Blog Posts

2021 Fall Newsletter

President’s Message

Dear Friends:

I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful weather after many uncomfortable days during the summer months.  My attempt to retire didn’t last long as I have gone back to work as the Interim Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia, my former employer.  The search for a permanent chair is underway and I expect to be retired again by January or at the latest at the end of the spring semester.  I must say that I am enjoying the temporary job.  Although the University has not totally returned to a pre-COVID status, its daily operation is much more normal than the previous academic year.

The Virginia Academy continues to be active within the Commonwealth and has had a very productive few months.  An update of its current activities are included in this newsletter.

Our latest study on the impact of sea level rise and coastal flooding in Virginia entitled Impact of Climate Change on Virginia’s Coastal Areas, commissioned by the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) and under the direction of Drs. Jon Goodall and Antonio Elias, was completed in June.  A hard copy version was available in mid-summer.  The report was presented to JCOTS at its August meeting by Dr. Goodall.  Its recommendations received enthusiastic support from the members of the Commission and I have met with Delegate Hayes to see how we can get the recommendations acted upon.  Dr. Goodall has made presentations to a number of other groups including the Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding. The report can be found on the Virginia Academy website.

The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) is a permanent legislative agency to assist in the development of sound technology and science policy in the Commonwealth.

Earlier this year, the Virginia Academy offered to assist JCOTS by helping it set a forward-looking agenda that promotes technology and science leadership and investment.  A panel was created to identify broad areas where Virginia had the expertise and infrastructure to become a state that could establish a leadership role for the nation.  A report was delivered to JCOTS in early October with the hope that it will create significant interest on the part of JCOTS to commission a study on one or more of the areas identified.  The complete report can be found on our website.

The 2021 Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Fellowship program has been completed and was another great success. Ten graduate student scientists and engineers from seven participating Virginia universities were selected as science advisors at legislative offices, executive agencies, and nonprofits in Virginia.  There were numerous new hosts for this offering including the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriation Committee (SFAC), and JCOTS.  In addition, Fellows were place in the offices of Delegate Rodney Willett and Senator Jennifer McClellan.

Several Fellows had notable impact at their hosts. Nikita Lad, working with SCHEV, published a review, “Report on Basic Research Efforts in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” with SCHEV that is being shared with policymakers in Virginia. Adele Balmer, who worked with the SFAC, analyzed Medicaid data for Virginia and identified over 30 contributing factors that policymakers can implement to reduce the high-cost of Medicaid. Tara Illgner worked with JCOTS to begin discussions on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies in Virginia. All of the fellows had a very enjoyable and productive summer.

The 2021 Virginia Academy Summit on October 25, 2021 was a huge success. The topic, Building Public Trust in Science, is timely given the reluctance of some individuals to trust the development of the COVID vaccine and to reject the idea that climate change is happening. The Summit was developed in conjunction with the Science Museum of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Education.  We heard from incredible voices regarding communicating science including Sheril Kirshenbaum, NPR contributor, co-author of Unscientific America, noted science communicator, and public speaker.  In addition, Dr. Danny Avula, Director of the Richmond City Department of Health, spoke about the pandemic and how media has played a role in understanding, assessing, and reacting to the various regulations and the vaccine roll-out.  The afternoon breakout sessions focused on three themes; climate change, vaccines, and energy.  Each session included a scientist and amedia/communicator.  We hope you were able to join us for this outstanding event.

We are also excited to announce that two new individuals have been added to our membership since the last newsletter due to their membership in one of the National Academies and new appointments at the University of Virginia.  One of these individuals is Dr. Melina R. Kibbe.  Dr. Kibbe has joined the University of Virginia as its Dean of Medicine and Chief Health Affairs Officer.  Please look in this newsletter for detailed information of Dr. Kibbe.  In addition, Dr. Jennifer West also joined the University of Virginia as its Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.  You will find an interview with Dr. West in the newsletter.  We want to welcome both of these outstanding individuals to the Virginia Academy and to the Commonwealth.

