VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 3 - Number 3 – Summer 2004

We hope that you'll enjoy these quick highlights from the MCV Campus. Pleaseforward this newsletter to friends who might like to learn more about the
School of Medicine!    In this issue...

Student News

Graduation 2004 
In May, the Class of 2004 recited the Oath of Hippocrates and joined the ranks of the medical profession. For the first time in his more than 30-year tenure, Dr. Hugo Seibel, retiring Associate Dean for Student Activities, took the podium as graduation speaker. More than $220,000 has been raised toward the $250,000 needed to endow the Teaching Professorship that bears his name. Many alumni who’ve supported the professorship were on hand at Graduation to celebrate Dr. Seibel’s career. See photos from graduation and a reception for professorship donors. 

If you are interested in supporting the Professorship, please email Associate Dean for Development Tom Holland. 

Medical School faculty offer Pearls of Wisdom to graduates 
In the week leading up to graduation, eight medical school professors shared anecdotes and advice spiced with humor for an entertaining send-off for graduates. The Class of 2004 hand-picked the impressive lineup for the school’s inaugural Pearl's Day. 

Students’ generosity helps dying man 
You likely remember the empty wallet that typifies the four years of medical school. While that still holds true, our students were recently moved to great generosity when faced with the need of a dying man. Read a third-year student’s account of the effort

Research News

Landmark study to investigate blood substitute in trauma cases 
The medical center is one of 20 Level I trauma centers in the country that may study PolyHeme, an oxygen-carrying blood substitute, and its ability to increase survival in critically injured and bleeding patients. Read more about the first national clinical research project that would begin with treatment by paramedics at the injury scene. 

New drug combo could help patients with deadly blood cancer Combining the novel drug, UCN-01, with an experimental drug that blocks activation of a collection of key proteins could present a new strategy for treating an incurable blood cancer. Dr. Steven Grant, Shirley Carter and Sture Gordon Olsson Professor of Oncology, said the findings have implications for the design of new regimens targeted against multiple myeloma and related disorders. Read more about Dr. Grant’s study, published in the April 1 issue of the journal Blood. 

Researchers link gene to nicotine dependence 
People who carry a mutation of the gene known as Epac are more likely to start smoking and become addicted to nicotine than people without the mutation, according to preliminary findings from the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. “The earlier that we can identify those at risk for smoking, the earlier we can intervene to prevent young people from developing the smoking habit,” said Dr. Kenneth Kendler, the Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. Read more about Dr. Kendler’s report to the Virginia Forum on Youth Tobacco Use. 

Clinical News

Special Forces Medics hone skills at medical center 
A highly trained group of military experts are rotating through departments at the medical center, soaking up as much medical experience as possible before they deploy around the world. The medical center is one of only four institutions in the U.S. selected as a site for the medics’ training program. 

AHA chair recognizes medical center as breakthrough provider 
During the American Hospital Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., David Bernd, chairman of the AHA, praised the VCU Medical Center for its efforts in palliative care. He illustrated the unit’s exemplary service with a story of how it responded to the August wish of a 72 year-old grandmother who wanted to give Christmas presents to her grandchildren before her death. Read more from Mr. Bernd’s remarks. 

Bioterrorism training for state’s first responders 
The new Virginia Disaster Readiness Center is offering a trio of newly designed bioterrorism courses for first responders in public safety, public health and medical organizations from across the Commonwealth. Supported by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, program organizers hope to train about 3,000 people during the initial two-year roll out of the program. Read more and see photos from the bioterrorism training. 

Faculty physicians figure prominently in regional survey 
The latest "Top Docs" survey conducted by Richmond Magazine gave high marks to our faculty physicians. Of the 242 physicians listed among 49 medical specialties, 98 were from VCU in 46 specialties, with 20 doctors voted best in their field. In addition to the regional survey, the magazine also included an excerpted list from the 2004 Best Doctors in America database. Of the 100 physicians listed in 28 medical specialties, 48 are from VCU in 20 specialties. Review the complete lists. 

