VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 3 - Number 4 – Fall 2004

We hope that you'll enjoy these quick highlights from the MCV Campus. Please forward this newsletter to friends who might like to learn more about the
School of Medicine! In this issue...

Student News

School of Medicine welcomes Class of 2008 
Chosen from more than 4,400 applicants, 184 students have begun their first year at the School of Medicine. The students participated in three days of orientation activities, including the annual White Coat Ceremony, in which senior faculty members cloak the students in their first white coats. See photos from the ceremony and review the list (Word document) of first-year students and their undergraduate schools. 

M2008 medical student named Cooke Foundation scholar 
An incoming School of Medicine student is among 39 students nationwide chosen to receive a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship, an award that can total up to $50,000 per year. Read about Mireille D. Truong, who earned her bachelor's degree from VCU in 2003 and is the third student from our medical school to be honored as a Cooke Scholar. 

Research News

Infectious disease expert calls for a response to antibiotic shortageScientists, the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry must work together quickly to solve the growing crisis of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Richard P. Wenzel, M.D. "With increasing levels of antibiotic resistance, an insecure pipeline and a dwindling number of companies investing in anti-infectives, we have reached an unsettling impasse in medicine," wrote Dr. Wenzel, chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, in the Aug. 4 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Read about Dr. Wenzel's perspective

Gene-expression patterns tied to progression of primary liver cancerMultiple changes in the gene-expression patterns of cells involved with tumor progression in liver cancer patients and in those with cirrhosis may help scientists predict a person's risk of developing primary liver cancer. If particular gene and protein expressions can be detected, "then we may be able to intervene before that potentially lethal disease becomes incurable, or eliminate those components before a patient becomes infected," said surgery professor Robert A. Fisher, M.D., director of the liver transplant program. Read about the study that was published in the journal Liver Transplantation. 

New treatment strategy for brain cancer
Massey Cancer Center researchers have found that combining ionizing radiation with a secreted protein that selectively inhibits tumor cell growth and survival can target cancer cells and leave healthy cells alone, perhaps presenting a new approach for treating the deadliest type of brain tumor. Read about the study that was published in the August 2004 issue of the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy. 

Clinical News

Blood transfusions during surgery could be risky 
Patients who received blood platelet transfusions during coronary bypass surgery were more likely to have prolonged hospital stays, longer surgeries, more bleeding and higher risk of infection, stroke and death. "Although this analysis cannot prove that platelet infusions caused the increases in adverse events examined, the data are sobering and should be taken into account when determining the risk-benefit ratio of platelet transfusion therapy," says Bruce D. Spiess, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and lead author on the article. Read about the international study published in the August issue of Transfusion. 

Foundation grant establishes women's health resource center 
The Institute for Women's Health has received a $100,000 grant from the Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Foundation to establish a comprehensive resource center for information on women's health. To be located at the Women's Health Center at Stony Point, the center will offer resource materials as well as a medical librarian who will help patients locate relevant information and resources that address their individual health needs. Read about the grant

Medical Center offers area's only specialized pediatric otolaryngologist 
Ron B. Mitchell, M.D., of the Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Department, is one of the state's only fellowship-trained pediatric otolaryngologists. Medical advancements have made it possible for premature infants to survive in greater numbers than ever before, many of whom, explains Dr. Mitchell, require pediatric ear, nose and throat specialty care. Read about Dr. Mitchell

Faculty News

Dr. Whitehurst-Cook chosen for national leadership program 
A family medicine physician has been selected as a fellow in the national Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women. Michelle Y. Whitehurst-Cook, M.D., associate professor and a 1979 alumnus, is the seventh faculty member sponsored by the VCU School of Medicine in eight years for the national leadership program. 

Two School of Medicine faculty to be honored at 2004 Convocation 
Among the four distinguished professors honored during Convocation 2004 were two from the medical school: Richard M. Costanzo, Ph.D., received the Distinguished Teaching Award; and Steven H. Woolf, M.D., received the Distinguished Scholar Award. Read about the careers of Dr. Costanzo and Dr. Woolf

School News

VCU Board of Visitors approves new master site plan 
Laying out the vision for VCU's campuses for the next 15 years, the master site plan includes a 500,000 square-foot building for the School of Medicine that would provide modern classroom and laboratory facilities and a $110 million, state-of-the-art Critical Care Bed Tower that will provide 300 critical care and isolation beds. Read more about the plan (Web site includes link to a PowerPoint presentation of the plan as well as a video with architectural renderings of the new buildings). 

VCU to have state's only School of Public Health 
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has approved a new School of Public Health at VCU. The new school, the only School of Public Health in Virginia and one of only 34 nationwide, will help fill a large and growing need for public health professionals. Read about the school that will initially be established within the VCU School of Medicine. 

Alumni News

Alumni receptions planned for D.C. and Florida 
Dr. Hugo Seibel will briefly come out of retirement to help host a Nov. 3 reception for alumni and housestaff of the Washington D.C. area! If you live or work in the area but have not received an invitation to the event that will be held at Vienna Virginia’s Tower Club, please let us know by sending an email to Lynn Dowdy

Did you know that hundreds of medical school alums live in the South Florida region? Maybe you even refer patients to some of them, never knowing they, too, spent time in Richmond. Mark your January calendar for alumni receptions that will be held in Boca Raton on the 18th and Miami on the 19th – and make sure that your contact info is up-to-date so that you'll receive your invitation. 

Back by popular demand - the Third Annual Alumni Update Course 
The day-long CME marathon will return this fall, on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Education Complex in Richmond. Attendees will hear from medical school faculty including Dr. Harry Bear on recent changes in breast cancer treatment, Dr. Joel Silverman on new treatments for depression, and Dr. Ellen Brock on HRT best practices. Review the conference agenda and register early; space is limited. 

New online eGiving site 
The MCV Foundation has unveiled a new, secure online giving site that alumni and friends can use to support the School of Medicine. With the tax year drawing to a close, don’t forget to make your gift to the Annual Fund. You can make your gift online at the MCV Foundation’s eGiving Page, just use the drop-down menu to select the medical school for your gift.

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Check out upcoming CME offerings via an online registration system from the medical school’s Office of Continuing Physician Professional Development & Evaluation Studies

With the tax year drawing to a close, don't forget to make your gift to the School of Medicine's Annual Fund. You can make your gift online at the MCV Foundation's eGiving Page

Register Online for the
Third Annual Alumni Update Course 
a day-long CME marathon Friday Nov. 12 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

For More Information:

MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation 
VCU Campaign