VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 6 - Number 1 - Winter 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

Proving His Doubters Wrong, Day by Day 
The AAMC has featured second-year student Olakunle Idowu in its new campaign to increase diversity in medicine. You can read about Kunle's inspiring story at the AAMC's Web site. 

Fulbright Scholars to Study in Jordan 
Fourth-year student Sohaib Mohiuddin and his wife Sana Malik departed in December for a nine-month stay in Jordan. Remarkably, both Mohuiddin and Malik were selected for prestigious Fulbright Scholarships. Mohiuddin will concentrate his research on the prevalence, presentations and risk factors of Alzheimer's in the Jordanian population. Read more about the couple's experience. 

A Week in the Life 
Have you wondered what it's like to go to medical school in 2007? Get a glimpse into the busy schedule of second-year medical student Kevin Lee. Like many of our students, Kevin's experience has been shaped in part by the generosity of alumni and friends whose gifts of time and talents support courses like Foundations of Clinical Medicine as well as the Annual Fund and student scholarships. 

Research News

Relief from Moderate-to-Severe PMS 
"Our study is the first to evaluate the use of low-dose antidepressant medication for women who have moderate-to-severe PMS, and the first placebo-controlled study to include the novel dosing strategy of 'symptom-onset dosing,'" said lead author Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology. Read more about who may benefit from treatment with low doses of anti-depressant medication

Novel Mechanism of Action of a Potential New MS Drug 
Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., professor and chair in the Department of Biochemistry, reports that the immunosuppressant drug FTY720, or Fingolimod, inhibits the activity of a key enzyme called cPLA2. This unique action can shut down the entire inflammatory pathway, possibly without the side-effects caused by medications such as Vioxx. Read more about the article that was pre-published as a First Edition Paper in Blood

Association Between Neuroticism and Depression Risk may be Genetic 
Using twin modeling, researchers have determined that a substantial proportion of the genetic vulnerability to depression is shared with neuroticism. "The personality trait of neuroticism - perhaps better understood as "negative emotionality" -- is a strong risk factor of major depression," said lead author Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics. Read more about the study that was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Clinical News

Antibiotics Prescribed Unnecessarily for Acute Bronchitis 
For years, physicians have prescribed antibiotics for the treatment of acute bronchitis. But a review of research studies and clinical trials has concluded there is no evidence in current literature to support prescribing antibiotics for the treatment of short-term bronchitis, because almost all the causes of such infections are viral and they don't respond to the therapy. Read more about the review published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Medical Teams Are Key to Patient Safety 
A New England Journal of Medicine editorial proposes that medical teams - not individuals - are vital to the prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infections, as well as for the overall health and safety of patients. The editorial accompanies a study that "is the most important paper published in infection control in the last decade," according to Michael B. Edmond, M.D., acting chair in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Read more about the editorial co-authored by Dr. Edmond and Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., professor and chair in the Department of Internal Medicine and president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. 

Nation-Wide Campaign for Pulmonary-Hypertension 
It can attack at any time, targeting any age, ethnicity or gender. And it is difficult to diagnose. Wally Smith, M.D., co-director of the Adult Sickle Cell Program, and Paul Fairman, M.D., director of the lung transplant program, are part of a nationwide campaign to create public awareness about pulmonary hypertension. Read more about pulmonary hypertension, which is often associated with sickle cell disease. 

School News

Medical Society of Virginia Salutes MCV Alum and Current Student 
For their commitment to community service, Clarence "Clancy" A. Holland, M'62, and second-year student David C. Buxton recently were honored during the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation's fifth annual Presidents' Gala at Kingsmill in Williamsburg. Read more about their outstanding efforts

Ronaoke and Lynchburg pics 
Dean of Medicine Jerry Strauss recently hosted receptions for alumni of the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas. Take a look at photos from the Roanoke and Lynchburg events. 

If you're from San Francisco, go online to give us your latest contact information so that we can send you invitations for an upcoming alumni gathering in February. 

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. 

  • Reunion Weekend will kick off with a day-long CME course on Friday. 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. Additional information and registration will be available online later this winter. Plan to start Reunion Weekend a day early, or even make a special trip to Richmond - the course is open to all alumni, even those not celebrating a Reunion year. 

    Pediatrics at the Beach 
    The 29th Annual Pediatric Primary Care Conference will take place July 20-22 at the Hilton Oceanfront Hotel in Virginia Beach. Three half-day sessions include topics in Emergency Medicine, Primary Care and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. This CME course is designed for physicians and other health-care professionals who deliver primary care to children and adolescents. For registration information please contact Natasha Williams at (804) 828-3640. A brochure and online registration will be available February 1 at

    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 mailto:tehollan@vcu.ed

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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, Hepatology and Gastroenterology.

Past issues of SOM eNews are online.

For More Information: 

MCV Alumni Association 
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