Virginia Tech’s Advancement Division recently added Martha Quinn to its team as assistant vice president of advancement for health sciences and technology and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.
Quinn, who started on Sept. 20, previously served as executive director of development at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center. Prior to that, she was senior director of development for Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
In her new role at Virginia Tech, Quinn is responsible for planning and putting in motion an integrated approach to advance the university’s health sciences and technology priority to address medical challenges that affect millions.
As the leader of a team centered in Roanoke but focused also on Blacksburg and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, Quinn is responsible for fundraising, relationship building, communications, and marketing to highlight the university’s world-class strengths in neuroscience, cardiovascular science, cancer research, health behaviors and addiction, infectious disease, metabolism and obesity, and biomaterials and body-device interfaces.
Quinn will also play an instrumental role developing the emerging partnership between Virginia Tech and Children’s National Hospital, with an eye toward finding solutions to complex problems in children’s health sciences.
Quinn’s positon is a new one, established as Virginia Tech broadens its presence in the health sciences overall. Over the past few years, the university has dramatically expanded its research portfolio in this area. For example, the university has built a 139,000-square-foot Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Addition in Roanoke, secured new multimodal biomedical imaging equipment, and recruited faculty for both the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke and the university’s laboratories at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C.
At the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, centered in Roanoke, 37 primary faculty members currently generate more than $35 million annually, combined, in ongoing extramural research grants. But even with this robust earned support, philanthropy is crucial, said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology, and executive director of the research institute.
“The need to provide solutions to the region’s, nation’s, and world’s greatest health challenges requires resources from all fronts, including philanthropy,” Friedlander said. “Martha has a track record of rallying support and investment for these endeavors and we are very fortunate to have her join our team. I greatly look forward to working with her and to the continued success of the fundraising arm of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the health sciences and technology programs.”
Quinn will jointly report to Friedlander and Monecia Taylor, Virginia Tech’s senior associate vice president for advancement.
“We welcome Martha and are excited to work with her to raise the bar for Virginia Tech’s health sciences research in areas of profound concern,” Taylor said. “Areas like heart health, cancer, pediatric illness, and neuroscience affect millions of people worldwide every year. We have amazing research teams in place and are positioned to bring in even more experts to address complex, high-stakes problems. Martha has demonstrated across several leading institutions that she can bring together researchers and philanthropists to make a real impact in the health sciences. I cannot wait to see what new opportunities she will help to build here at Virginia Tech.”
Quinn earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech. She served as executive director of the Virginia 4-H Foundation before becoming assistant director of development for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.
Quinn left her alma mater to work several years for Johns Hopkins University, ultimately becoming that school’s senior associate director of development for the Whiting School of Engineering. She transitioned to fundraise in the medical field starting in 2005, when she became director of major gifts for the Franklin Square Hospital Center. In 2008, she took on a sales executive role with what is now the Womble Bond Dickinson law firm, before joining Children’s National Health System in 2010, first as director of development and later as senior director of development. Quinn’s numerous accomplishments during that time include more than tripling revenue from a charity gala.
After joining Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 2016, Quinn was instrumental in raising many millions in support before she left to join VCU’s Massey Center in 2018. At VCU, Quinn managed a team of 13 people tasked with raising money for all types of cancer research at the center. Her team exceeded its fundraising goal by nearly 60 percent in fiscal 2021 to set a record for the most ever raised in a year.
Quinn was born at what is now Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and said that working to promote the Health Sciences and Technology Campus that is just across the street from that campus is like “coming home.”
“This is a personal investment for me to see the community from which I was reared really build on its strengths and become an asset not only for Virginia but the entire Mid-Atlantic region,” Quinn continued, adding that one strength she noticed while interviewing was the collaborative, partnership-oriented nature of Virginia Tech’s health sciences and technology efforts. “Twenty years ago, hospitals or researchers were less likely to share ideas because of concerns around intellectual ownership. I think the collaborative approach that is commonplace today helps speed along the science so that we can get it to the people. That’s what philanthropists are interested in. They want to change the world.”