Harrington, who oversaw the design of the third- and fourth-year clinical clerkships as the school’s senior associate dean, will now oversee the entire four-year curriculum. The position not only mirrors his current position as vice president for academic affairs at Carilion Clinic, but it also reflects his early role in shaping the school’s program.
“Dan has been in the trenches as an integral part of the leadership team that built this school from scratch,” said Dr. Cynda Ann Johnson, founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, in appointing Harrington. “His expertise in designing and delivering top-rate medical education has been a tremendous asset, even more so now in his new expanded role.”
Harrington served on the school’s original curriculum planning committee. To determine the best learning model, he visited medical schools with a range of successful approaches to education. Based on that research, committee members chose to devise a new, innovative approach: a problem-based, team-based learning model that incorporates a research-project requirement.
“I’m excited to deepen my responsibilities at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine,” said Harrington . “I have a wonderful, hard-working, and growing leadership team to help orchestrate the vision for an innovative medical education curriculum.”
Harrington will continue to serve as vice president for academic affairs at Carilion Clinic, where he oversees graduate medical education programs. He earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from West Virginia University, and he completed a combined internal medicine and psychiatry residency at the University of Virginia.
To support Harrington’s vision, Johnson has appointed two faculty members to key positions. As assistant dean for clinical sciences for the preclinical years, Dr. Tarin Schmidt-Dalton will lead in the continued development and execution of the clinical sciences and skills portion of the curriculum. As assistant dean for clinical sciences for the clinical years, Dr. Aubrey Knight will coordinate the development and implementation of clerkship rotations through the various medical specialties.
Schmidt-Dalton, an assistant professor in the school’s Department of Family Medicine, had previously served as director of clinical sciences and skills for first-year students. “I enjoyed working closely with the charter-class students as their clinical knowledge and skills evolved,” she said. “It will be rewarding to continue to help shape this aspect of their education in their second year. I’m particularly energized by the many opportunities to collaborate with faculty members and standardized patients as the student body continues to grow and transition into the clerkship years. Effectively bridging the clinical skills taught in the first two years with those needed in the last two years will be key.”
Schmidt-Dalton became involved with the school early in its development, as a founding faculty member. She also participated on the curriculum planning committee.
“We received wonderful feedback from our students last year on the course of study that Dr. Schmidt-Dalton developed,” said Johnson. “I have full confidence that she will build on that success, ensuring our students are ready to begin interacting with patients during their clinical clerkships.”
Schmidt-Dalton earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her medical degree from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, which emphasized a problem-based learning curriculum. After undertaking a family medicine residency at Carilion Clinic, she completed a fellowship in faculty development at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She will continue her role as a faculty member with the Carilion Family Medicine Residency Program, where she has taught for the past dozen years. Her areas of interest and leadership include women’s health, pediatrics, and curriculum design.
Knight is assuming the day-to-day operations and logistics of the clinical curriculum for students in years three and four. He will work closely with clerkship directors to ensure each student has a challenging and positive experience in each specialty.
“I’m honored to step into this role,” said Knight. “I plan to adapt my experience in graduate medical education and turn any challenges that arise into successes to give our students a wonderful and well-rounded experience in the wards.”
Over the past two years, Knight has given lectures at the school. He also serves as a preceptor for the longitudinal ambulatory care experience (LACE), an early patient-centered experience program for first- and second-year medical students.
“I’m pleased Aubrey has joined our leadership team,” said Johnson. “He has a wealth of knowledge in medical education, particularly as a preceptor for residents and medical students in the clinic setting. This expertise will translate well into managing the school’s clerkship programs.”
Knight earned his bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater College and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He undertook a family medicine residency at Carilion Clinic before finishing a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical System.
Dr. Knight has previously served as the residency director for the Carilion Family Medicine Residency and the fellowship director for the Carilion Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. He currently is section chief for the Geriatric and Palliative Medicine Section within the Department of Medicine, director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, and medical director of the Carilion Center for Healthy Aging.
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute joins the basic science, life science, bioinformatics, and engineering strengths of Virginia Tech with the medical practice and medical education experience of Carilion Clinic. Virginia Tech Carilion is located in a new biomedical health sciences campus in Roanoke at 2 Riverside Circle.
-Written by Alison Matthiessen, marketing communications specialist for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine