Dear Colleagues-Friends,

It is my sincere pleasure to “welcome home” Scott M. Strayer, M.D., MPH, as the new chair of our Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Dr. Strayer, who is a highly regarded scientist, educator and national leader in primary care with a focus on health disparities and cancer, joined us on Sept. 1. We consider ourselves particularly fortunate to have recruited Dr. Strayer during such an unprecedented period of uncertainty. He is a stellar addition to our School of Medicine faculty and to Massey Cancer Center, especially as we work to secure designation as a comprehensive cancer center.

Scott StrayerDr. Strayer received his medical degree and completed residency here at VCU and subsequently was a founding faculty member for a military-civilian residency at Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois. He completed his Masters of Public Health at St. Louis University and began conducting research on smoking cessation and health behavior change in primary care settings. In 2005, he was a recipient of an American Cancer Society Cancer Control Career Development Award.

Prior to joining our faculty, Dr. Strayer was a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) School of Medicine in Columbia. During his tenure, he served as both vice-chair and interim chair for this department. Before that, he was a tenure-track faculty member in the University of Virginia’s Department of Family Medicine for 10 years, where he co-founded and directed the university’s first formal practice-based research network, the Virginia Practice Support and Research Network (VaPSRN), from 2001-2011 and was associate fellowship director for a clinical faculty development fellowship.

In addition to his civilian academic career, we are particularly proud that our medical school alumnus, Dr. Strayer, is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. His current role supports the Air Force chief medical information officer in the development, configuration and worldwide deployment of a new electronic health record across all military treatment facilities, including the Veterans Health Administration. He also has served as a professor at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, advising the chair on tenure and promotion for 17 military family medicine residencies across the United States.

Dr. Strayer has significant experience developing innovative approaches to promote behavior change in primary care settings. He has developed several NIH-funded computer-assisted tools to enhance smoking cessation, decrease alcohol abuse and misuse and to address poor diet and sedentary lifestyles. These tools have been evaluated in dozens of primary care practices in Virginia and South Carolina. He also has conducted research leveraging social media to promote behavior change and created a national registry for smokers that links them to other smokers for social support and to evidence-based social media tools. His current work includes the development of decision aids for lung cancer screening and smoking cessation as well as translational research focused on cancer disparities. He also is co-investigator on a newly funded $2.9M NIH grant to study the role of circadian factors in inflammation and colorectal adenoma risk. In addition, he was recently awarded a U.S. patent for a smart watch that can detect smoking gestures to assist smokers with quitting.

Dr. Strayer has taught medical students and residents throughout his career and has received several awards for these efforts, including being elected to the prestigious Academy of Distinguished Educators at the University of Virginia while on faculty there.

As we welcome Dr. Strayer, we offer our sincerest appreciation for Dr. Tony Kuzel’s accomplishments on behalf of VCU and our Commonwealth. Because of Dr. Kuzel’s excellent leadership, Dr. Strayer comes into a strong Family Medicine and Population Health Department that is celebrating 50 years of fundamental educational and research contributions and a highly regarded residency program in service to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The department also fosters an outstanding Student Family Medicine Association, which was recently recognized as one of the top family medicine interest groups in the country. This is the tenth time since 2007 that the VCU chapter has been honored with the overall Program of Excellence award from the American Academy of Family Physicians, making us one of just five schools in the country to have won this award 10 or more times.

Our thanks go to the search committee and its co-chairs, Dr. Ann Fulcher and Dr. Douglas Arthur. We also are grateful for the support Dr. Betsy Ripley and her team provided to this search and for all the members of Family Medicine and Population Health for presenting such a fine department, particularly in these unprecedented times.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Dr. Scott Strayer back to VCU.

With all good wishes,

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