Alum Dr. Isaac Wood named Associate Dean for Student Activities 
Dr. Isaac Wood has been named as the successor to Dr. Hugo Seibel, who has retired from the post of Associate Dean for Student Activities. Dr. Wood, M’82, H’86, took on full responsibilities of the office on July 1. He will maintain his appointment as associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and continue to teach M2 and M3 students. 

Reception held for retired and emeriti faculty 
This spring, Dr. Wyatt Beazley III, M’61, H’66, and his wife, Mason, welcomed retired and emeriti faculty from the medical school into their beautiful Monument Avenue home. See pictures from the gathering that drew more than 60 guests. 

Dean Newsome announces retirement 

Dr. H. H. “Dickie” Newsome, Jr., has announced his plans to retire from the School of Medicine on June 30, 2005. Dean of Medicine since 2000, his career in the medical school has spanned nearly 40 years. A national search will be conducted for his successor. 

VCU to have state's only School of Public Health 
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has approved a new School of Public Health at VCU. The new school, the only School of Public Health in Virginia, will help fill a large and growing need for public health professionals. Read more about the School of Public Health, which will initially be established within the School of Medicine. 

Grant transforms geriatrics curriculum 
Through a $1.83 million award from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the medical school has expanded geriatric education for faculty, students, staff and community physicians. One aspect of the four-year grant takes all medical students on house calls and to area nursing homes. Read more about the geriatrics effort and view photos from the “Global Aging” photo contest sponsored by the Geriatrics Student Interest Group. You can also visit the team’s website,, which includes nearly 100 hours of online CME along with practical guidelines for inpatient care and a venue for expert advice. 

Alumni News

School of Medicine kicks off campaign 
The medical school has announced an $87-million campaign, the largest in its history. Guided by traditional strengths, the campaign will fuel five strategic areas vital to the school’s future. The Campaign is to be led by a trio of alums, Drs. Wyatt Beazley III, M'61, H’66, Erika Blanton, H'73, and Harry Johnson, Jr., M'53, who announced the campaign goal at an April celebration launching a university-wide $300 million campaign. Learn more about the medical school’s campaign and see photos from the April celebration. 

Receptions draw Florida alumni 
In April, the School of Medicine hosted a reception that drew two dozen alumni, parents and friends from the South Florida region. Dr. Dickie Newsome, dean of medicine, and his wife welcomed guests, who included Drs. Chris Colenda, M’77, dean of Texas A&M, and Charles McKown, M’60, dean of Marshall University, who were in town for a meeting of medical school deans. The Newsomes also hosted a dinner for alums in the Naples region. See pictures from the South Florida reception. 

Grand Alumni Celebrate more than 50 years at Reunion 2004 
Alumni who earned their medical degrees more than 50 years ago, gathered for dinner at Reunion 2004. See photos from this annual event, and mark your calendars for Reunion 2005, to be held April 22-24 for class years ending in ‘5s and ‘0s. 

A number of alumni receptions are planned for this year. Make sure that your contact info is up-to-date so that you'll receive your invitation.

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


We're interested in your comments on this communication. Pleaseemail us your thoughts.

Annual Fund dollars support student scholarships and interest groups as well as research in the medical school. Learn about how your Annual Fund gift impacts the school and find a link to online giving via the university's secure site.

You can provide the Alumni and Development Office with updates to your contact information or with your latest
news via our
online update form.

Earlier this month, the Office of Continuing Medical Education became the Office of Continuing Physician Professional Development & Evaluation Studies (CPDE). Check out upcoming offerings from CPDE's new online registration system, including conferences in pediatrics and basic disaster life support.

Mark Your Calendar: 
Third Annual Alumni Update Course
the day-long CME marathon is back Friday Nov. 12 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

For More Information:

School of Medicine
MCV Alumni Association
MCV Foundation
VCU Health System