As you can see, the Virginia Academy continues to be quite active and productive.  I hope that you find this newsletter informative and enjoyable. Also, please feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,
James H. (Jim) Aylor
President, Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Table of Contents

President’s Message
COVES Fellowship Program Update
COVES Fellow Nikita Lad: Prospective
Former COVES Fellows Receives Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship
JCOTS Study on Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Update
Summit 2021 Update
VASEM White Paper Update
New VASEM Member Interview: Jennifer West
New VASEM Member Profile: Melina R. Kibbe
State Activities Update

COVES Fellowship Program Update

The 2021 COVES Graduate Policy Fellows Program was a great success. The program was able to support ten Fellows in the offering, up from six last year, thanks to additional funding from the Mitre Corporation, Huntington Ingalls, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The program was able to be very selective having received 25 applications. There was also an increase in interest from potential COVES hosts having received 13 requests. The fellow-host office matchings were as follows:

Adele Balmer (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee

Janey Dike (Virginia Tech)
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Division of the Chief Clinical Officer

Isis Garcia-Rodriguez (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Office of Recovery Services

Chelsea Gray (George Mason University)
Virginia Delegate Rodney Willett’s Office

Tara Illgner (University of Virginia)
Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Nikita Lad (George Mason University)
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Sunil Manandhar (William & Mary)
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)

Margaret Nagai-Singer (Virginia Tech)
Virginia Department of Forestry

Homa Jalaeian Taghadomi (Old Dominion University)
Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources

Kelsea Yarbrough (Norfolk State University)
Office of Virginia Senator Jennifer McClellan

 

The Fellows began the program with a 3-day science policy and science communication orientation, which was held from May 17-19. During the orientation, the Fellows heard from various speakers involved in Virginia government, such as Delegate Cliff Hayes who spoke about data privacy and security policy in Virginia, as well as Marlitt Hayslett from UVA who spoke to them about how to communicate science effectively to non-technical audiences. There were also several panels on advocacy, science policy resources, and science policy fellowships. Additionally, the Fellows heard from Josh Henkin at STEM Career Services who taught them how to advertise themselves with LinkedIn and create a resume for a science policy job in addition to providing tips for networking on LinkedIn.

The Fellows began working with their host offices after May 19th and concluded their work on August 6th. In addition to the work with their host office over the summer, the Fellows met with six speakers who had similar jobs or career paths that the Fellows aspire to attain. These speakers included several AAAS S&T Policy Fellows, the American Immigration Council, and the Provost of Emory University, Joel Baumgart. As part of the fellowship agreement, the Fellows also received mentors through VASEM and the two Fellows who were funded by MITRE, Isis and Janey, received additional mentorships from employees of MITRE.

VASEM hosted the 2021 COVES Policy Fellowship Forum via Zoom on August 30th for the Fellows to showcase the work they completed during the fellowship. Over 40 people attended this event where Michael Maul of the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget opened and Andrew Reynolds closed.

All of the Fellows had personal and professional successes from the COVES program. Nikita Lad published a review, “Report on Basic Research Efforts in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” with SCHEV that is being shared with policymakers in Virginia. Adele Balmer, who worked with the SFAC, analyzed Medicaid data for Virginia and identified over 30 contributing factors that policymakers can implement to reduce the high-cost of Medicaid. Adele’s work was featured in a blog post through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Tara Illgner worked with JCOTS to begin discussion on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies in Virginia, which had not been discussed previously, by partnering with a CCS company in North Carolina, NET Power, and by speaking with experts and policymakers. Sunil Manandhar is continuing his work with CIT and he has plans of publishing a research article in collaboration with this company. Furthermore, Kelsea Yarbrough and Chelsea Gray, who both worked with legislative offices, and Tara Illgner plan to publish their experiences in blog posts through the National Science Policy Network (NSPN) and Engineers and Scientists Acting Locally (ESAL). Additionally, Isis Garcia-Rodriguez will be continuing her work with the Office of Recovery Services and will be completing a summer internship with her sponsor, MITRE, in the summer of 2022. Lastly, three of our 2021 COVES Fellows (Lad, Illgner, Yarbrough) were recently interviewed by the National Science Policy Network about their experience as Fellows this summer. Read the post here.

