John E. Nestler, M.D., a professor of internal medicine, is the first to hold the position, expanding collaboration between the two schools
RICHMOND, Va. (Aug. 30, 2018) – Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts and VCU’s School of Medicine are pleased to welcome John E. Nestler, M.D. as their first Physician-Scientist in Residence, where he will bring his in-depth knowledge of medical science, the local medical environment and clinical research onto the arts campus. Dr. Nestler is the former chair of VCU’s Department of Internal Medicine and a member of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He also holds joint appointments as professor in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pharmacology and Toxicology.
The Physician-Scientist in Residence, one of the first residencies of its kind in an arts program, is part of an ongoing collaboration between VCUarts and the School of Medicine to help improve medical education and advance the clinical health and well-being in the community by addressing and solving problems through art and design.
“The creation of our Physician-Scientist in Residence program is fueling the frontier of artistic discovery within Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, and beyond,” said VCUarts Dean Shawn Brixey. “Dr. Nestler will accelerate the more than 20 existing collaborations between Arts and Medicine, helping to shape future discoveries. From using design to improve the daily lives of cancer patients, to using virtual reality to treat patients with anxiety disorders, we can use our specialized creative skills to solve real-world problems. We are thrilled to have Dr. Nestler on board to help share our future discoveries.”
While serving in his residency, one of Dr. Nestler’s primary responsibilities will be the creation of a School of Medicine elective, “Medicine, Art and the Humanities.” The course, which is set to launch in spring 2019, will have a transdisciplinary approach, bringing together various arts principles and techniques, with the support of arts faculty members, to help bring new perspective to the medical student curriculum.
“We’ve seen lots of wonderful programs and projects grow out of partnerships between faculty from the School of Medicine and the School of the Arts,” said Peter F. Buckley, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “We are particularly enthusiastic about Dr. Nestler’s new role because he will be looking so broadly for new opportunities. From solutions to clinical problems, to teaching medical students empathy, humanism and observation skills, or even building resiliency and fighting physician burnout, the intersection between arts and medicine has the potential to be life-changing.”
Another primary responsibility of the Physician-Scientist in Residence will be to assist with projects that come through the Arts Research Institute, which serves faculty in their creative research and interdisciplinary practices across the university. Some Arts Research Institute projects Dr. Nestler is currently involved with are Department of Theatre professor Aaron Anderson, Ph.D.’s simulated standardized patient program and Jill Ware and John Henry Blatter’s virtual reality project, “Embodied Empathy.”
About Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
VCUarts is the top-ranked public art school in the U.S. and offers degree programs across the visual and performing arts and design. VCUarts is housed within a major urban research university that has been recognized for its community-engaged research. Encouraging intellectual inquiry in and through the creative fields, VCUarts fosters rich, interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, designers, health practitioners, and more. VCUarts manages its partnership with the School of Medicine through the Arts Research Institute, the school’s research hub and think tank that supports project development and special initiatives.
About Dr. John Nestler, M.D., M.A.C.P.
John Nestler, M.D. received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his internship, residency and chief medical residency in Internal Medicine at VCU. Dr. Nestler is the former chair of VCU’s Department of Internal Medicine and a member of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He also holds joint appointments as professor in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Nestler’s research has focused on the role of insulin resistance in the polycystic ovary syndrome. He has been a principal investigator on numerous research projects, receiving funding from grant sources that include the NIH, the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the American Diabetes Association, among others, and he has also received two of VCU School of Medicine’s highest honors, “Outstanding Research Achievement Award” and the “Distinguished Mentor in the Clinical Sciences Award.”
Suzanne A. Silitch, APR
VCU School of the Arts