VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 5 - Number 4 - Fall 2006

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

Student News

Back to School 
The medical school's 184 incoming students marked the beginning of their education with the 11th annual White Coat Ceremony. Read about the Ceremonysee pictures, or hear from a few members of the Class of 2010. You can listen to or download an audio recording. 

The third-year students transitioned from the preclinical to the clinical at the School of Medicine's first Arnold P. Gold Foundation Student Clinician Ceremony. Speakers shared personal stories encouraging students to emulate compassionate care even in the face of the rigors of third-year clerkships. Read more about the Student Clinician Ceremony

Students in Action 
If you have a bad car accident out here, it may be 25 minutes before an ambulance can get you to the hospital! Overhearing an off-hand remark motivated third-year student Jon Schmitz to develop a solution for improving pre-hospital emergency care for the citizens of Charles City County. Read more about this student's effort

Research News

Genetic Variant Associated with Premature Delivery 
A genetic variant may account for the higher rates of premature delivery experienced by African-American women, according to findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings may help physicians identify patients who could benefit from lifestyle changes or medical therapy to reduce their risk. Read more about the research led by Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the School of Medicine. 

Almost like Mars 
The rocky, polar, desert setting of Mars can be simulated a little closer to home on Canada’s Devon Island. This summer, the island served as a living laboratory for surgeon Azhar Rafiq, M.D., who is chief scientific officer for the NASA Research Partnership Center at VCU. Read more about the international research project that he participated in and find a link to the team's weblog. 

New Method for Measuring Blood Pressure in the Heart 
A new non-invasive method can give reliable information about the volume of blood circulation and how well the heart is pumping. Researchers have patented an approach that uses a blood pressure cuff and special electrodes connected to a computer to determine central venous pressure. Read more about the method that could replace the time consuming procedure of threading a catheter through the neck or chest to a point near the right atrium to accurately determine CVP. 

Clinical News

Guidelines for Recalled pacemakers, ICDs Developed 
A team of medical experts has established a set of clinical guidelines to help physicians determine how to best care for patients with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter- defibrillators that are the subject of an advisory or recall. Read more about the guidelines that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association

New Surgical Procedure Treats Irregular Heart Rhythms 
Called a modified Mini-Maze, the new procedure may eliminate atrial fibrillation, a common rhythm abnormality in the heart's upper chambers and a major cause of stroke. Read more about the technique that offers hope to patients who previously have had limited treatment options. 

School News

$1 Million Gift Establishes Neuro-Oncology Chair 
To expand options for patients with cancers of the brain and spinal cord, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation has made a commitment to endow a chair in memory of businessman and philanthropist William G. Reynolds Jr. Read more about the $1 million pledge to endow a chair in neuro-oncology in the School of Medicine. 

Two Medical School Faculty Honored at Faculty Convocation 
At the university's 24th Opening Faculty Address and Convocation, Alpha A. Fowler, M.D., was honored with the University Distinguished Teaching Award, and Michelle Whitehurst-Cook, M'79, H'82, received the University Distinguished Service Award. Read more about the accomplishments of Drs. Fowler and Whitehurst-Cook

From the Mediterranean to the MCV Campus 
The medical school continues to expand its relationships with several international "partner" universities in Italy and Spain. This summer, the MCV Campus and Italy's University of Messina served as the dual bases for a graduate-level seminar on neuroanatomy and clinical neurosciences. Read more about the international program

Alumni News

Reunion Weekend 2007 
Alumni from class years ending in '7s and '2s should mark their calendars for Reunion Weekend April 27 - 29! If you graduated with these classes but did not receive information on making hotel reservations and updating addresses with the Alumni Association, please call (800) 628-7799 or (804) 828-3900.

Upcoming CME Opportunities 

  • The Latino Health Conference, to be held November 16-17, seeks to equip health care providers with information, knowledge and resources to better serve the Latino population - this nation's fastest growing minority population. 
  • The 12th Annual Sports Medicine for the Primary Care Provider, to be held December 1-3, provides an intensive update of sports medicine topics of specific interest to the primary care provider with faculty panels each day and optional skills workshops. 
  • The medical school's popular Alumni Update Course is back for a fourth year. The daylong course will be held on Friday, April 27, offering up to 6.75 credit hours, and kicking off Reunion Weekend.

Check out these and other CME offerings from the medical school. 

Charitable IRA Rollovers 
A limited-time provision for charitable contributions from Individual Retirement Accounts could give you an unprecedented opportunity to help the medical school. Between now and December 31, 2007, individuals aged 70 ½ and older may transfer up to $100,000 per year. The charitable distribution counts toward Minimum Required Distribution requirements and may be made in addition to any other charitable giving you may have planned. The provision does include some limitations, and we recommend you seek the advice of your tax and/or legal counsel before deciding on a course of action. If you would like more information about your options under this unique provision, please contact Tom Holland, Associate Dean for Development at (800) 332-8813, (804) 828-3800 or

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