Dear colleagues,

Each February, the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR) publishes its analysis of awards granted by the National Institutes of Health the prior federal fiscal year. Medical schools across the country eagerly await the release of the annual report, known colloquially as the Blue Ridge rankings, as the total awards credited to each school provide a benchmark for comparisons.

We are pleased to share that this year’s report is full of good news about our research. Our total NIH funding leapt by more than 10%, topping $71M, thanks to a net increase of 10 awards. Our position in the BRIMR rankings also improved, moving up one spot to No. 63 in the country overall and 36 among public universities.

VCU School of Medicine continued its rise as a national leader in addiction science, jumping to No. 8 in funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (up from No. 12 last year), and up to No. 16 in funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse — a significant jump from No. 25 last year. When the NIAA and NIDA funding are combined we rank 9th nationally in addictions research funding from NIH with over $31 million in funding.

Within our departments, Family Medicine and Population Health rocketed from No. 34 to No. 12 in the nation in the BRIMR rankings, reflecting our successful recruitment of funded faculty members. The Department of Psychiatry enjoyed a significant increase in this year’s rankings, climbing from No. 25 up to No. 21. Meanwhile, the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology remains in the top 20 pharmacology departments in the country, ranked No. 16.

These increases reflect the dedicated and tireless work of our research faculty that we see day in and day out, and we are extremely proud of the progress we have made this year. Thank you for all that you do every day to generate new research and discoveries that will ultimately benefit the patients we serve and society broadly.


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

Michael S. Donnenberg, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research Training
Professor of Internal Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Director, Medical Scientist Training Program