VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 4 - Number 3 - Summer 2005

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!

The School of Medicine's 23rd Dean has been named with the appointment of Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., whose term will begin on Sept. 15. VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. says that "Dr. Strauss' strengths in medical education research and research training rose to the top in a highly competitive field of candidates from across the country." Read more about Dr. Strauss, who will succeed Medicine Dean Heber H. "Dickie" Newsome Jr., M.D., who served the school in many capacities over a 40-year career. Read more about Dr. Newsome's accomplishments

THANKS for your generous support of the Annual Fund! 
Loyal alumni and friends made this a banner year for the School of Medicine, with more than $290,000 raised for the Annual Fund in the past 12 months. On behalf of the students and faculty, our thanks go to all those who made a gift. The scholarships, student groups, and research opportunities made possible by your support will have a direct impact on our students' experience. For your commitment to helping the medical school thrive, we are truly thankful. 

Student News

Graduation This spring, 165 graduates received their medical degrees and 26 their Ph.D. degrees from the School of Medicine. The M.D. graduates received a memorable send-off from graduation speaker and alum Thomas Krummel, M.D., who completed both a surgical residency and research fellowship here before joining the Surgery faculty in 1985. A pioneer in the application of information technology to enhance the quality and safety of surgical education, Dr. Krummel is now Stanford University's Emile Holman Professor and Chairman of Surgery and the first Susan B. Ford Surgeon-in-Chief at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. 

Research News

Campaign Underway to Endow Professorship in Urology
In May, the campaign to endow a Professorship in Urology was kicked off with a reception at the home of former Urology Chairman Dr. Warren Koontz and his wife Win. With the goal of improving and expanding the current research program, the Professorship will be used to recruit a research scientist with a track record of exceptional accomplishments. Toward this goal, Dr. and Mrs. Koontz have pledged a leadership gift of $50,000 that has been matched dollar-for-dollar by the Department of Surgery. See pictures from the reception at the Koontz home. If you are interested in making a gift to the Professorship, please contact Tom Holland at or (800) 332-8813. 

Low-dose oral contraceptives may increase heart attack risk 
A study published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that the overall estimated risk of cardiovascular events among low-dose oral contraceptive users was doubled compared to non-users. John Nestler, M.D., H'83, professor and chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, says that the findings could have further significance for women who already are at increased risk for such events because of polycystic ovary syndrome or metabolic disorder. Read more about Dr. Nestler's findings

First in state to implant medical device to treat hypertension 
As part of a Phase II clinical research program being conducted at a limited number of U.S. medical centers, a patient at the VCU Medical Center received a device that is the first of its kind to treat resistant hypertension. The surgery was the first in the state, and only the second in the country. Read more about the device that is being implanted in patients with high blood pressure that is inadequately controlled with multiple medications. 

Clinical News

Call for better infection-control standards 
Clinics and other outpatient facilities should employ the same strict infection-control standards as hospitals to prevent patient-to-patient transmission of Hepatitis C outbreaks like one that occurred at a freestanding clinic in Nebraska, according to infectious disease expert Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., chair of Internal Medicine. Read more about the recommendations Dr. Wenzel laid out in an editorial in the June 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

Pediatric hem/onc patients mark high school graduations 
"This experience has made my family and me look at the world totally different and taught us to live life each day to its fullest," said cancer survivor Aubrey Cox, a graduating senior who will be majoring in radiation therapy this fall at VCU. Aubrey was one of 14 patients from the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic who are finishing high school this year. Read more about the students who shared their personal stories and experiences at an annual graduation ceremony on campus. 

Faculty News

Honoring longtime Biostatistics Chair 
To mark the retirement of Hans Carter, Ph.D., alumni from the Biostatistics Department have endowed a Professorship that will bear his name. Led by alums Karl Peace, Ph.D.'76, and Chris Gennings, Ph.D.'86, the endowment was built without Dr. Carter's knowledge until it totaled more than $300,000 in gifts and pledges. See pictures from Dr. Carter's retirement party at Richmond's Jefferson Hotel last month, where he was finally let in on the secret. If you are interested in making a gift to the Carter Professorship, please contact Tom Holland at or (800) 332-8813. 

National medical award for innovative cardiologist 
Robert Jesse, Ph.D.'81, M'84, was honored with the Richard A. Kern award from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States for his work in sparking a national transformation of systems for managing cardiac emergencies. Read more about the contributions of Dr. Jesse, who serves as the national program director for cardiology for the Veterans Health Administration and as director of the Acute Cardiac Care Program at the VCU Medical Center. 

School News

Firm Foundations 
For a decade, the Foundations of Clinical Medicine program has placed first- and second-year medical students on the front lines of healthcare - working in concert with community physicians and their patients. The program celebrated the anniversary in May, honoring more than 200 physicians who have served in the program - about half of whom are medical school alums. The evening also honored more than 50 physicians who completed the Reynolds Geriatrics Scholars Program, earning at least 30 hours of CME. See pictures and read more about the programs

Event celebrates gifts to the Campaign for the School of Medicine 
On May 19, Dr. Erika, H'73, and Mr. Eldridge Blanton welcomed to their Richmond home those who've supported the ongoing Campaign for the School of Medicine. About 130 alumni and friends enjoyed the garden party and heard about the success of the Campaign that is currently $68.7 million toward its $87-million goal. On schedule for completion in July 2007, the Campaign will fuel the School's traditional strengths with gifts geared toward medical research, chairs, teaching professorships, and importantly, scholarships for medical and graduate students. See pictures from the Campaign celebration

Multicultural enrichment in the medical school recognized 
Of the four university members recently recognized for their significant contributions toward enhancing VCU's commitment to diversity, two were from the School of Medicine. Read more about Wally R. Smith, M.D., a physician on a mission to improve health care for the poor and minority populations who are traditionally underserved, and Agnes L. Mack, a driving force to increase minority enrollment at the School of Medicine. 

Alumni News

Medicine Alum supports school through Charitable Gift Annuity 
When Fred Rahal, M'59, investigated the benefits of Charitable Gift Annuities, he found an opportunity to generate an annual retirement income while, at the same time, building an endowment for the Department of Pediatrics, where he had completed his housestaff training in 1962. With a Charitable Gift Annuity, a donor can make a gift of cash or property to the MCV Foundation, and the Foundation will provide the donor with a guaranteed income for life. Learn more about how Dr. Rahal's Charitable Gift Annuity works for him. 

Reunion 2005 
More than 230 School of Medicine alumni returned to Richmond for Reunion Weekend 2005. From Friday night's all classes cocktail reception to individual class events on Saturday evening, alums enjoyed catching up with old friends and seeing changes on the MCV campus. See pictures from Saturday night's Grand Alumni Dinner honoring alumni from the Class of 1954 and earlier. 

Receptions honor alumni from the Carolinas 
In May and June, the MCV Foundation welcomed more than 40 guests to receptions in Durham, Wilmington and Charleston. See pictures from the Carolina receptions

Make sure that your contact info is up-to-date so that you'll receive invitations to upcoming School of Medicine alumni receptions. 

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