About the Department

A cornerstone of the School of Medicine with its origins dating back to 1838

Welcome from the Chair

Dr. Patricia J. Sime [View Image]Welcome to Virginia Commonwealth University and the Department of Internal Medicine. This website is our invitation to you to learn more about our Department.

These are exciting times in Academic Medicine with the unprecedented opportunity to bring the best of today’s medicine to all patients, use innovative educational methods to teach the next generation of physicians, and lead research efforts in our quest for scientific discovery. Indeed, VCU is an institution in the forefront of all its missions and I am excited to be a part of it. After many happy years on faculty at the University of Rochester, in July 2019 I joined this Department as Chair. I was drawn by VCU’s excellence in research, education, and clinical programs. As a native Scot, I am very familiar with warm and welcoming receptions. However, my first months at VCU have been truly amazing. I could not have received a more genuine and warmer welcome what has been shared here. It has been truly inspiring and humbling.

In an environment of inclusion, the faculty, learners, and staff at VCU are driven to bring their best every day. Collegiality and a culture of respect are immediately obvious and embraced, and every day I witness everyone quietly and effectively do the right thing.

The VCU Health System is a comprehensive academic medical center located in the city of Richmond in beautiful central Virginia. VCU is a public research university founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College. VCU was first born as the Medical College of Virginia in 1854.  We are guided by our mission: We preserve and restore health for all people of Virginia and beyond through innovation in service, clinical care, research, and education.

Clinical Excellence:

In 2019, VCU Medical Center was again rated #1 in the metro-Richmond area by U.S. News & World Report. Internal Medicine comprises almost 300 faculty, who are leaders in their fields; recipients of numerous local, national, and international awards for patient care and safety; and helping to develop innovative models of care. The hospital has 743 in-patient beds, 843,700 ambulatory visits (225,390 Internal Medicine), and we provide care for a large portion of the indigent population of central Virginia and the Commonwealth. We also serve as a tertiary and quaternary referral center for the Mid-Atlantic Region extending from the Washington, D.C. metro area south into North Carolina and west into West Virginia. VCU Medical Center is the only Level 1 trauma center and comprehensive burn center in central Virginia. Our clinical mission to provide cutting-edge care is expanding and we are currently constructing state-of-the-art facilities including a 603,000-sq. ft. multi-disciplinary ambulatory tower and a new 86-bed, Children’s Hospital.

Research and Scholarship:

Training in research and conducting research are priorities for the Department. Scholarship ranges from clinical trials to basic and translational research. Our efforts are supported by $35.9M dollars from the NIH, Industry, the Department of Defense, and Philanthropy. The Department is integrally affiliated with the NCI-designated Massey Cancer Center and the Pauley Heart Center, both of which incorporate innovative research and clinical care. Our MD and PhD faculty collaborate across the University with exciting efforts in discovery. Training in research is key to our mission to advance knowledge through basic, translational, and clinical research, bolstered by an NIH funded Clinical Center for Translational Research, as well as training grants to help our learners fulfill their scholarship goals. 


Driven by rigorous Faculty oversight, the Department’s educational ranking places it in the top tier of medical education programs in the United States. The residency and fellowship training programs are innovative and unique as learner-directed programs that afford maximal growth, responsibility, and autonomy to trainees. We are fortunate to enjoy state-of-the-art simulation and training facilities in our McGlothlin Medical Education Center and are developing a focus on interdisciplinary team-based training and safety practices. Trainees spend time working in the VCU hospital system as well as at the McGuire VA Medical Center. We currently have 120 residents in training, and 115 fellows in sub-specialty training, and our inspiring educational leaders have won national awards for their efforts, which extend well beyond our walls. Our current residents come from 27 states across the USA.

We are all honored to serve this outstanding department and would be pleased to welcome you in the same warm manner as I so humbly enjoyed!


Patricia J. Sime, MD, FRCP
Chair, Department of Internal Medicine
William Branch Porter Professor of Medicine

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