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and culture

Message from the President and Founding Dean As the temperature rises and the snow melts, we look forward to celebrating major milestones for our community this spring. Beginning this month, we eagerly anticipate Match Day on March 21st. Not simply the culmination of the residency interview process (or even these past four years at VTC), this event marks the climax of our students' academic lives to this moment. Our charter class members will open their envelopes to reveal the turning point of their medical careers: residency training. A few days later on March 24th, we will host our first annual VTCSOM Research Day with selected project presentations by several of those same individuals. In addition to these extraordinary events, tremendous work seen from the opening of our doors - continues throughout our community. In this issue, you will find stories illustrating how our faculty, students and staff have reached out beyond Cynda Johnson, MD, MBA their curricula and job descriptions: in their neighborhoods, in the Roanoke Valley region, and even throughout the world. I encourage you to continue embracing the opportunities to engage both within and outside of VTC. As you read this newsletter, please take a moment to celebrate our successes and our community as a whole. Thank you for making our community what it is today!

In this Issue... Stories from January/February (Pages 2-3) Upcoming Events for March (Page 4) Upcoming Events for April (Page 5) Interest Groups and Clubs (Page 5)

This season, our community is contagious Despite record-breaking low temperatures and snowfall, the spirit of giving was high as community-building, giving and outreach activities spread throughout VTC and the Roanoke region this winter season. To kick-off the new year, the Office of Community and Culture teamed with the VTCSOM Class Presidents to host our first VTC Multicultural Potluck! Over 22 food cultures were represented in dishes ranging from galbi (South Korea; Sanghee Suh) and kĂśttbullar (Sweden; Dean Cynda Johnson) to crowd-favorited desserts brigadeiro (Brazil; Carlie Blake) and kheer (India; Silpa Thaivalappil). Top-rated dishes were awarded Fork in the Restaurants gift cards, courtesy of Associate Dean Dave Trinkle.

Kids Tech University


at the Virginia Tech campus


Led by Helena Carvalho, Assistant Professor in Basic Science, VTCSOM participated in Kids Tech University (KTU) at the Blacksburg campus. KTU is a one-day career fair for middle school-aged students, created to inspire them to explore interesting topics in STEM-fields. The event was attended by 18 VTC medical students, who led 6 stations (vision, hearing, smell/taste, skin response, reflexes, and nutrition) to interact with over 400 middle-schoolers.


With our largest attendance to date for a Lunch and Learn session, Dr. Saleem Ahmed inspired, entertained, quizzed, and fed the community while he shared his family history and professional experiences and described the physical and spiritual challenges of his Hajj pilgrimage. Watch your inbox - the next lecture will be announced via e-mail later this month!

Roanoke City Public Schools, Science Fair 2014


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The high school winner - Mason Wheeler of RVGS/Patrick Henry High School - additionally received a VTC backpack for his project on Phaseolus Vulgaris (string beans!).


VTC officially sponsored the first-place awards for the middle and high school biological sciences categories.

This past February, VTCSOM students and medical residents gathered at Patrick Henry High School to compete in a charity-basketball game for the Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship fund. Dozens of VTCSOM faculty, staff, and other students - as well as many more friends and family - showed their support as avid fans of the event. To support the fund, visit:

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The results are in! On February 20, VTC was represented by 27 students, residents, faculty, and staff, who were either judging, demonstrating suture techniques or portable ultrasound use, or giving presentations at annual Roanoke City Public Schools’ Science Fair held at William Fleming High School.



Office of Community and Culture, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, 2 Riverside Circle, Suite M140, Roanoke, Virginia 24016

Other organizations that our community has supported:

Healthy Hearts for the Roanoke Filipino Community

Almost Sisters

Sara Bahraini Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Before, you were a story: a stack of pictures and letters that gathered, growing up. You were my father’s smiles, his early morning long-distance phone calls, his late brother’s face in a little girl. Now we sit in this space; our grandmother’s bed, together, a bowl of tangerines between us. You are real. We smile at each other in silence, each without a sister, feeding one another. The peels gather, curled in piles, like your letters on my father’s desk.

Poems in the Waiting Room Sara Bahraini (M4) won the 1st Annual VTC Poetry Competition winners last year; her poem (left) is featured at Carilion Clinic in Volume 1 of their “Poems in the Waiting Room” brochure series for guests of the hospital.

In February, the Philippine-American Association of the Roanoke Valley (PAARV) invited VTC and JCHS to participate in the first-ever health event sponsored by the cultural club. Cardiology fellow Dr. Geoffrey Jao presented a keynote lecture, and the evening proved to be a success with a healthy-food potluck and after-dinner Zumba dancing!

The desert sun splashes over the room through the scratched glass, and the citrus vapors wade in the warmth. I watch as your scarf falls onto your shoulders, reaching over to deliver the next slice. We have the same hair, you know. We have the same hair, after all.

Find more outreach opportunities online at:

Many thanks to Dr. Brian Watson for connecting us with his wife, Trish Fernandez-Watson, current President of PAARV.

community calendar of events, holidays, and observances March 11, 18, 25 and April 1: Mini Medical School series at VTC This March, VTCSOM is opening its doors to creative and inquiring minds with its first Mini Medical School series. Participants will gather each evening for a keynote lecture and then disperse into concurrent interactive sessions. These sessions include activities in the anatomy laboratories – including an opportunity to play with the anatomy table, a session about moulage and standardized patients, hands-on exposure at portable ultrasound, and learning about the construction of prosthetic devices.

