Reflections on 2021

As I write this, I’m conscious of the fact that I haven’t written a blog entry since late September—a testimony to how busy things have been at BSOM this fall. But I couldn’t let the year end without another opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

As I write this, I’m conscious of the fact that I haven’t written a blog entry since late September—a testimony to how busy things have been at BSOM this fall. But I couldn’t let the year end without another opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I’d like to use this installment of the dean’s blog to reflect on this year and give you a teaser for the January 2022 Dean’s Hour Town Hall, when I will give a State of the School address, which I hope to make an annual tradition. 

At this time last year, we were in the midst of our biggest surge since the pandemic began, with a peak of 522 COVID patients hospitalized in our region. At the start of 2021, we celebrated the rollout of the COVID vaccines, a momentous step in the battle against the pandemic. We worked with our community partners, including all of our region’s hospitals and both the Greene County and Montgomery County departments of public health, to get our frontline physicians and residents immunized, along with our other faculty, medical students, and Wright State Physicians staff. Many of us volunteered for immunization campaigns beginning in early 2021 and continued to throughout the spring and summer. Wright State Physicians administered over 1,200 vaccines in winter and spring through a series of immunization clinics. Being able to personally administer vaccines and volunteer at these events was one of the most satisfying experiences I had all year. I am also so proud of the community outreach BSOM conducted to combat vaccine hesitancy in our community. A team of students and residents led by Drs. Glen and Cynthia Solomon of the Department of Internal Medicine and Neurology actively educated the public with their many sessions at 2nd Street Market during the summer and fall. Because of their efforts, hundreds of people received vaccines who might not have otherwise. 

Although BSOM, again, had a virtual Match Day celebration, we were able to celebrate commencement in person, with masks and distancing. That day felt like a real turning point! Our offices of medical education and student affairs were able to plan for and successfully execute a completely in-person experience for our first- and second-year students, with no spread of COVID related to classroom activities. Masking really does work! My eternal thanks to our team in student health and our COVID task force members, who carefully monitored exposures and made sure all precautions were taken. Vaccinations, and the diminished spread in the summer, allowed us to safely celebrate the arrival of the Class of 2025 with a picnic at Benham's Grove, and host two BSOM leadership retreats over the summer, which allowed BSOM’s department chairs and Office of the Dean staff to gather together for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic and begin the strategic planning process due to be completed in Spring 2022. 

In October, Dr. Ngozi Anachebe joined us, leaving warm Atlanta to make Dayton her new home. She’s off and running and has been a wonderful addition to the BSOM family. 

This year, we’ve had some external groups help us understand opportunities for improvement at BSOM—including reviews of the admissions, curriculum, and research areas. Many actions are underway or planned based on the results of these reviews, and fully informed by what I have heard from our community in surveys and multiple meetings over the past year. In the January Dean’s Hour Town Hall, I will share further details and highlights of what is to come! Everything we will be doing is focused on our shared vision of making BSOM the best. 

My year has been full of many enjoyable hours of meeting with departments, faculty, students, and staff. I have truly enjoyed getting to know each one of you. Your contributions to BSOM are immeasurable. People are the heart and soul of any organization, and that is particularly true here at BSOM. I am always happy to meet with any of you—don’t be a stranger! Reach out by email to set up a time to meet, or stop and chat when you see me in White Hall (I’m at White Hall every Wednesday). 

I wish each of you a joyous holiday season and a healthy and happy 2022! 

Valerie Weber, M.D., M.S. 
Dean 

Last edited on 12/14/2021.