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Welcome from the Program Director
Dr. Barrett [View Image]Welcome to the VCU Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training program. When I became the program director in 2011, the program expanded from six to twelve fellows. In 2020, we decided the time was right to grow further to fifteen. In 2021, we are recruiting for five fellowship positions to start hematology-oncology training in July 2022, thus completing our current expansion. In every curricular decision we make, our vision and mission remain forefront. The expansions were undertaken to train exceptional hematology-oncology clinicians ready and capable to meet the health care needs of our community and Commonwealth AND to provide the necessary flexibility to afford the time and opportunity for each fellow to pursue her/his personal educational, scholarly, and professional aspirations.
Each year, I am asked what are we looking for in an applicant at VCU? For our fellowship program, the focus in evaluating an applicant is not the specific career path you might chose. We know we have the resources to help you achieve your professional aspirations. Instead, we look for compassionate internists who share our mission whatever their specific career pathway. But importantly, we look for individuals who are self-reflective and aware, who own their education and professional development, and who work collaboratively toward our individual and collective goals.
Virginia Commonwealth University (The Medical College of Virginia) has a long tradition of clinical excellence. Our health system is a busy, growing, state-of-the art facility, which is ideally situated amid the state’s population centers. Our accessibility stimulates a fast-paced work environment with a notably diverse patient population. Consistent with our socially conscious mission to provide the best medical care regardless of financial status, we care for more than half of the state’s uninsured patients. At the same time, we provide state-of-the art primary, subspecialty, and tertiary care for the densely populated eastern half of the state. We are proud that our efforts to serve all patients in the Commonwealth of Virginia have been recognized for its excellence by US News and World Report in its best hospital rankings and by the American Hospital Association with its prestigious AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize award designation. This diversity and recognized clinical excellence create a rich, hands-on learning environment for the fellow in hematology-oncology.
The training program at VCU is enhanced by its association with Virginia’s premier bone marrow/stem cell transplantation program, a top national palliative care center, the NCI-affiliated Massey Cancer Center, and the state’s largest comprehensive coagulation disorders program. These connections provide fellows many opportunities to pursue their scholarly interests in clinical, translational, and/or basic research laboratory settings.
At VCU, our program strives to provide the mentorship you need to continue your growth as a physician. We foster an educational environment that respects you as a learner, recognizing your particular interests, aspirations, and needs. We value and celebrate the individual achievements of all of our fellows while simultaneously enjoying a collegial environment that recognizes our responsibility to promote one another as members of a team. It is this collegiality that has made me love being a part of the VCU medical center, the Department of Internal Medicine, and the Division of Hematology, Oncology, & Palliative Care since I moved to Virginia and joined the faculty in 2005. It is this collegiality that continues to excite me every day as we share our intellectual journey as students, residents, fellows, and attending physicians.
"I moved to Richmond from Chicago 5 years ago just before starting residency at VCUHS. It didn't take long for me to proudly call Richmond my new home"
Masey Ross, MD
Class of 2017
And, did I mention that Richmond is a great place to live. Richmond ranks among Amazon’s 20 most read cities in the United States. Outside magazine ranked Richmond the “Best River Town in America” due to amenities such as the James River Park System and all the outdoors activities, sporting events, and festivals. Esquire magazine named Virginia THE Food Region of 2014 with Richmond’s Rappahannok among the 12 best new restaurants in the country. National Geographic Included Richmond in its list of 10 place to “Travel for Food in 2016”. Southern Living awarded Alewife the “Best New Restaurant” and Richmond in it’s top 10 cites for food in 2020. USA Today, VinePair, and Hop Culture have all rated Richmond among their top 10 beer cities. Working Mothers magazine rates VCUHS among the best employers for working moms. Forbes magazine ranks Richmond among the top ten cities for working mothers and the 15th happiest cities for young professionals in the U.S. The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research based on resident surveys and CDC data designated Richmond as the happiest, most content city in the U.S. In 2014 Frommer’s named Richmond among the top 10 international destinations. This was followed by Travel and Leisure listing Richmond among its international list of the ten “Best Place to Travel 2016”; Lonely Planet “Tope 10 Places to Visit” in 2018; Expedia “Cities that Must be Seen” in 2018; and Forbes “10 Coolest Cities to Visit” in 2018
With a rich history, great wines, the mountains, the Chesapeake, and the ocean, Richmond is seated at the heart of Virginia. With so much to offer, it is not hard to see why the state boasts that ”Virginia is for Lovers” and a place for those who love to live passionately. If you are looking for a great place to train, to learn, to read, to work, to be a mom, to bike, to kayak, to climb, to play, to eat, to smile, and to live, you need to look no further than the Hematology-Oncology fellowship training program at VCU in that international destination, Richmond, VA (RVA for short).
Though it has been many years since I’ve sought a residency or fellowship position for myself, I still remember the excitement of starting that new phase in my professional development and the anxiety of trying to filter information about programs and places yet unknown to me. As you consider your choices of programs to complete your fellowship training, I encourage you to explore our website and learn more about the program. We hope that you find our site informative and helpful. Certainly, if you have any additional questions about the program, we encourage you to contact us.
J. Christian Barrett, MD
Professor of Medicine
Program Director, Hematology-Oncology Fellowship
Associate Chair of Clinical Affairs, Department of Internal Medicine
Medical Director, Central Virginia Center for Coagulation Disorders