VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 6 - Number 2 - Spring 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!

Reunion Weekend is right around the corner, but it's not too late to sign up! More than 1000 alumni and friends will be in town April 27 – 29. If you graduated in a year ending in '7 or '2, and haven't registered yet, please call the Alumni Association at (800) 628-7799 or (804) 828-3900 or email

Student News

Fourth-Year Students Placed From Coast to Coast 
On March 15, the fourth-year medical students celebrated the tradition of National Match Day. Of the 157 students who participated:

  • 68 students matched into primary care;
  • 8 received positions in the early Match including 3 in urology, 2 in neurosurgery and 3 in ophthalmology;
  • in programs that have proven to be extremely competitive: 2 students matched in orthopedic surgery, 3 in plastic surgery, 3 in dermatology, and 3 in otolaryngology;
  • 7 students matched in the military.

See pictures from Match Day and a list of students and their destinations

Fallen but Not Forgotten 
Ben Orr was to have been a member of the Class of 2009. When cancer took his life before he could enter medical school, his would-be classmates decided to honor his life by establishing a scholarship in his name. To be awarded this spring at Honors Day, the scholarship will ensure that "our fallen, but not forgotten classmate will have his name called amongst his peers." Read more about the scholarship in Ben Orr's name

Series Expands Students' Understanding 
Tackling issues not normally covered in most medical schools' curriculum, two student groups teamed up to create a six-week series focusing on Cultural Competency and Health Disparities. Supported by the Annual Fund, the series introduced students to issues they might encounter in treating Latino or Muslim patients, or those from other minorities. Read more about the student-organized series

Connecting with the Community 
The high school's marching band was the backdrop for the inaugural Young Women's Health Day at Richmond's Huguenot High School. Read more about how the Women in Medicine Student Interest Organization created a day that demystified science and health care. 

Hunton Student Center Grand Reopening 
One of the most modern facilities of its kind, in one of the most historic places of its kind. A $6 million renovation project turned the 166-year-old former Baptist church into a refurbished, three-story center that serves as the first student commons for the MCV Campus. The project includes a permanent exhibition of six large panels chronicling the rich heritage of the MCV Campus. Read more and watch video from the opening of the Hunton Student Center

Research News

Researchers Work toward Creating a Tailored Breast Cancer Vaccine 
"By understanding the molecular mechanisms involved with tumor relapse, we can create tailored vaccines that can induce specific types of immune responses in patients, rather than inducing a broad range of immune responses - some of which may be detrimental or may induce tumor relapse," said the lead investigator. Read more about the effort that identified interferon gamma as one of the signaling proteins involved with tumor relapse

Erectile Dysfunction Drugs May Trump Nitroglycerine in Heart Protection 
After a heart attack, most patients require treatment to reduce and repair damage and improve their chances of survival. But except for early reperfusion, there are no truly effective clinical therapies. New findings in animal studies, however, indicate "erectile dysfunction drugs can prevent damage in the heart not only when given before a heart attack, as we discovered previously, but also lessen the injury after the heart attack," said the lead author. Read more about the study that compared nitroglycerin with Viagra and Levitra

Physician Scientist is among Three Recognized by Gov. Kaine 
Gov. Timothy Kaine has named Steven Grant, M.D., associate director for translational research at the Massey Cancer Center, as one of the state's Outstanding Scientists of 2007. Read more about Dr. Grant's research in developing new strategies to combat leukemia and other hematologic malignancies. 

Clinical News

Topping Out Marks Milestone in Critical Care Hospital Construction 
The Critical Care Hospital officially became part of the Richmond skyline with the topping out of the final steel beam, completing the structural frame of the $192 million building now under construction. Read more and watch video from the topping out ceremony

Planning for New Children's Hospital Halted 
The Children's Hospital of Richmond and the VCU Health System have determined that the cost to construct and equip a full-service children's hospital in Richmond - even with the significant commitment of resources from both partners - is not affordable. Since November 2005, the organizations have studied the feasibility of building, equipping and operating such a facility. In a letter to the VCU Health System, CEO Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin wrote that construction costs, especially for hospitals, have skyrocketed in a short period of time, and the financial forecasts for costs three years from now when construction would begin are beyond the reach of the two institutions. While the VCU Health System regrets the reality of this situation, it is moving forward with faculty recruitment and new facilities with the goal of developing the best pediatric specialty care services in Central Virginia. 

Health System Named a Top Company by NAFE 
The National Association for Female Executives has named the VCU Health System as among its five top non-profits changing the face of executive suites and boardrooms. Read more about this vanguard award

School News

Registration is open on the below courses. You can find out more and register online at or you can contact the medical school at (804) 828-3640. 

Alumni Update Course 
April 27, Richmond
Reunion Weekend will kick off on Friday with a day-long CME course. Offering up to 6.75 credit hours, the course will feature stellar faculty covering a range of topics from Parkinson's disease and drug-resistant infections to prostate cancer. The course is open to all alumni, even those not celebrating a Reunion year. You can review the day's schedule online

Pediatrics at the Beach 
July 20-22, Hilton Oceanfront Hotel in Virginia Beach. 
The 29th Annual Pediatric Primary Care Conference features three half-day sessions that include topics in Emergency Medicine, Primary Care and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 

35th Annual Hans Berger Symposium 
May 21-22, MCV Campus 
Distinguished faculty from epilepsy centers and neurophysiology laboratories across the country will share practical information in applying state-of-the-art electrodiagnostic testing in the clinical management of patients with epilepsy and related disorders. 

MCV Society Members 
Those who have included any MCV Campus school in their will or estate plans are invited to attend a dinner party and dance at Veritas Winery on Thursday May 10. If you have not yet let us know that you've indicated the medical school in your estate plans, now is the time to do so! Please contact Tom Holland, Associate Dean for Development at (800) 332-8813, (804) 828-3800 or

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

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 including conferences in Pediatrics, Neurophysiology, and Systems Biology.

Past issues of SOM eNews are online.

For More Information: 

MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation