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Salisbury VA doctors promoted to full professors

SALISBURY — The staff and leadership at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center are always looking for ways to provide better care for patients, and that includes helping to mold future medical professionals through partnerships with various medical schools.
Dr. Frank Labagnara, director of Medical Education for Research and Education, takes great pride in being a part of this partnership, and his dedication was recently recognized as he was promoted to full professor in the department of family medicine at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Labagnara said all of the work he does with students is about more than being promoted to professor.
“I put a lot of time into teaching the students, and there’s a lot of diversity in the work I’ve done with them,” he said.
That work includes scheduling their didactic schedules of lectures, grading case presentations and managing a journal club to review medical articles. Labagnara also does a workshop with students every fourth Friday.
“I also counsel the students if they have issues with their professional choices — we talk with them and try to help them sort things out or guide them in the right direction,” said Labagnara. “It’s an investment of a lot of time, but being able to train the next generation of physicians is a very rewarding experience.”
“I always thought I would be a clinical physician; I wasn’t interested in administrative type work. But being here, helping with the students, working with them, guiding them, knowing that you really made a difference in their career is the exciting part,” he added.
Dr. Robin Hurley, associate chief of staff for Research and Education at Salisbury, and professor of psychiatry and radiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, said Labagnara’s promotion is well deserved.
“Dr. Labagnara is a tireless and extremely dedicated teacher. He truly emulates what the model physician should be. His residents and students always find him to be a great mentor and advocate for his patients’ needs,” she said. “He is a highly sought supervisor and consistently receives great evaluations from his students. Everyone at Salisbury VAMC is delighted that Dr. Labagnara has received this great honor and we are all excited about the talents that he brings to education and Veteran patient care.”
Although Dr. Labagnara was the first VCOM clinical faculty to be promoted to full professor, Dr. Tushar Vachharanji, section chief for nephrology, also recently received notification he has been promoted to full professor.
Labagnara said he is also glad to be a part of the Salisbury VAMC team, and his role in its future.
“I think this validates us as an academic facility. It shows that we’re dedicated to academic excellence, to teaching and producing the next generation of physicians,” he said. “It shows that we take pride in what we do, and we want to provide the veterans with the most up-to-date medical care by involving an educational component and having trainees here that stimulate us academically. All of that makes for a better facility, better care — I think everybody wins when you have these types of educational programs.”

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