There are many adages about health, such as “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” or “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” One health truism that we all know to be absolute is “it’s important.”
That is certainly the case at UVA, where the UVA Medical Center accounts for just under half of the University’s $3.99 billion budget. Beyond the numbers, health is interwoven into life and academics across Grounds. Medical school students can dual-enroll at Darden to complete an MD/MBA. Batten and the Cooper Center conduct research in policy and populations that have huge impacts in healthcare. Undergraduates in Biomedical Engineering can have hands-on research experience in developing new technologies. And that’s not even beginning to mention the host of student health services the University offers.
It often takes a trained eye to read proposals for projects like these and understand the process and impact.
Fortunately, the Trust has four physicians and two nurses on the board:
Victoria Davis Chen, MD (Col ’92)
Stephen Chen, MD
Ramesh Singh, MD (Res ’07)
Susan Singh (Nurs ’05)
John Sperling, MD (Col ’90, Med ’94)
Pat Woodard (Nurs ’69)
Here are some thoughts they have on healthcare and the Trust’s role in advancing ideas.
John Sperling, MD (Col ’90, Med ’94)
Healthcare is going through enormous changes that have only been accelerated by the recent pandemic. The Jefferson Trust is ideally situated to help support creative and innovative ideas to impact healthcare not only in Charlottesville but also on a larger scale. We would encourage members of the University community to send their proposals for funding to the Jefferson Trust. Not only is the Jefferson Trust an excellent source for funding, but also has the support of Trustees with significant healthcare experience who can help mentor members of the community that would like to make an impact in healthcare.
Victoria Davis Chen, MD (Col ’92)
Improvements in healthcare are seldom made with one large discovery, but instead a series of smaller discoveries. The medical community relies on published, peer reviewed data upon which to build. In the Trust, we have an opportunity to watch an idea that excites us influence other bright minds. Granting this to a member of our UVA community is much further reaching than the original project being presented.
Pat Woodard (Nurs ’69)
I am always so pleased when The Trust receives health-related grant proposals. As we are living through a pandemic, we are especially reminded of the need for good research in nursing, medicine, public health and related fields. Also, projects that aim to improve nursing and medical education have great impact.
The Board of Trustees of the Jefferson Trust is excited to announce our 2020-21 annual grant awards, totaling $984,854 to fifteen programs that will enhance the University of Virginia community, as well as a significant portion of the larger community. This is the largest dollar amount the Trust has granted in a single year.
This year, the Jefferson Trust received 57 grant proposals requesting a combined $4,063,323.50 by the October 1, 2020 deadline. Proposals came from 8 schools, 16 student organizations, and various other University areas, centers, and institutes. Community-facing grants include the UVA Brain Camp for local middle school students; DevHub@Wise, a training program for UVA Wise students; a leadership pipeline program connecting high school students to the Batten School; and a Community Engaged Teaching program led by the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and the Center for Teaching Excellence.
The 2020-21 Grants:
UVA Brain Camp – A Neuroscience Summer Program for Kids: $49,326
UVA Brain Camp will inspire young scientific minds, provide in-depth and hands-on education in Neuroscience, and enrich young students’ local scientific network through one-on-one mentorships. This program will be free and accessible to middle school students who are nominated by their teachers and who identify as members of underrepresented communities or who are financially disadvantaged.
Workforce Development in Data Science for Autistic Young Adults: $99,200
A multidisciplinary team of faculty from UVA’s School of Data Science Brain Institute (within the School of Medicine) and STAR Initiative (in the School of Education) is creating a workforce-development program that will prepare a new generation of adults on the autism spectrum to be data scientists. The program will strengthen systems, transform lives, improve science, and change misperceptions about people whi have different disabilities.
DevHub@Wise will train and educate students of UVA at Wiseto be technologically literate, and engage with the surrounding Appalachian community to take on real-world technology projects. DevHub@Wise builds on the highly successful DevHub model at UVA.
