VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 12 - Number 4 - Fall 2013

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

Welcome to the Class of 2017
At the annual White Coat Ceremony, the medical school welcomed its largest class ever. Its 210 incoming students hail from 28 states and Canada, representing 94 undergraduate colleges and universities. See pictures from the White Coat Ceremony and read Dean Jerry Strauss’ message to the class, whose matriculation marks the 175th anniversary of our school’s founding, and who will be the first to complete their four-year M.D. program in the innovative McGlothlin Medical Education Center.

Returning students benefit from summer experiences
Students returned to campus talking about how they’d put the summer months to use. Three MD students participated in the World Health Organization internship program in Switzerland. Seven graduate students spent two weeks exploring clinical and translational research with PhD scientists at the NIH. A graduating student and an incoming student teamed up to send more than$500,000 in medical supplies to Bangladeshi hospitals. An MD-PhD student was first author on a paper published in the Aug. 13 edition of the AAAS journal Science Signaling. HOMBRE’s annual trip has expanded to help more Hondurans.

Daniel T. Watts Research Poster Symposium celebrates 30th year 
“It’s helpful when people provide feedback. At the Watts Symposium, people can ask questions, and I get ideas from other researchers in attendance from other labs on campus,” said Lauren Folgosa, a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “The symposium also gives me practice in public speaking.” Read more about the 30th annual Daniel T. Watts Research Poster Symposium where dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars presented their research earlier this month.

Research News

External support of research in the School of Medicine
Despite economic pressures on external research funding, VCU's research awards in fiscal year 2013 topped $248 million, with the medical school representing more than half of that total. Fiscal year 2014 started on an impressive note with a $62-million grant to study mild traumatic brain injury, an $18.1 million federal grant to study electronic cigarettes and other modified risk tobacco products, a $7.4 million federal grant to study how microorganisms found in the vagina influence health and disease in women and their babies and a $3.2 million grant to study whether high doses of vitamin C can effectively treat septic lung injury resulting from infection.

An eye on prevention 
For the past decade, researchers in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health have been leading a national effort to promote preventive services and healthier behaviors. Researchers have described a framework for collaboration between primary care clinicians and the community in a paper published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In addition, a new NIH grant will allow researchers to team up with 46 physician practices in eight states to determine if a high-functioning, interactive personal health record can increase the use of preventive services. 

Clinical News

Top ranking: worth repeating
For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named the VCU Medical Center as a #1 hospital in Virginia. The medical center also saw two specialty areas rank in the top 50 this year, Nephrology at 41 and Orthopedics in the No. 39 spot. Read more about the rankings that recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

Tompkins-McCaw Library offers website for primary care providers 
A free online resource of vital health care information is available to public health care professionals and community health center practitioners. Read more about the new website that provides the most up-to-date information for health care practitioners in medically underserved areas. 

Alumni News

Attention Philadelphia Alumni!
It's not too late to RSVP for an alumni reception on Sunday Nov. 3 in Philadelphia. The event is held in conjunction with the AAMC's annual meeting, so Dean Jerry Strauss and other faculty will be on hand to share the latest news from the MCV Campus with you. If you live in the Philly area or if you’ll be in town for the AAMC meeting, let Amy Lane know you’d like to attend. We’d love to have you join us. 

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

Alumni in the News
The Class of 1992's Sterling Ransone will be inaugurated as the new president of the Medical Society of Virginia on Oct. 26. The Roanoke Times featured the Class of 1977's Wayne Horney and the eye-catching trophies that line his office walls. A pair of retirements made the news: The Class of 1972's Tom Ryan and the Class of 1974’s Kenneth Jones.

The surgeon as sculptor
Plastic surgery residents recently benefited from our proximity to VCU's nationally ranked School of the Arts. They took part in a sculpture workshop designed to encourage them to think creatively, foster an appreciation of subtle anatomic details and apply their knowledge in a different way. Read more about the sculpture workshop and flip through a photo gallery

Faculty in the News
Congratulations to Internal Medicine’s Curt Sessler, M.D., who is president-designate of the American College of Chest Physicians. GI’s Alvin Zfass, M.D., is marking 50 years on the MCV Campus. Cardiology’s Ian Nixon, M.D., was inducted into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame this summer.

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

19th Annual VCU Sports Medicine Update in Primary Care Conference 
December 6-8, 2013 
Kingsmill Resort and Spa in Williamsburg, VA 

An intensive update of sports medicine topics will be of specific interest to physicians, physician assistants, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals in primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, sports medicine and osteopathic medicine. 

12th Annual Alumni Update Course
April 12, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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Mark your calendars for

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

Reunion Weekend 2015
April 17-19, 2015
For class years 
ending in a '5 or '0. 

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

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: 

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