These are a few of the notable successes from the 2021 COVES Policy Fellowship program, though, there are many more. It is the hope of the Virginia Academy to continue growing the program over the next year for yet another successful cohort of Fellows in 2022.

A COVES Fellow, Nikita Lad, gets a great experience while contributing to the SCHEV operation. Listen to her experience:

As a Ph.D. student at George Mason University, getting to explore state-level science policymaking through VASEM’s 2021 Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Fellowship was an amazing experience. It allowed me to make some meaningful connections and interact directly with the policymakers and stakeholders. I felt privileged to be placed at my host institution – the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

I was assigned to a project that explored the evolution of any current gaps and the potential need for state policy and/or legislation regarding public funding of “basic research” at Virginia’s universities. It started by looking at a few background resources regarding existing laws, policies, and practices in Virginia, followed by formulating interview questions, conducting interviews with state/government personnel both from the executive and legislative branches, universities’ chief research officers, private sector CEOs, and association leaders. These interactions with the host office and stakeholders not only gave me an insight into the formulation of legislation but also taught the scientist in me the importance of viewing issues from a policymakers’ perspective. After analysis of data from secondary (existing laws, policies, and practices) and primary (interviewed stakeholders) sources, I put together a report of recommendations for policy-oriented and non-technical audiences such as the state policymakers and institutional leaders. Compiling an objective and non-technical report was another learning experience. My report is now shared by SCHEV’s staff with policymakers at the state and institutional levels and on their website.

2020 COVES Fellow Erin Robartes becomes a Mirzayan Fellow

Erin Robartes, a 2020 COVES Fellow, has been accepted into the highly competitive Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program administered by the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The program is designed to engage fellows in the analytical process that informs U.S. science and technology policy. Fellows develop basic skills essential to working or participating in science policy at the federal, state, or local levels. Graduate and professional school students and those who have completed graduate studies (degree awarded) within the last five years may apply. Areas of study may include any social/behavioral science, medical/health discipline, physical or biological science, any field of engineering, law/business/public administration, or any relevant interdisciplinary fields. The 12 week program is very competitive with less than 10% of applicants being accepted.

Erin Robartes (TRB/CAAS) is completing a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia. She also holds an M.S. and B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and the University of Connecticut, respectively. Erin helped establish the Omni-Realty and Cognition Lab at the University of Virginia where she currently works on the development of bicycle and pedestrian simulators for use in behavioral transportation research. During her time at UVA, Erin served on the executive boards of the Graduate Engineering Student Council and the Institute of Transportation Engineers where she was dedicated to improving the graduate student experience for her peers. Erin was part of the COVES (Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science) Fellows inaugural class of 2020, working in the Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources on coastal resilience projects. With the Mirzayan Fellowship experience, Erin seeks to build on her understanding of the benefits of policy to advance equitable, safe, and effective transportation.

JCOTS Study on Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Update:

Co-chairs Jonathan Goodall and Antonio Elias

“Safety, quality of life, and economic consequences of weather and climate-related events on Virginia’s Coastal Areas” VASEM Report to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS)

The VASEM study board completed its work producing a report for the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) titled “The Impact of Climate Change on Virginia’s Coastal Areas.” The 15 board members represent leaders in coastal resilience from academia, government, and private practice. Over a series of meetings during the past year, the board members discussed key topics and then worked to author, edit, and review the final report. Jon Goodall, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia and co-chair of the study board, delivered the report to JCOTS at their August 17th, 2021 meeting. Many lawmakers offered their thanks to VASEM and stressed the importance of the report following the presentation.

The report summarizes the latest science on climate change as it relates to coastal Virginia and documents how this change is already impacting Virginia coastal communities. Based on scientific projections, the report highlights anticipated future impacts to both urban and rural coastal communities in the near to long-term. The report also offers the board’s perspective on important decisions facing the Commonwealth around coastal resilience in the coming years and decades. It concludes with a set of concrete recommendations to JCOTS for taking action that will help position Virginia for addressing climate change impacts.

The report has gained attention in the press including being cited in the Washington Post in an article on flooding issues in Alexandria, Virginia along with quotations from Professor Goodall. The report was also highlighted in three recent articles by Virginia Mercury, with some of these stories also being picked up by other news outlets across the state. One article was about the report itself, another placed it in the larger context of changing rainfall patterns in Virginia, and a third placed it in the context of reducing carbon emissions.

