The second faculty retreat for researchers and educators from the College of William & Mary and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) took place on Friday, October 11 at the EVMS campus in Norfolk. The event provided another opportunity for faculty from both institutions to interact with each other and with representatives from Sentara Healthcare and to discuss potential research and educational collaborations. More than 80 participants attended the event.
The keynote address was given by Dr. Karen Remley, the former Virginia Commissioner of Health and the founding director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at EVMS. Dr. Remley spoke about the potential benefits from collaboration by all three institutions (W&M, EVMS, and Sentara), and she encouraged attendees to envision the ways that collaboration might improve health in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the southeastern region of the state. Dr. Remley described various improvements in population health that have taken place, as well as some of the lingering challenges that remain, such as the recent rise in preventable safe-sleep deaths and in rates of maternal mortality. She challenged participants to examine and carry out research to improve these outcomes.
Dr. Remley also suggested that researchers in the audience consider applying for new funding available from PCORI, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created under the Affordable Care Act. These grants are geared toward research in which the community is able to play an integral role. She pointed specifically to the PCORI funding associated with improving healthcare systems, communication and dissemination research, and addressing disparities.
Several W&M faculty also played key roles in the day’s events. Dr. Danielle Dallaire of the W&M Psychology Department and the Neuroscience Program and Dr. Scott Ickes of the W&M Kinesiology and Health Sciences Department both participated in a panel presentation on pediatric research. Dr. Dallaire discussed her research on pregnancy in the context of incarceration. She detailed the objectives of the William and Mary Healthy Beginnings Project that seeks to provide pregnancy tests for incarcerated women of childbearing age, as well as prenatal vitamins and counseling for mothers-to-be serving their sentences. Dr. Ickes presented his research on the maternal capacities hypothesis, which examines the influence of maternal agency on children’s nutrition and growth. Dallaire and Ickes are both Schroeder Center faculty affiliates. The research they presented was funded in part by the Schroeder Center Small Grants program.
Finally, Dr. Jennifer Mellor, director of the Schroeder Center for Health Policy and W&M’s point-person for the EVMS initiative, closed out the retreat by describing a second round of grant funding for collaborative research. Up to three additional grants of up to $20,000 each are available to teams of W&M and EVMS faculty. Applications are due November 15; find information on how to apply.
Links to the recordings of the retreat are available here: