|Dear friends and neighbors,
The most exciting UVA Health news from the past month came when we learned that the UVA Cancer Center was granted "comprehensive" status, the highest level of recognition from the National Cancer Institute, the world's largest funder of cancer research. This means that the UVA Cancer Center is now among an elite group of 52 of the best centers in the nation at delivering cancer prevention, new discoveries, and innovative treatments to our patients. We are also the only cancer program in the state to have earned this distinguished honor.
The lobby of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, with a portrait of its namesake at right.The future for UVA Health is bright, and this recent news is symbolic of our growth as one of the nation's top academic health systems. That's why to further our growth, we recently initiated our "One Future Together" strategic planning process — where we will focus on all of our missions, including enhancing patient care, research, and education to addressing health equity. We want feedback from everyone in our community. I encourage you to learn more about this important process by watching the short video interview featured on our strategic planning
website. Then, please submit your feedback and ideas via our website or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we head into fall, we are seeing more hospitalizations for COVID-19 at UVA Health due to the highly transmissible delta variant. According to our leading infectious disease experts and epidemiologists, breakthrough infections among the vaccinated are still uncommon. The chances of an average vaccinated person contracting COVID-19 is about one in 5,000 per day, new research
shows, and that figure is even lower for people who live in a highly vaccinated community like ours. Given this positive news, our doctors reassure us that vaccination remains the most effective way to protect against infection and severe disease. Call 434.297.4VAX to schedule a vaccine appointment at a UVA Health pharmacy. For those who are already vaccinated, note that, at this time, we are only administering third dose booster shots to those who meet the CDC's
A critical part of our duty at UVA Health is to protect the health and safety of our patients, guests, team members, and community in our hospitals and clinics. That's why to ensure we can provide the best care possible — not just for our patients with COVID-19 but for all of our patients — UVA Health is now requiring all our team members to be vaccinated by Nov. 1. We are also now testing
all hospitalized patients and limiting visitation, among other changes, to keep everyone safe.
As I've reinforced often in this monthly letter and throughout our planning conversations, engaging our community is an important mission for all of us at UVA Health. Take, for example, the work of Dr. Ross Buerlein, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine, who founded and directs the UVA Community Outreach Clinic
. This program, staffed by our internal medicine physicians and residents, provides healthcare and other essential services to hundreds of underserved patients from all walks of life. Resident volunteers host weekly pop-up clinics and see patients via scheduled or walk-in appointments at Charlottesville's Haven and Premier Circle shelters.
Dr. Ross Buerlein (far right) and some founding members of the UVA Community Outreach Clinic at the Haven in May 2019.
Efforts like these are just a small example of how well-poised we are at UVA Health to strengthen our partnerships with neighboring communities. Thanks to the new leadership of Dr. Tracy Downs, our inaugural Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer, I know that more good work like this is in our future. Increasing our focus on population health and our ability to better understand our community's health risks and needs provides a powerful tool for improving health outcomes for all Virginians.
Wishing you and your loved ones health and happiness,
K. Craig Kent, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Virginia