Given the impact of Hurricane Ida not only to the Gulf Coast but also to the Northeast that has dominated the news in recent weeks, it is clear that more extreme rainfall and a changing climate conditions are having devastating impacts on communities. A consistent theme in the report is that, while climate change effects are being felt now in coastal communities largely due to sea level rise, more frequent extreme rainfall makes climate change a problem for all Virginians and it should be addressed by Commonwealth-wide initiatives.

Check out the report here.

Building Public Trust in Science

2021 Summit Update

The Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine hosted its 2021 Fall Summit on Building the Public Trust in Science on October 25th.

The keynote speakers included incredible voices regarding communicating science. Sheril Kirshenbaum, NPR contributor, co-author of Unscientific America, noted science communicator, and public speaker, was the morning keynote. The afternoon keynote was Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator and Director of the Richmond City and Henrico Health Departments.

The morning panel session facilitated a rich dialogue on communicating science to the general public. The panelists included:

  • Dr. John Almarode, Associate Professor at James Madison University and best-selling author
  • Cary Funk, Director of Science and Society Research at the Pew Research Center
  • Bob Holsworth, Managing Partner of DecideSmart and the Founding Director of the Center for Public Policy and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Frank Niepold, NOAA Action for Climate Empowerment National Focal Point for the United States and Climate Education Senior Program Manager and Coordinator

The panelists provided some fantastic insight into how they present scientific information to the public. How do we capture their attention and prevent turning an audience off before hearing the message?

The afternoon break-out sessions focused on three themes: Climate Change, Vaccines, and Energy. Even though there were themes, the focus of the speakers in each session was on how we communicate those themes, not the content itself. There was a scientist and a media/communicator in each session moderated by a Virginia Academy member. The speakers included:

  • Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator, Science Museum of Virginia
  • Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, Lead Scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia
  • Dr. Carol O’Donnell, Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center
  • Elliot Robinson, News Director at Virginia Public Media
  • David Roop, Principal Consultant at DWR Associates, LLC
  • Dr. Pranay Sinha, Infectious Diseases Physician and TB Researcher (Epidemiology, Decision Sciences, & Health Economics) at Boston University Medical Center

A list of resources identified by the speakers and more details on the event may be found at www.vasem.org/summit21. A recording of the event will be available at www.vasem.org at a date in the near future.

Key Strategies to Position Virginia Leadership in Areas of Critical National Challenge

VASEM White Paper Update

The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) was established in 1997 as a permanent legislative agency to assist in the development of sound technology and science policy in the Commonwealth. As part of its third project with the Virginia Academy, the Virginia Academy offered to assist JCOTS by helping it set a forward-looking agenda that promotes technology and science leadership and investment.

The Virginia Academy convened a diverse panel of its members under the co-chairmanship of Jim Aylor and Al Grasso to identify broad areas where Virginia has the resources, expertise, and critical infrastructure to address emerging challenges and opportunities in uniquely powerful ways – and to set aspirational goals that would help the Commonwealth mobilize these resources. The panel noted the importance of tapping the power of such emerging technological trends in semiconductors, artificial intelligence/machine learning, 5g mobile communications and Internet of Things in reaching these goals.

The panel assessed Virginia’s natural and built resources. It surveyed the Commonwealth for relevant companies with differentiating products and/or expertise, flourishing public/private partnerships, outstanding programs at Virginia’s academic/research institutions, and the expertise of assets to begin making a difference for both the Commonwealth and the nation and set aspirational goals:

  1. Position Virginia as a National Model for Reliable and Sustainable Energy
  2. Make Virginia a National Leader in Supply Chain System Security
  3. Chart a Path for Virginia Leadership in Semiconductors
  4. Maximize Healthcare Resources for All Citizens of the Commonwealth
  5. Enable Virginia to Create Smarter, More Resilient Communities

In each case, the panel created a strategic brief articulating a pressing statewide or national need, enumerating existing resources, suggesting possible next steps, and describing some of the benefits of achieving them. The panel recommended that JCOTS review these briefs, select areas that it felt warranted further investigation, and commission study groups to produce detailed roadmaps that describe both near-term and long-term steps Virginia can take to capitalize on its ability to play a unique role in addressing our national challenges while growing our competitive economic position.

