger than 10 people, limiting elective procedures and enabling mandatory teleworking as appropriate. More details and resources are available at VCU’s COVID-19 website. Please remain diligent to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines and encourage your friends and family to do the same – we are in this together.

If you or your loved ones are feeling well and looking for ways to contribute, please consider donating blood or platelets. March is Red Cross Month, and the hospital is already reaching low bank supplies, putting patients at even greater risk. An up-to-date calendar of upcoming blood drives is available here, and walk-ins are welcome. Donating blood is a safe process for those who are healthy, with setups conducive to social distancing.

Finally, please don’t forget your own emotional well-being in the coming weeks. We have all pursued careers in the medical sciences out of a desire to contribute to society, and we should not let the drive to serve others now either exhaust us and/or cloud our judgment under these extreme circumstances. Please set aside time to recharge in whatever way benefits you, check in on each other frequently and utilize the resources available to you. VCU employees can learn about counseling referrals, stress management and other mental health services here, and similar resources for VCU Health employees are available here. Please remember that this will be “a marathon, not a sprint.”

And let me end this brief note with the same message: Thank you. The crisis we’re facing is bigger than all of us, and your health and safety remain our top priority. Please take care of yourselves, your loved ones and one another.

With sincere gratitude,

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