March 24: VTCSOM Research Day

Come help us celebrate the research successes of our charter class! There will be oral presentations by eight selected students. These oral presentations will be divided into two times (noon - 1:00PM; 2:00- 3:00PM). We will also have poster sessions for all students following each of these oral presentations (1:00 - 2:00PM; 3:00 4:00PM). This event will be held on the second floor of VTCSOM with presentations in the Auditorium (M203). We hope you will join us to see the amazing variety of research our students have produced during their time at VTCSOM.

Open to the public, preregistration is required. A $20 registration fee covers all four evenings. For more details and to register, please visit Contact: Chio Tisdell.

MARCH Women’s History Month National Nutrition Month Save Your Vision Month Colorectal Cancer Awareness American Red Cross Month Irish-American Heritage

Contact: Jennifer B. Page

March 25 - 27: Deans’ Forum on Global Engagement at Virginia Tech The VTCSOM community will be joining the main Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg to celebrate Global Engagement. There will be performances by internationally recognized hip-hop artist and former Sudanese child soldier, Emmanuel Jal. Also, Hon. Harriet Mayor Fulbright, President of the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center and Hon. Dr. Mitchell Reiss, President of Washington College will be in attendance as our featured speakers. Registration for the Emmanuel Jal event is free at the Center for the Arts ( For more information about the Dean’s Forum, please visit:

Other: Book Drive! Michael Gallagher (M1) is planning a charity event to donate books to schools, universities, and communities in need around the world. Please contact him if you would like to get involved.

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Historic Downtown Food and Culture Tour Mardi Gras (Christianity) Carilion Toastmasters Ash Wednesday - Lent begins (Christianity) 8 International Women’s Day 9 Daylight Saving Time Begins 11 Mini Medical School 13 World Kidney Day 15 Shamrock Hill Run (1 mi, 5k and 10k) McDonald’s Parade and Shamrock Festival 16 Purim (Judaism) 17 St. Patrick’s Day (Catholicism) 18 Mini Medical School 20 First Day of Spring 21 Residency Match Day 24 VTCSOM Research Day 25 Mini Medical School 25-27 Dean‘s Global Forum at Virginia Tech 30 National Doctors’ Day Office of Community and Culture

APRIL National STI Education and Awareness Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention National Autism Awareness Stress Awareness Month National Poetry Month

April 10: Fine Arts Integration Club The Fine Arts Integration Club (FAIC) is a student-driven effort to use the fine arts as a training ground to foster observational and communication skills applicable to medicine. Modeling programs at other medical schools, FAIC will provide students the opportunity to look beyond the surface and consider the various underlying messages being communicated. At a time when physicians heavily rely upon lab tests and imaging, students will be taught to utilize Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), methodology that will allow students to hone their visualization skills and better communicate exactly what they are seeing. These structured workshops are designed to assist medical students in mastering their first and most basic clinical tool for assessing a patient: their eyes. These greatly improved visual skills will contribute to forming better physicians who strive to seek a complete understanding of their patients, and who are fully equipped to meet this challenge with success. The first tour will be April 10th at 6pm at the Taubman Museum. Tickets are $8/each, RSVP required.

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If interested in this event or to join FAIC, please contact: Chris Mclaughlin (M1).

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April 17: Art of Science Exhibit Opening


Science is an art, but not all scientists are artists. To explore this relationship, our spring 2014 theme is biomedical research and its expression in the creative arts. Clinicians and researchers use various machines and techniques to create beautiful images of structures and activites in the body. Local artists have been asked to translate these images into unique art pieces. Part of this exhibit will feature handcrafted creations by Paula Golden and her quilting group. Deadline to submit artwork is March 7. For more information, contact: Chio Tisdell

April 28: Dean’s Colloquium Marking the end of the clinical phase for VTC students, the Dean’s Colloquium begins next month. To kick-off the week, please join us for our Service Learning Project Presentations on Monday, April 28th. We will have oral presentations by each group from 2:30 - 4:30PM in M203 followed by poster presentations from 4:30 - 5:30 in the Commons. Students selected an organization during Block I to volunteer with and complete their Service Learning Project. These projects allow students to further develop and practice collaborative leadership and teamwork skills. It is a community based and meaningful project to participants as well as the community, where local leaders provide insight into the importance of service to others based on one's personal values. Contact: Jennifer B. Page.

Mini Medical School World Health Day FAIC at the Taubman Museum Palm Sunday - Holy Week begins (Christianity) Taxes Due Passover begins (Judaism) Spring Art Exhibit Opening Reception Holy Week ends (Christianity) Easter Sunday (Christianity) Passover ends (Judaism) Earth Day Administrative Professionals Poetry in Medicine Competition Awards Arbor Day Blue Ridge 5k, Half and Full Marathon Holocaust Remembrance VTC Dean’s Colloquium begins Service Learning Project PresentatJPOT 7th Annual Carilion Research Day

Other Interest Groups/Clubs Psychiatry Student Interest Group The Psych Student Interest Group hosted its first movie night in early February with a faculty-led discussion. To join the club, please contact: Sara Bahraini (M4).

International Medicine Advocacy Group For more information, contact: Joe Pechacek (M2).

Council for Diversity and Inclusion CDI wants to expand its membership! Inviting interested students, faculty, and staff to join. Our next meeting will be held in April, date TBA. Contact: Chio Tisdell

Questions? Please contact us if you have any questions about our programs and events or would like to get involved with planning future activities. David B. Trinkle, Associate Dean Office of Community and Culture

Spring 2014 E-Newsletter  

March 2014 edition - Download via Dropbox at

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