New VTC School of Medicine dean looking forward to growth

Monday was Dr. Lee Learman's first day

ROANOKE, Va. – A new leader has taken the helm of Virginia Tech's medical school.

"I have a wonderful opportunity to start thinking about how to grow the medical school," VTC School of Medicine dean Dr. Lee Learman said.

Growth is Learman's top priority, especially class sizes.

"We could grow, modestly and incrementally, over time and continue to sustain that strength. Some of the largest medical schools in the country have 200 to 300 students per class. We will never get that large. At our current class size of 42, we still have some opportunities to grow and keep everything that's special about the medical school," Learman said.

He hopes to develop a strategic plan over the next six to 12 months for the future of the medical school.

"We will be engaging stakeholder groups in both our internal communities as well as external communities, including the Roanoke community, to really understand the direction for the future of the medical school," Learman said.

Learman is also looking to expose students to what he calls health system sciences, or understanding how to deal with the external pressures in the different environments in which they'll be providing health care.