The full report can be found here.


New VASEM Member Interview: Jennifer West

Taking UVA Engineering from Prominence to Preeminence

Jennifer West has neatly sidestepped the categories used to describe an academic career. In addition to being an administrator, she is a researcher, educator, and entrepreneur. She credits her ability to take on all these roles simultaneously and do them well to the people around her. “Whatever I do, I surround myself with great people, give them real responsibilities, and invest in their professional development,” she says.

This spring, the University of Virginia named West dean of its School of Engineering and Applied Science. She is the first woman to hold the post — an appropriate milestone for an advocate for women and underrepresented groups in engineering. West comes to UVA from the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, where she was associate dean for Ph.D. education. Before that she was a founding member and chair of the Bioengineering Department at Rice University. In 2016, West was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and, the following year, to the National Academy of Inventors.

Breaking New Ground in Biomedical Engineering

West has been recognized for her pioneering research, developing and commercializing two distinct technologies. She has pursued a new approach to cancer therapy, using near-infrared-absorbing nanoparticles that selectively accumulate in tumors. When exposed to light at this wavelength, the nanoparticles become hot, destroying the nearby cancer cells. This technology is now in human clinical trials.

West also developed bio-inert materials that can be applied to tissues in liquid form and then converted in place to a solid hydrogel. These materials have been used as sealants by surgeons in a number of specialties. She has now redesigned them to be bio-interactive and to mimic many of the functions of the extracellular matrix, the network of proteins and polysaccharides that connect cells into tissues. These hydrogels could be used as scaffolds to promote regeneration of damaged tissues and tuned to degrade as cells form new tissue.

The promise of her research has attracted substantial funding. During her career, West has co-led the NSF-funded Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology and was principal investigator for the NIH-funded Texas Center for Cancer Nanotechnology.

Bringing Innovation to the Bedside

West became an entrepreneur out of necessity. “Because the technologies I’ve been developing are unprecedented, there simply was no easy pathway to commercialization,” she says. “Existing companies didn’t have a ready way to integrate them into their portfolios of products, so I started my own.” The first was Focal, since acquired by Genzyme, which commercialized her hydrogel work. The second, Nanospectra Biosciences, is running clinical trials on her nanoparticle technology.

“As an entrepreneur, you have a whole new set of issues to deal with beyond technical challenges,” she says. “It is exciting to take an idea from initial conception to commercialization because it is important to me to make a difference.”

Involving More Students in Research

Another way West has made a difference is by making her labs and programs welcoming and inclusive for students. Many of her trainees have gone on to very successful careers in both academia and industry. She has served as principal investigator on two NIH graduate training grants, an NSF graduate training grant and an NSF undergraduate training grant. At Rice, she led a program that brought high school students from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to campus each summer for three weeks of college preparatory experience and engagement in research. For her devotion to students, she received the Duke Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2019.

Taking UVA Engineering to the Next Level

West was attracted to UVA because of the opportunity to pursue on a larger scale the broad range of activities that has defined her own career. UVA Engineering is already known for balancing research with education — and West intends to bring them even closer together. Over the last six fiscal years, research expenditures have grown 95 percent. Her goal is to move the program from “prominence to preeminence,” a progression supported in part by UVA investment in areas like the neurosciences and sustainability. She also hopes to expand the school’s infrastructure and upgrade facilities to accommodate additional research programs.

At the same time, West is looking to connect faculty research more closely to undergraduate education. She has created a web portal that makes it easier for students to apply for research positions at faculty labs. She is also launching initiatives to increase the retention of undergraduate students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in engineering, including Black, Hispanic and women students, and to increase the visibility of UVA Engineering among potential graduate students from these groups.

West also plans to focus on expanding opportunities for faculty entrepreneurship. “We have a committee right now looking at best practices at other schools,” she says. “We will be examining our policies and procedures to eliminate obstacles and considering such possibilities as offering entrepreneurial leave and providing space for start-ups.”

