Jeremy Harris Graf '91, MD, FACEP Chief Medical Officer Inova Alexandria Hospital and Vice President Inova Health System
By: Joe McDonald '12 & Agustin "Gus" Umanzor '08

A Day in the Life of Jeremy Graf ’91 during COVID-19:

During this time of the COVID-19 era, it has been nothing short of unprecedented times. Jeremy has shed some light on his experience in the heavy populated northern Virginia area hospital. He speaks on the location of his INOVA hospital in Alexandria as being interesting, stating that “because of where Alexandria’s situated so close to DC, we are getting the surge from DC, and then we haven’t really hit the big surge from Virginia yet.” It’s clear there are still speculations of COVID-19 cases looking to surge in the heavy populated area of the metropolitan DMV area. When describing his strategy that has helped keep his hospital as a peak serviceable hospital during this time, he quoted “Just trying to think three or four steps ahead”. Jeremy and his team continue to make long-lasting positive impacts on many families’ lives during this time. His intuitive thinking of staying ahead of the curve has paid true dividends as his hospital preps for the biggest surge yet in the area.

Thinking Outside the Box:

Jeremy is told the amazing story of TJ Kim, a current sophomore at the Landon School, and his immediate thoughts are “Wow, this is a great story!”. Jeremy touched by the story of TJ Kim, shares his own personal stories of individuals or organizations making a difference and spreading light during these dark times. A local pizza shop offered to provide pizza to every single person in his hospital for as long as this pandemic will last. A local car dealership offered to do disinfecting, and cleaning of their cars. You also had kids that were leaving cards or signs on their lawn. These small, but powerful gestures surely put a smile on Jeremy’s face as he described these uncommon acts as “thinking outside the box” to support those helping those in need.

Thank You:

“First of all, I want to thank everyone for their support. It just helps the feeling, what we're experiencing every day, seven days a week, no breaks in sight, thinking we aren't going to leave the hospital. It's very tasking. Those efforts of support are really helpful.”

Medical Advice:

“What is most important is one, making sure that those who don't need to be in the hospital aren't in the hospital and stay safe. That includes washing hands, which you always should be doing, really focusing on the self-isolation”

Life Outside of Hospitals

Good work-life balance is something most, if not what all, people want. Hobbies play a vital role in this process. Jeremy seemed to find his interest in music, particularly guitar & piano, blossom once medical school begin. “Actually, it wasn't until medical school that some guys in my class had formed a band and we started playing all around throughout Baltimore.” He is no longer playing with his original band, however, instead has been playing with a cover band up until about last year. “I've actually had to take a little break to keep my mind on the job but I'm hoping to start that up again.” We are surely looking forward to when the band gets back together!

Landon Teachers & Values Leaving a Lasting Impact

Jeremy describes his time at Landon as not only a great experience, but also loving and learning a lot from all the professors who taught him. One teacher stood out to Jeremy, Pierre Poisson, his French teacher in middle school. Humor and creativity are just a few ways Professor Poisson’s teaching style was described. “He would call you out, he'd change the classroom design so everybody would be in a circle, people looking at each other, he'd stand in the circle, it was very challenging.” A clear demonstration of creativity and innovation as a professor at Landon. He also remembers his engagement and animation in the classroom, something so intriguing to see that Landon tours of prospect families were should to swing by Professor Poisson’s classroom to witness and marvel.

Some of these values from his teacher has stayed with Jeremey, and as a leader now in his field, he understands creating the connection is valuable with the people he interreacts with whether it’s an employee or a patience. Honest, transparency, humility, humor to name a few of the things Professor Poison has taught Jeremy. Something Jeremy truly appreciates from Landon is having the ability to critically think about problems in an organized manner, as well as feeling empowered & supported. Jeremy is quoted stating “I think one thing that the teachers do is really make you feel comfortable seeking out. That's how I've... Now my new position as Chief Medical Officer, I always tell our staff, speak out, tell me what you need and let me make sure everyone's involved.”

Punctuality and structure are more values Landon has taught Jeremy which I’m sure is very necessary. He works with various departments and people including the chief nursing officer, the president, and networking with the other four chief medical officers of the neighboring hospitals. “I will tell you one about Landon is that, because of the challenge, it becomes very structured. I'm never late. I always just show up on time.”

Landon In Three Words:

One word used to describe Landon was challenging. When talking about the word challenging, Jeremy describes why as “because I think we learned as much from the teachers that as we do each other.” The teachers and students challenged each other to get the most out of each other and it takes a true appreciation to understand the synergy between the two. “I assume I'm not the smartest person in my class but, after I left Landon, I felt like I had all the tools I needed to succeed.” Landon being so challenging allowed Jeremy to develop the tools he felt he needed to succeed in life after Landon.

Another word used to describe Landon was supportive. He felt whether it was in the classroom or the athletic fields, team building, and peer-to-peer bonding was apparent and served as a great tool to help support and empower one another.

The last word used to describe Landon was respect. Jeremy was quoted saying “I think that the teachers respected you, and to respect them the same way as they respected each other.” This is something that Jeremy has extremely valued in life after Landon. “It's dealing with patients, giving them respect, and them giving you respect.”

Advice for Current Landon Students:

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” In Jeremy’s eyes, there is no wrong question. This is something he says when he is teaching residents. He also says to “Learn as much as you can”. This goes hand-in-hand with not being afraid to ask questions. Be a sponge, absorb all the content and information you receive from your professors and peers at Landon. There is no downside to learning more.