The Bigger Picture: A Nod of Thanks

July 6, 2021 By Caroline Newman, Caroline Newman,

Dr. Mitch Rosner, chair of the University of Virginia’s Department of Medicine, has amassed an impressive collection of bobblehead dolls. They nodded along gently behind him as he joined Zoom call after Zoom call with UVA leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosner, who is also the Henry Mulholland Professor of Medicine, and Director of Hospital Epidemiology Dr. Costi Sifri provided public health guidance to President Jim Ryan and the UVA leadership team throughout the pandemic, using their expertise to help the University navigate changing guidelines, welcome students back safely and steer through surges, variants and vaccination campaigns.

Searching for a way to thank them, Madison Hall staffers remembered the bobblehead dolls they had seen so often on Zoom. Soon enough, figures of Rosner and Sifri themselves joined the collection. Clad in V-sabre T-shirts beneath white lab coats, the bobblehead dolls strike a superhero pose, a reminder of the work their real-world counterparts did to guide the University through the pandemic.

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Dr. Costi Sifri, left, and Dr. Mitch Rosner, right, hold bobble heads of themselves
Dr. Costi Sifri, left, and Dr. Mitch Rosner with their bobblehead counterparts.

“In addition to their substantial day jobs, they became our public health advisers during the pandemic, and we relied on them daily and weekly throughout the last 15 months,” Ryan said as he presented the dolls last month at a small reception thanking staff. “Any time we had to make a decision about what public health guidelines we were going to put in place, whether we were going to change restrictions or not, we relied on Mitch and Costi.”

Now, they stand as a fun token of appreciation – and an important reminder of the work done not just by Rosner and Sifri, but by all medical professionals at UVA and beyond – a true group of heroes.