VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 10 - Number 4 - Fall 2011

We have email addresses for less than half of our medical school's 10,000 alumni, so to help keep your classmates connected, please forward this issue of SOM eNews!

Student News

16th Annual White Coat Ceremony 
The ceremony was the culmination of a week's worth of orientation activities, including the official Class Photo, taken on one of the hottest days of the year. Check out the medical school's coverage of the ceremony that includes a photo gallery and a link to the Dean's front-row perspective. 

Future Physicians and Scientists 
A bevy of summer programs gives high school and college students the chance to explore their interest in a medical or science career. Microbiology and Immunology's Cynthia Cornelissen, Ph.D., says "from these experiences, students will be able to understand how science is really conducted and as a consequence will become better-informed members of society, regardless of their ultimate career path." Read more about the summer programs.

Research News

Spit for Science 
Psychiatry's Ken Kendler, M.D., and Danielle Dick, Ph.D., will team up with VCU undergraduates to examine how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of problems related to alcohol use and emotional health. Learn more about the project via print or video

Adding Avastin to PreOp Chemotherapy Benefits Breast Cancer Patients 
Amid the controversy surrounding the FDA ruling that Avastin should no longer be used to treat metastatic breast cancer, a new multinational Phase III clinical trial shows that Avastin significantly increased tumor response rates in breast cancer patients when given before surgery. Surgical Oncology Chair Harry D. Bear, M.D., Ph.D., presented the findings from the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project.

Clinical News

Professor Pens NEJM Essay 
Internal Medicine's Lenore Buckley, M.D., writes compellingly about the doctor-patient relationship in the Oct. 6 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. She describes the focus and intensity that come in critical moments like those shared with a 9-year-old patient diagnosed with a life-altering chronic condition. Read more about Critical Moments - Doctors and Patients.

Interns Learn to Walk-the-Walk 
When you're a newly minted doctor making the transition from student-observer to the responsibilities of a physician-in-training, there's a lot to learn. Read more about the two-day conference that teaches the medical center's newest 137 interns expectations for safety and patient-centered care.

Grassroots effort grows into $10-million Parkinson's Center 
A group of friends touched by Parkinson's sowed the seeds for a $10-million research and treatment center. Read more about its opening last month.

Alumni News

Med School Goes on the Road 
Denver-area alumni - it's not too late! Let us know if you can attend the reception at Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar on Sunday Nov. 6. Held in conjunction with the AAMC's annual meeting, faculty and staff will be on hand with the latest news from the MCV Campus. If you don't live in Denver but will attend the AAMC meeting, let Jodi Smith, director of alumni engagement, know you'll be in town. 

Go online to give us your latest contact information to be sure that you'll get an invitation to future events in your area. 

Housestaff Alumnus Dr. Tachi Yamada Named Alumni Star 
On the day when Tadataka "Tachi" Yamada, M.D., H'74, was recognized as an Alumni Star for his remarkable contributions to the field of medicine, he also spent time on the MCV Campus connecting with current students and discussing his passion for global health. Read more about the past president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program who is now executive vice president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. 

Dr. Baruj Benacerraf, Alumnus and Nobel Prize Winner, Dies 
The Class of 1945's Baruj Benacerraf has died. A recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine, he is remembered with affection and respect at his alma mater, where one of its four medical societies carries his name. Read the New York Times obituary that references his acceptance at MCV.

Alumni in the News 
Did you know that the Class of 1974's Edith Mitchell has been named the 2011 Practitioner of the Year from the Philadelphia County Medical Society? The Class of 1999's John Zakaib had his view of practicing medicine radically altered when he found himself in the role of patient? The Class of 2000's Terry Fairbanks was interviewed by the Washington Post about hospitals' efforts to improve patient safety?

Learn what your classmates have been up to since graduation without waiting for the latest issue of Scarab to arrive. Read more Class Notes, now available online. Or submit your update now. 

Reunion Weekend 2012 :: April 20-22, 2012 
Mark your calendar if your graduation year ends in a 2 or a 7! As part of the weekend's festivities, Alumni Awards will be presented to graduates with distinguished contributions to their field and to the school. 

Charitable IRA Rollovers 
A limited-time provision for charitable contributions from Individual Retirement Accounts could give you an opportunity to help the medical school. If you are 70 ½ or older, you can make tax-free gifts of up to $100,000 directly from your IRA to the MCV Foundation until the end of 2011. You can get more information about your options from Tom Holland, Associate Dean for Development at (800) 332-8813, (804) 828-3800 or

VCU, VMFA and 13 Charities to Receive $125 Million Bequest 
In the 1950s, the Glasgow Family made provisions for what would become the largest gift in the university's history. Read more about the bequest, approximately $45 million of which will support the cure and prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases. 

Rao Inauguration 
Michael Rao, Ph.D., has been inaugurated as VCU's fifth president. To mark the milestone, two weeks of activities drew attention to the university's missions. Rao was on hand for a health screening led by the Medical Student Government and for the Watts Research Symposium where he spoke with graduate students.

Faculty in the News 
Did you know CNN talked to Microbiology's Francine Marciano-Cabral, Ph.D., about brain-eating amoebas? Internal Medicine's Ian Nixon, M.D., has been honored by the American Heart Association? A cancer education video produced by Alton Hart, M.D., M.P.H., brought home a Telly Award?

CME Opportunities 
For additional information and to register for the courses below, or call (804) 828-3640 or (800) 413-2872..

17th Annual VCU Sports Medicine Update in Primary Care Conference
December 2-4, 2011
Williamsburg, VA 

An intensive update of sports medicine topics that will be of specific interest to physicians in primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, sports medicine, physician assistants, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals. Hands on workshops in physical examination skills and joint injections are a signature feature of this event. 

16th Annual Virginia Liver Symposium and Update in Gastroenterology Conference
March 24, 2011

The program is designed for physicians and mid-level medical providers who treat patients with liver and gastrointestinal disorders. 

10th Annual Alumni Update Course 
April 21, 2012 
MCV Campus

The one-day program will cover the latest in a broad range of fields. The course coincides with Reunion Weekend, but is open to all alumni. Earn up to 6.75 credit hours, covering topics as diverse as psychiatry, pediatrics and heart health. Registration information will be available in the fall.

40th Annual Hans Berger Symposium
May 21-22, 2012
MCV Campus

Annual commemoration of the birthday of Hans Berger, inventor of the electroencephalograph. The symposium will discuss the application of electrodiagnostic testing in the clinical management of patients with epilepsy and related disorders. 

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Construction Progress
Construction on the new medical education building is on schedule, with steel work expected to be complete in mid-November. Read about and watch progress via
time lapse photography and areal-time video feed.

Mark your calendars for futureReunion Weekends 
April 20-22, 2012
For Class years 
ending in a 2 or 7

April 26-28, 2013
For Class Years 
ending in a 3 or 8 

Annual Fund dollars now go 
100% to support of scholarships! You can give online at the
school's eGiving page

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

Past issues of SOM
eNews are online.

For More Information: 

School of Medicine 
MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation 
VCU Medical Center