Dear Colleagues-Friends,

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in so many and has provided countless opportunities for leadership, innovation and generosity. Moreover, and through your dedication as providers, we have continued to treat patients with cancer, trauma, heart disease, addiction, mental health issues and all of the many other complex conditions that come through our doors as a tertiary and safety net hospital.

Coupled with preparations for a new electronic health record and the opening of a 17-story, 615,000-square-foot outpatient pavilion, this has been a heavy load to carry, necessitating long hours and personal sacrifice. However, our community continues to serve as leaders and valuable resources in Richmond and beyond, providing trusted information about the pandemic and vaccines, staffing vaccination events through the VCU Vaccine Corps, working to identify and dismantle many of the barriers that lead to health inequities and responding to the challenge of managing long COVID with multidisciplinary approaches and academic innovation.

You have shown time and time again that VCU, as an academic medical center, is the place to be when the worst happens. Not only are we skilled in providing complex care, but do so in an environment that brings diagnosis, treatment, learning and discovery together for the betterment of human health. We have all been in the trenches together. To gain a broader perspective on how the academic medicine community rose to the immense challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought you might enjoy watching this short, 15-minute documentary produced by the AAMC – “This Is What We Do”.

Our achievements are best measured through the contributions we make to improving other people’s lives, and our community has never had more appreciation and gratitude for what you do. I too am extremely proud of the work you do every day and the commitment to compassion and excellence that you demonstrate through your actions.

Although words of thanks may seem like too small a gesture after facing such challenges and changes, I want you to know this: We see your effort. We appreciate your contributions. And we are truly grateful for your extraordinary kindness and care in service to our patients.

With gratitude,

Pter F. Buckley, M.D.; Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Executive vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System