“The pandemic has provided an occasion to rethink what an engineering school can be,” West concludes. “I think the best way to realize our aspirations is to move ahead vigorously on a number of fronts.”

New VASEM Member Profile: Melina R. Kibbe

Melina R. Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA

Melina R. Kibbe, MD, is the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Chief Health Affairs Officer at the University of Virginia.  Before joining UVa, Dr. Kibbe was the Professor of Surgery, and the Colin G. Thomas, Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC).  She also is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Clinically, Dr. Kibbe has significant experience with both open and endovascular surgery.  She is board certified in general and vascular surgery and is RVT and RPVI certified by ARDMS.

Dr. Kibbe’s research interests focus on developing novel drug-eluting therapies for patients with vascular disease while simultaneously studying the mechanism of how these therapies impact the vascular wall.  She has been funded as Principal Investigator (PI) by the NIH, DOD, VA, AHA, and AMA among others, in addition to serving as co-Investigator, consultant, or mentor on many other federally supported awards.  She has also served as the national PI or site PI for many gene and cell-based clinical trials for patients with critical limb ischemia, as well as consultant for many clinical trials for patients with peripheral artery disease.  She holds >10 patents or provisional patents.  Her research was recognized by President Obama with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2009.

Dr. Kibbe has assumed national positions of leadership.  She is the Editor-in-Chief for JAMA Surgery which is currently the #1 surgery journal in the world with an impact factor of 14.766.  She has served as president for the Association for Academic Surgery, the Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society, and the Association of VA Surgeons.  She is also an active member in the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, and the Society for Vascular Surgery, among others.  She was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation and most notably, the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Kibbe has been a strong advocate for sex inclusion in biomedical research.  She was interviewed by Leslie Stahl for 60 Minutes on this topic, and later appeared on the Colbert Report.  Her publications on the presence of sex bias in surgical research gained much media attention nationally and internationally, and resulted in policy development with the National Institutes of Health, the Government Accountability Organization (GAO), and the FDA.  In addition, a bill has been introduced into the House, “Research for All Act of 2015”, which will hopefully be voted into law.

Dr. Kibbe was born and raised in Southern California.  She graduated from the University of Chicago College of Biological Sciences in 1990 and Pritzker School of Medicine in 1994.  She completed her internship, residency, and research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2002, and her vascular surgery fellowship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2003.  Dr. Kibbe completed a 1-year fellowship in The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University College of Medicine in 2012, and Management Skills for Innovative University Leaders at the Kellogg School of Management Business for Scientists and Engineers Program in 2009.

State Activities

Jennifer Sayegh, Association Manager

2021 has been an exciting and productive year for the Virginia Academy. Over the course of the year, VASEM has been involved in several statewide initiatives that are described in this report. VASEM leadership and staff have held meetings with state government officials, including legislators, state agency leaders, and the Governor’s office. These include Delegate Cliff Hayes, Governor’s office policy staff, money committee staff, and CIT leadership. In October, VASEM leadership met with Delegate Cliff Hayes, Chair of JCOTS, and the Governor’s office policy staff to discuss the study report’s recommendations for the biennial budget.

In addition to the 2021 regular Session, which wrapped up in March, the General Assembly convened a Special Session in August to deal with the American Rescue Plan Funds. We are very pleased to report VASEM’s funding remains in the budget for its engagement with the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA). This funding is secured in the second year of the budget and the Academy looks forward to continuing its partnership with VIPA and CIT as the new authority gets up and running. In addition, VASEM Board member Dr. Barbara Boyan was appointed by the Governor to serve on the VIPA.

On November 2, Virginia will hold statewide elections to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Additionally, all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are up for election. As Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states with statewide elections this year, the national party organizations are paying very close attention to these races and investing significant resources ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. In Virginia, early voting began on September 17. VASEM staff continues to monitor these and will advise on how VASEM may wish to engage with the winning candidate for Governor on areas where the academy may add value. In addition, Governor Northam is preparing his outgoing budget, which is a two-year budget, that his predecessor will see to completion. This will be the budget for the 2022-2024 biennium, so staff and leadership will continue to engage with the administration on ensuring VASEM’s funds stay in the budget.