Richard Vari, senior dean for academic affairs at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, is serving as president of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE). His two-year term began Jan. 1.

IAMSE is a nonprofit professional development society for health professions education. The organization seeks to promote “excellence and innovation in teaching, student assessment, program evaluation, instructional technology, human simulation, and learner-centered education.”

“It is an honor to serve the IAMSE as president,” Vari said. “I’ve been able to experience tremendous growth and access to new ideas about medical education and teaching as a member since the organization formed in 1997. Now leading the organization, I hope to be able to give back in a new way to other medical educators.”

IAMSE currently represents more than 1,000 medical scientist educators, both basic scientists and physicians, in almost 50 countries and offers programming to advance health sciences education as well as an online peer-reviewed journal.

In 2011, Vari was elected to the IAMSE’s Board of Directors, serving a three-year term, followed by an additional three-year term that wrapped up last year. In 2017, the IAMSE awarded Vari its first-ever “Outstanding Reviewer Award,” recognizing him for the quality of his contributions as a journal reviewer for Medical Science Educator, a publication that focuses on teaching the sciences that are fundamental to modern medicine and health.

Vari has received multiple accolades for his teaching and research in medical education. In November, Vari won the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, which recognizes faculty members who have distinguished themselves in medical student education. The award was presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting, this year in Boston. (See video about Vari’s passion for medical education from the AAMC.)

“Rick has been involved in medical education for over 30 years in a career that has had a huge positive impact on medical student learning. He is one of the most passionate, energetic, engaging, and effective teachers I have ever seen,” said Cynda Ann Johnson, founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “He has been acknowledged by medical students repeatedly with multiple teaching awards at every school during his academic career.”

In addition to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Vari’s academic appointments have been at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Tulane, and the University of North Dakota. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky.