Dear colleagues,

As we look forward to celebrating the many accomplishments of our graduating colleagues, we are very pleased to announce that our esteemed director of the Massey Cancer Center, Robert A. Winn, M.D., will serve as the speaker for the VCU School of Medicine Hooding Ceremony. The ceremony will be held in-person on May 12, 2021, 3 p.m. at VCU’s Siegel Center.

Dr. Winn has a deep commitment to developing methods to eliminate health disparities, and he has received national and international acclaim for his efforts to empower underserved patient populations, improve health care delivery and ensure equal access to cutting-edge medical treatments.

Since joining us in December of 2019 as the nation’s only African American NCI-designated cancer center director, Dr. Winn has hosted First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s visit to our university in February of 2021, her first external visit from the White House.

Dr. Winn has implemented a community initiative called Facts and Faith Friday, which has helped build relationships among practitioners and community leaders across Central Virginia. This is a monthly conversation with faith leaders which recognizes them as trusted sources of accurate information during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Last year, with a $114 million corporate commitment, the Bristol-Meyers Squib Foundation renamed its Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program, in honor of Winn’s leadership in establishing a 21st century model for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical research. The Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program (Winn Awards) is a five-year initiative to increase diversity in clinical trials and transform the clinical research landscape.

He was elected recently by the members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) to serve as vice president and president-elect of the AACI’s board of directors.

I hope you will join us to hear Dr. Winn’s inspiring message to our graduating students and celebrate their accomplishments in one of the highlights of our academic year. All faculty and staff are cordially invited to attend the Hooding Ceremony. Attendees uniformly report that this is a memorable event that celebrates our students and the educational excellence of our school. Additional information about the event will be provided later this spring.

We understand all the demands on your time and are grateful for your continued support and commitment to our students.


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