Virginia Tech’s Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology (HS&T), including its Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health Program (TBMH), has appointed Justin Grimes to help advance leadership and inclusion initiatives for graduate and undergraduate students in the biomedical and health sciences.

The new role, leadership and inclusion associate, reflects the university’s rapid growth in biomedical and health sciences research opportunities for graduate students and experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students.

In this capacity, Grimes will focus on developing community outreach and leadership programs for graduate students in the biomedical and health sciences including students in TBMH and multiple other graduate programs, as well as for undergraduate students conducting research on the Virginia Tech Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke. He will also work with HS&T leadership and the TBMH program to help advance diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Grimes join our team in the office of the Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology, where he will bring his considerable skills and experience to bear on multiple biomedical and health sciences programs, including those at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and within the TBMH program,” said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology, and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. “Our graduate students from eleven Virginia Tech programs spanning six colleges, including TBMH, who are carrying out their research at the institute, are not only committed to their individual scientific research, but are equally passionate about giving back to the community and developing their leadership skills. In the past, our students have coordinated outreach and education programs for kindergarten through high school students and community-based organizations. With Dr. Grimes on board in a dedicated leadership role, these activities by our students will grow, reaching broader and more diverse parts of our community. Moreover, we are excited to have his perspective and energy to help develop exciting new programs. When I met Dr. Grimes, I immediately realized that he not only had the necessary background to serve effectively in this role, but a real passion to help our students make a difference in their own careers and in the lives of others.”

Grimes will report to Leanna Blevins, Virginia Tech’s assistant vice president for health sciences education and student affairs, and Veronica van Montfrans, associate director of the TBMH program and a research assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.

He comes to the new role after serving as assistant director of recruitment, diversity, and inclusion in the Virginia Tech Graduate School, where he worked to increase recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented groups.

Grimes has worked for Virginia Tech since 2018 and joined the university’s Diversity in Human Resources Committee in 2020. He is also a Montgomery County Public Schools Equity Committee member, Montgomery Central School mentor, and a New River Valley Virginia Dialogue on Race facilitator.

He earned his doctoral degree in counseling and student personnel services from the University of Georgia, where he was awarded the Southern Association for College Student Affairs Dissertation of the Year recognition.

Grimes completed a master’s degree in workforce development education and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and information systems from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.