VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 11 - Number 4 - Fall 2012

We have email addresses for fewer than half of our medical school's 16,000 alumni, so to help keep your classmates connected, please forward this issue of SOM eNews!

Student News

17th Annual White Coat Ceremony 
From Alaska to Florida, 202 students made their way to the Egyptian Building for this year’s Roll Call. The students represent 28 states – which is the widest representation in recent memory – perhaps ever? Go to our Class of 2016 portal for pictures from the White Coat Ceremony as well as story coverage of the event and other Orientation Week activities.

National recognition for family medicine student group
For the seventh time in nine years, the Student Family Medicine Association was recognized for its efforts in stimulating interest in family medicine. In a field described as the largest and most competitive yet, the student interest group won a Program of Excellence Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Research News

Two teams reached the 'Final Four' at Southeast BIO Investor Forum
Two medical technologies are among four finalists that have won an audience with venture capital investors and industry representatives. At the forum early next month, Physiology's David Simpson and Biomedical Engineering's Gary Bowlin will present an optimized surgical mesh for hernia repair, and Internal Medicine's Todd Gehr and Lynne Gehr and the pharmacy school's Don Farthing will present a hand-held device for testing cardiac ischemia. 

Pair of studies investigates tick-transmitted disease
Microbiology’s Jason Carlyon published new findings uncovering a molecular basis of infection that could point researchers to the development of a single vaccine to protect against members of an entire family of bacteria. Meanwhile, Internal Medicine’s Susan Wolver is alerting primary care physicians to a new meat allergy that develops after Lone Star Tick bites. She highlighted case studies in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

$2.5M grant evaluates best practices for employing youths with autism
The five-year grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research will expand a trial that saw all participating students hired by a local hospital. The new grant will expand the research to two additional community hospitals. 

Clinical News

NEJM study recommends preventive antibiotic for COPD sufferers 
A three-times-a-week dose of an antibiotic could eliminate one-third of severe exacerbations each year among patients with COPD. The Internal Medicine team of Richard P. Wenzel, Alpha A. Fowler III and Michael B. Edmond published their recommendations in the New England Journal of Medicine.

VCU Medical Center Chosen for National Program to Test House Calls 
Did you go on a house call with Peter Boling while you were a student? His house calls program has provided in-home primary care for more than 5,000 home-bound patients over the past 25 years. It's now the basis for a project that will test the concept on a national scale.

Program aims to reduce blood transfusions
Published data shows that reducing the number of transfusions performed for certain patient populations is not only safe, but can actually improve outcomes. A program at the VCU Medical Center educates medical professionals about transfusion guidelines and blood conservation techniques. It has resulted in a dramatic drop in transfusion rates in total joint replacement surgeries. 

Alumni News

Reunion Date change!
Class years ending in a 3 or 8 should mark their calendars for April 19-21, 2013. 

Attention San Francisco Alumni!
It's not too late! Let us know if you can attend the reception at Restaurant LuLu on Sunday Nov. 4. 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 San Francisco but will attend the AAMC meeting, let Joy Sanders 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. 

Rams on the road 
Attention basketball fans! As part of VCU's inaugural year in the Atlantic-10 Conference, the VCU and MCV Alumni Associations will hit the road with the Rams. They'll host pregame receptions in nine cities from Philadelphia to St. Louis. Check out the schedule for the VCU men's basketball away games to see if they're coming to your city. 

Alumni in the news 
Did you know … the Class of 2003's Kate Powis has translated skills learned in her first career as a Circuit City VP to her current work to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa. Housestaff alumnus Jim Miller traveled to London to serve as a physician to the Olympic swimmers and divers. 

Faculty in the news
Did you know … Physiology and Biophysics' Louis J. De Felice has appeared on national media outlets including PBS and ABC World News speaking about MCV Campus research on bath salts – a designer street drug with a misleading name. Obstetrics and Gynecology’s PonJola Coney has been elected as the medical school’s fifth faculty member to serve in the Institute of Medicine. Social and Behavioral Health’s Laura A. Siminoff spoke with National Public Radio's All Things Considered for the program's four-part series on human tissue donation.

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

18th Annual VCU Sports Medicine Update in Primary Care Conference 
November 30 – December 2, 2012 
Williamsburg, Virginia 

The program provides an intensive update of sports medicine topics of specific interest to physicians and DOs in primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, sports medicine, osteopathic medicine, physician assistants, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals. 

Richmond CME for Docs 
4th Wednesday of each month, 6 - 8 p.m.
Bon Secours Heart Institute, 7001 Forest Avenue, Richmond 

A collaboration between Bon Secours Medical Group and the VCU Office of Continuing Medical Education has resulted in a relevant, evidence-based CME series. The monthly lectures are aimed at helping physicians to improve and enjoy the practice of medicine. Offered at no charge to participants, the lectures are open to physicians and physician extenders.

11th Annual Alumni Update Course
April 20, 2011
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. Mark your calendar now, topics will be announced later this fall.

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


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Construction Progress 
Read about and watch progress
on the new medical education building via time lapse photography and a real-time video feed.

Mark your calendars for future

2013 Reunion Weekend
date change!

April 19-21, 2013
For class years 
ending in a 3 or 8. 

2014 Reunion Weekend
April 11-13, 2014
For class years 
ending in a 4 or 9. 

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.

Check out the fall 2013 issue of the medical school’s Dean’s Discovery Report.

Past issues of SOM
eNews are online.

For More Information: 

School of Medicine 
MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation 
VCU Medical Center