VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 6 - Number 4 - Fall 2007

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

The Journey Begins 
When the Class of 2011 arrived on campus, their first experiences included the annual White Coat Ceremony and Project HEART. Read more about the programs that emphasize professionalism and humanism and see pictures from the White Coat Ceremony. 

Students In Action 
The School of Medicine's Geriatric Student Interest Group regularly reaches out to our community's Senior Citizens. "We feel that it is important for us to share some of our time with them, even though we haven't got much time to spare. Our goal is to do what we can to help these folks to smile a little more each day, and to teach students who may not have experience with seniors that these terrific people are just ourselves a few years down the road!" says Charlotte Gregory, a member of the Class of 2009. Last October, the group visited an area senior center to help decorate pumpkins. 

Research News

FDA Approves Compound that Can Stop Severe Bleeding in Minutes 
A lightweight, granular, dressing compound that quickly stems high-pressure bleeding in moderate to severe wounds has received FDA approval and will soon be used in combat situations. The patent-pending technology behind WoundStat is the result of more than three years of study and development by VCURES researchers in the School of Medicine. Read more and watch video clips about the promising compound

Understand Evidence-Based Research 
A $90,000 federal grant will promote participation in research studies for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and genetic conditions. "This grant will help clinicians, educators and students improve their skills in talking with families about research," said Joann Bodurtha, M.D., professor of Human Genetics. Read more about the grant that aims to help families sort out the wide range of therapies that they may be offered or hear about. 

Genetic Factors Strongly Shape How Peers Are Chosen 
"As we grow and move out of our own home environment, our genetically influenced temperament becomes more and more important in influencing the kinds of friends we like to hang out with," said Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., lead author on the study. Read more about the study findings

Clinical News

IUDs Safe and Effective in High-Risk Patients 
"Young, unmarried, sexually active women can now be considered good candidates for this contraceptive option, which doesn't require taking a pill, patch, or injection," said Catherine A. Matthews, M.D., who led the study. This population was previously not considered as good candidates for this method of birth control. Read more about the contraception study or download video and audio clips. 

Theater Training Helps Doctors Improve Clinical Empathy Skills 
Doctors taught empathy techniques by theater professors show improved bedside manner, according to a pilot study published in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Faculty from the Departments of Theatre and Internal Medicine translated the skills of the stage to fit the doctor-patient dynamic, emphasizing the importance of both verbal and nonverbal cues. Read more and watch video clips about the first study to examine the efficacy of clinical empathy training

Alcohol-Use Disorders Linked to Costly Mechanical Ventilation in ICUs 
"Excessive alcohol consumption not only causes serious adverse events such as alcohol intoxication and accidents, but also increases the chances of developing life-threatening medical illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, infections and respiratory failure," said Marjolein de Wit, M.D., corresponding author for the study. Read more about the study that recommends clinicians screen all medical intensive-care patients for the presence of alcohol-use disorders

School News

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

Anthem Gurney Tourney Returns to the Heart of Downtown Richmond 

Costumed teams raced hospital gurneys through a creative and challenging obstacle course for the 9th annual Anthem Gurney Tourney. Getting in to the spirit of the day, staff from the Thomas Palliative Care Unit dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz. Read more about the Gurney Tourney that benefited the Hospital Hospitality House and the Pediatric Cancer fund at the Massey Cancer Center. 

Alumni News

Save the date for Reunion Weekend 2008: April 11-13, 2008 
Classes ending in '3s and '8s - mark your calendar! Reacquaint with classmates, revisit campus buildings, reunite with your medical class. Reunion Weekend promises to be a great gathering of MCV Campus friends both old and new. Again this year, the weekend will kickoff with Friday's day-long CME course designed to update you on a broad variety of topics. 

Planning for Reunion Weekend is underway! If you would like to volunteer to serve as your class representative and assist with the planning of your class event, please contact Lelia Brinegar, Director of Alumni Outreach for the School of Medicine, at

HOST Program 
Alumni in 3 states are participating in a pilot program that will Help Our Students Travel. Fourth-year students interviewing around the country for residency positions face daunting costs as well as the challenges of navigating unfamiliar cities. The HOST program matches students with alumni who are willing to provide a free place to stay as well as invaluable advice about residency training, the prospective medical center and the community in which they are interviewing. Residency interviews take place November - January, with the majority in December. An alumni HOST is only asked to provide lodging for a medical student while they interview in your area. It's not required, but we have learned from peer institutions that HOSTs sometimes provide transportation to and from interviews and airports, home-cooked meals, or guided tours of the area. For more information about the HOST program, contact Lelia Brinegar at

CME Opportunities 
The 13th Annual Sports Medicine for the Primary Care Physician Conference
November 29 - December 2
at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va.
This program is designed for primary care providers, including physicians, physician assistants, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals. There will be an intensive update of sports medicine topics of specific interest to the primary care provider in clinical practice. For additional information, visit or call (804) 828-3640. 

School of Medicine eNews is prepared by the School of Medicine's Alumni and Development Office. All alumni and friends for whom we have e-mail addresses will receive School of Medicine eNews unless they unsubscribe; you can do so by sending an e-mail to If this newsletter was forwarded to you by a colleague and you would like to subscribe to future issues, please send an e-mail to We use collected e-mail addresses only to send our own information to you; we do not rent or sell e-mail addresses to anyone.

  Egyptian Building


We're interested in your comments on this communication. Please email us your thoughts.

Update Your Contact Info and provide the Alumni and Development Office with your latest news via our online update form.


Annual Fund dollars support scholarships and student interest groups as well as milestone events in the medical school. You can give online via the MCV Foundation's secure eGiving page.

Check out the upcoming CME offerings from the medical school's Office of Continuing Physician Professional Development & Evaluation Studies.

Past issues of SOM eNews are online.

For More Information: 

MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation 

VCU is celebrating the success of its recent campaign, with more than $410 million raised! Included in that total is $114 million in gifts and pledges to the School of Medicine. Click the image below to see what an impact your support makes.