Feb. 4-10, 2000
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Recipients of the 1999-2000 David A. Harrison III Awards for Undergraduate Research announced
Carey outlines Med. School goals: boost research, retool curriculum
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caduceus.gifCarey outlines Med. School goals: boost research, retool curriculum

By Rebecca Arrington

Boosting clinical research, redesigning the curriculum and sustaining an environment of caring and advocacy were the main points dean Robert M. Carey mapped out in his 14th annual state of the medical school address, titled "2000 Celebration and Call to Action."

Of the 790 full-time faculty members in the School of Medicine, only 107 are clinical investigators -- two-thirds senior faculty, one-third junior faculty. The number needs to be higher, Carey said.

To boost the ranks, he plans to establish a formal program, the Clinician-Investigator Advancement Program, directed toward young faculty. He also announced his appointment of Jay Fox as the new assistant dean for research support, and noted that U.Va.'s funding from the National Institutes of Health had risen 18 percent in the past three years.

Carey reported that 10 students with strong research backgrounds had been recruited into this year's entering medical school class. He commended Gary K. Owens, professor and associate dean, for his work in revamping the Medical Science Recruiting and Training Program.

Carey wants to bolster research collaborations across Grounds, too, with such departments as biology, chemistry, psychology, physics and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. A new incentive program for this effort is being developed. He also noted that the medical school is exploring research opportunities with external corporations.

In addition to its research efforts, Carey said the school is redesigning its curriculum. The aim is to integrate the basic sciences, clinical and elective course work throughout the students' time in medical school, rather than teach the courses as separate units -- basic sciences in first and second year, clinical practice third year and electives fourth year -- which is how it's done now. The changes will give students an ongoing context in which to learn and judge their abilities, and provide more student-patient contact and more opportunities for medical problem-solving. They'll also have more time to learn medical information management, according to the curriculum committee's mission statement.

Carey also cited a number of faculty for professional honors they've garnered this year, noted the endowment is now $350 million, and that the school ranks 29th in the country in number of patents.

"We have a fantastic place here. We're on our way up, and the reason for our success is because of you," Carey told the faculty, urging them not to lose sight of what matters most. "We need to think about intangibles -- about how we're caring for our patients, colleagues, co-workers, support staff. Every individual here matters. Caring and advocacy for one another is what matters most. It's personal association with others that will make us want to run to work."


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