Virginia Tech has officially gained a new college and expanded its expertise in the health sciences with the integration of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. The university now offers an M.D. degree for the first time.
Over the past decade, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine operated as an independent institution, not fully a part of the university or Carilion Clinic. Two years ago, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, and the medical school began a process to move the college into the university.
“The integration of the medical school is an important part of the university’s commitment to the VTC Health Sciences and Technology campus ,” said Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech. “The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and our ongoing partnership with Carilion Clinic will continue driving growth in the region as we aspire to create a robust academic health care presence.”
“This is the next step of our partnership, and we expect it to help us attract new research opportunities and funding,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “Through that, we can continue to recruit top-notch faculty who are interested in teaching and research, which ultimately translates into better patient care as well.”
More than half of the medical school’s faculty are Carilion Clinic physicians. In addition, the students will continue to train at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and other Carilion practice sites.
VTC School of Medicine students will continue taking classes with nursing, physician assistant, and other health professions students at Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS), currently owned and operated by Carilion Clinic. In January, plans were announced to integrate Jefferson College into Radford University, which is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete. The intent is for this educational partnership to continue after both integrations.
To make sure the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine transitioned smoothly into Virginia Tech, the integration process unfolded over the past two years. A total of 104 people from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic served on eleven integration committees related to various aspects of the school, including accreditation/institutional effectiveness, communications, facilities, finance, information technology, employees, faculty, student services, library, lawyers, and procurement.
Each committee’s chair was part of the steering committee. Final decision-making went to an executive committee comprised of Agee; Cyril Clarke, interim provost at Virginia Tech; Mike Friedlander, vice president of health sciences & technology at Virginia Tech; Cynda Johnson, founding dean of the VTC School of Medicine; and Sands.
“The committees looked at every detail of the medical school, figuring out the best ways to preserve our best attributes and even enhance them through the university’s resources,” said Johnson. “We are proud to be part of the Hokie Nation.”
As an independent school, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine had its own Board of Directors, to which the dean reported. Now, as a part of Virginia Tech, governance will flow through Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors. The VTCSOM dean will report to Virginia Tech’s provost, just as the other college deans do at the university.
“The integration of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is not just a milestone for the university, it is a win for the commonwealth and the region,” said Dennis Treacy, rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. “The partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic is a national model on successful collaboration between public and private institutions. These are exciting times at Virginia Tech, and the board of visitors welcomes the medical school to our university community.”
The medical school’s independent board has operated since the school was founded in 2008. Twenty-one people have served on the board, as well as eight ex officio members. Their service commitments spanned from one year to four who served the entire decade: Nancy Agee; Warner Dalhouse, founding chairman of Hometown Bank; Jim Smith, founder and CEO, Smith/Packett Med-Com LLC; and Sidney Smith, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
“I would like to thank each person who committed themselves to the success of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine through service on the board,” said Smith ’63, the final chair of the medical school’s board. “In its short history, VTCSOM has been a tremendous success under Cynda’s leadership. With a perfect match rate to residency for all five graduating classes and more than 4,000 students applying for 42 spots a year, the school is clearly a sought-after destination for medical students. I expect that success to continue and grow as a college of Virginia Tech.”
The medical school currently has 126 students enrolled who are now Virginia Tech students. The number will increase on July 30 when the Class of 2022 arrives. Right now, 43 students have accepted a spot in the class, bringing total enrollment to 169 students.