“Knowing Better To Do Better” Preparing and Sustaining Equitable and Anti-Racist Educators: $49,478
As the population of students in Pre-K – 12th grade becomes more diverse, it is vital to prepare teachers to teach through an anti-racist lens and to build equitable classrooms. This one-year pilot program will provide professional development for preservice teachers and their mentors and coaches.
Democracy at UVA Internship: $75,000
The UVA Democracy Internship will create a collaborative internship program across units at UVA that focuses on the study of democracy and governance. The program will promote greater inclusivity in the realm of public service by offering mentorship and research experiences to people in underserved populations.
Pediatric Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era: Helping Patients via Group Telepsychology: $46,649
Approximately 1 in 5 children and teens in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and many go without evidence-based psychotherapy services. This unmet need has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis. UVA Children’s [Hospital] will launch a telehealth program for group therapy for children, adolescents and their caregivers.
Climate Restoration Initiative: $110,000
The Environmental Resilience Institute will launch an initiative to develop strategies for reversing climate change. The Climate Restoration Initiative will bring together an interdisciplinary team of UVA scholars and students to understand how to restore the climate by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with an initial focus on Virginia. This initiative will be the first of its kind to combine the disciplinary and policy perspectives needed to understand the feasible scope of negative emissions strategies, and as such, will distinguish UVA on the global stage.
Distinguished Major Project Musical Through Virginia Players: $2,500
The Virginia Players Lab Series will produce an original full-length musical in the fall of 2021. Tentatively titled “Peace by Piece,” the show focuses on mental health within the queer community and interracial relationships. The main intention is to show those with family members and/or friends in the LGBTQ+ community what a queer person might be going through.
Leadership Skills for a Diverse and Divided World: Developing Leaders who Facilitate Change: $64,900
This grant will fund an ambitious eight-day leadership and policy pipeline program for 40 rising high school juniors will take place in summer 2021. Designed and taught by Batten School faculty and facilitated by students, the program advances the dual goals of training and empowering current UVA students while also building a pipeline for a future generation.
Building a Sustained Commitment to Community-Engaged Teaching: $130,000
The Office for Academic Outreachand the Center for Teaching Excellencewill create the infrastructure to support the expansion of community-engaged courses for undergraduates within and beyond the College. This initiative will launch a website with UVA-tailored resources to support new community-engaged courses, a two-day faculty institute and monthly learning community, one-on-one pedagogical assistance for faculty in developing courses, and course-development grants.
Biomaterial Building Exposition: $72,202
Hosted by the School of Architecture and engaging students and scholars from across the University and beyond, this year-long effort will culminate in an exhibition of built exterior temporary pavilions which demonstrate novel approaches to construction using rapidly renewable biomaterials. Pavilions will take shape literally and metaphorically at the intersections of disciplinary expertise, created by multi-disciplinary student-led teams working directly with external expert mentors and displayed across Grounds.
Affordability and Equity: Open Educational Resources: $77,400
The use of open educational resources to provide affordable and equitable access to an excellent education has been hampered by two factors: insufficient content appropriate for UVA courses and lack of support for faculty authors. The proposed program will address both issues by offering grants to support faculty in the creation of new resources or the adaptation of existing open educational resources, in collaboration with instructional designers, librarians and student interns.
Skyscraper Gothic: $20,000
This exhibition will explore how skyscrapers (such as the Woolworth, Radiator, and Empire State buildings), now rejected as examples of architectural modernity, were originally embraced as emblems of modern American life. The project is a significant collaboration between The Fralin and the Architectural History department, directly enabling the realization of student research and design work undertaken in two classes in the 2019-2020 academic year.
UVA Edge: $100,000
UVA Edge is a one-year undergraduate experience for working adults that is a new offering in higher education. It will launch a pilot cohort with UVA staff and community members.
The Robertson Media Center Women’s Maker Program: $44,980
The goal of the Robertson Media Center-based Women’s Maker Program is to help promote greater confidence in female undergraduate students, improve their sense of belonging inSTEM fields, and better prepare them for careers in the STEM workforce.