Dear colleagues,

Labor Day is often referred to as the "unofficial end of summer,” marking the apex of “back-to-school season.” While our academic calendar proceeds year-round, the official launch of the academic year provides several opportunities for us to recognize our faculty members for their outstanding dedication and distinguished service in support of our education, research and clinical missions.

The first of these events – the 40th Annual Faculty Convocation Ceremony – was held last week, and I was honored to present awards to two of our faculty members:

  • M. Imad Damaj, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, who received the University Award of Excellence
  • Caitlin E. Martin, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who was recognized with the Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award

You can read more about our awardees and watch videos highlighting their innovative and compassionate approaches to addiction treatment on our website.

In just a few weeks, we will have the pleasure of recognizing and applauding the dedication of another distinguished group of School of Medicine faculty for their achievements in teaching, leadership, humanism and patient care as well as their contributions to the professional development of others. Among those being honored during the 24th Annual School of Medicine Faculty Excellence Awards Program are:

  • Mark Parker M.D., F.A.C.R., professor of radiology, Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
  • Danielle Noreika, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching
  • S. Stevens Negus III, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology, Distinguished Mentor Award
  • Kimberly Pedram, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, Educational Innovation/Educational Research Award
  • Robin Foster, M.D., professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation
  • Patricia Sime, M.D., F.R.C.P., chair and professor of internal medicine, Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine Professional Achievement Award
  • Christopher M. Wise, M.D., professor of internal medicine, MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award
  • Kerri Carter, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric cardiology and director of the pediatric cardiology fellowship, Fellowship Director Award
  • David Friedel, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine and program director of the internal medicine-pediatrics residency, Program Director Award
  • Evan Ward, coordinator of the general surgery residency program, Program Coordinator Award

You can help celebrate these honorees by virtually attending the awards program at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

As President Michael Rao, Ph.D., noted during Convocation, our students, trainees, patients and community benefit tremendously from the work of our faculty. “The ideas, the innovation, the discoveries at this institution are absolutely critical. … I’m very, very proud to say so many of our ideas absolutely, positively save lives.”

I share this sense of pride in your accomplishments and am grateful to each of you for your extraordinary dedication to our clinical, research and education missions. I feel so honored to be a part of such a remarkable and talented community, and I look forward to celebrating even more individual and collective successes throughout this academic year.

With gratitude,

David P. Chelmow, M.D. - Interim Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health