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Distinguished Mentor Award
Amir Toor, M.D., is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care, Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM). Dr. Toor joined our faculty in 2007. A busy investigator with more than 10 active grants and contracts, more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, and more than 100 abstracts, Dr. Toor is exceptionally dedicated to paving the way for the next generation of healthcare professionals and scientists.
Undergraduate students, medical students, master’s and PhD graduate students, post-graduate trainees, resident and fellowship trainees, healthcare and non-healthcare faculty members, and international faculty – all have benefitted from Dr. Toor’s mentorship. In addition to the vital day-to-day support of our learners, these mentoring relationships have been most productive; nearly all of his 47 undergraduate student, medical student, post-graduate, and resident/fellow physician research mentees were authors on abstracts and/or peer-reviewed publications. Two-thirds of these mentees had the opportunity to be first author. Entire academic programs have been created and enhanced because of Dr. Toor’s broad scope of mentorship.
Jason Reed, Ph.D. Eminent Scholar, Professor of Physics, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences describes Dr. Toor’s interdisciplinary collaborations. “Our physics department views Amir’s cross-mentoring of our students as one of the most valuable training assets we have: our work with him and his clinical fellows has led directly to our department launching an undergraduate concentration for physics majors interested in careers in quantitative medicine.”
“Shortly after I joined his research group he encouraged me to investigate adaptive clinical trial designs. This was a field I knew nothing about and employed statistical methods I was unskilled in. But Amir not only believed that these designs were the future, but he believed that I could help bring them to his team and to VCU. Though his guidance and encouragement, we have designed many trial proposals … two of which have been approved and are currently being conducted. Further, this research line has become a methodological specialty of mine, resulting in many peer-reviewed publications, and has been the focus of five PhD dissertations where I have served as primary advisor. None of this would have happened without Amir’s mentorship and encouragement,” attests Roy T. Sabo, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biostatistics, VCU SOM.
“He is acutely aware of the educational level of the colleague he is talking to … No question is stupid with Dr. Toor … he will explain and re-explain a topic with no inkling of judgment - he will in fact consistently find creative ways to explain the same topic until the mentee is comfortable with it,” explains Viktoriya Zelikson, MS4, VCU class of 2022.
Kelly G. Hawks, Pharm.D., BCOP, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Cellular Immunotherapies and Transplant Program Director, PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Residency, Clinical Assistant Professor, VCU School of Pharmacy describes how Dr. Toor’s guidance and innovative approaches have impacted pharmacy learners. “Dr. Toor encouraged me to push the traditional boundaries of what our pharmacy residency programs required. Four of these projects produced results presented by a pharmacy trainee at a national level, including two platform presentations at the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy meeting (1st place-2016) and 2nd place award (2018) in the Transplant Pharmacology category. Dr. Toor set a high standard early on in my career and the careers of my trainees.”
Dr. Toor has been recognized for his exceptional contributions to mentorship, research and teaching, receiving the Outstanding Mentor Award from the DOIM in 2017, the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the DOIM in 2016, and a nomination for the prestigious Thames-Kontos Mentorship Award in 2019.
“His genuine care for the welfare of his mentees and their growth as thoughtful physicians and scientists is palpable … ” summarizes Rehan Qayyum, M.D., M.H.S., Chair and Professor of Internal Medicine, EVMS.