VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 8 - Number 3 - Summer 2009

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 your SOM eNews! 

Student News

Take Offs 2009 
For one night only, the Class of 2009 commandeered Richmond's Byrd Theater for an evening of gross exaggerations, over-simplifications and stereotypes. There's really nothing like seeing your classmates projected larger than life on the screen at one of Richmond's cultural icons. Read more about Take Offs 2009 that featured cameos by Janet Mundie, Chris Woleben, M'97, and Brian Kaplan, M.D. 

More Graduation Coverage 
See pics from the medical school's convocation ceremony, read about graduation speaker Enrique Gerszten, M.D., or learn about the Davis family's 128-year and five-generation connection to the medical school

Sholley Trolley Departs 
The members of the Class of 2009 aren't the only ones leaving campus. This spring, Milton Sholley, Ph.D., announced his retirement after 33 years in the medical school. Read the Dean's Blog for a look at how the students surprised Dr. Sholley with a farewell celebration

Docs 2010 
"One day in the not-so-distant future we will be leaders in our community. Why not start now?" That was the question that spurred the Class of 2012 to hold its first Day of Community Service. Read more about DOCS 2012's impact at five project sites around the Richmond area. 

ATTENTION ALUMNI: if you would like to participate in future Richmond-area community service projects like this one, send an email to

Research News

Molecular Medicine Research Building Opens 
The dedication of the $71.5 million Molecular Medicine Research Building signaled the completion of a major phase of the modernization of the MCV Campus. Read more about the eight-story, 125,000-square-foot research facility

GI Division Research is Most Cited among Papers by U.S. Universities 
The ranking by is based on the average number of citations per research paper published in indexed gastroenterology and hepatology journals. The 132 gastroenterology and hepatology-related papers published by medical school faculty between 2003 and 2007 received an average of 17.31 citations each, placing them as No. 1 among federally funded U.S. universities. Read more about the ranking

Clinical News

A Misdirected Shot of Adrenalin 
New findings from an international team of researchers in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggest the incidence of unintentional injection with epinephrine auto-injectors is on the rise. While the consequences of receiving the unintentional injection is not usually too severe, "the bigger risk may well be the ‘lost dose,' the fact that the epinephrine is no longer available to administer properly to the person urgently needing it," said Emergency Medicine's Edward J. Read Jr., M.D., who led the VCU portion of the study. Read the abstract or a news release about the findings. 

New Liquid Treatment for Brain Aneurysms 
The medical center is among the first in the country to treat a patient using an FDA-approved liquid embolic system for treating wide-necked brain aneurysms. The new approach uses a minimally invasive endovascular procedure to treat the aneurysm from within the blood vessel. Read more about the liquid system used by John Reavey-Cantwell, M.D., an endovascular neurosurgeon and the holder of the Reynolds Chair in the Department of Neurosurgery.

Alumni News

Four Medicine Alums Honored at Reunion 2009 
The Class of 1984 had extra reason to celebrate at Reunion Weekend 2009, with two of its members honored for their accomplishments and contributions: the Medical Division recognized James H. Meador-Woodruff with its Outstanding Alumnus Award and Michele A. Romano with the Caravati Service Award. In addition, two medicine alums were selected for the MCV Alumni Association's campus-wide awards: the Hodges-Kay Service Award went to George Burke, M'70, and the MCV Outstanding Alumnus Award recognized Harry Bear, who earned his medical degree in 1975 and his PhD in 1978. Read more about their achievements by clicking on their names.

See pictures from Reunion 2009

Holland Lecture Gets Its Start 
Against a backdrop of Washington D.C. debates on health-care coverage, the inaugural Clarence Holland Lecture challenged medical faculty and students to speak up. The lectureship was established by an anonymous benefactor to recognize the contributions that Clarence A. Holland, M'62, has made to the well-being of Virginians and to the ethics of health care. Read more about the talk by Larry A. Green, M.D., professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado, titled "What's the Right Thing for Doctors to Do, Once They Know?" 

New Chairs for Three Departments 
Leah Bush, M.D., of the Class of 1984 and Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, has been appointed chair of the Department of Legal Medicine. James P. Bennett Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed chair of the Department of Neurology and founding director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Multidisciplinary Research and Clinical Center. Bruce K. Rubin, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics. 

Celebrating Faculty Philanthropy 
In the last three years, more than 190 faculty have given in excess of $650,000 in philanthropic gifts to the medical center. To thank them for their generosity, Dean Strauss hosted a celebration in March that drew more than 80 faculty members and their guests. See pictures from the faculty reception.

The Day Dr. Bill Dewey Answered Tom Selleck's Phone Call 
Pharmacology and Toxicology's Bill Dewey, Ph.D., has offered counsel to government officials, policy makers and scientific leaders. Now he's providing his expert perspective to the entertainment industry. Read more about his input into an upcoming installment in the TV movie series that features Tom Selleck as small-town Police Chief Jesse Stone. 

Increase Your Income in Troubled Times 
A minimum gift of $25,000 is all that it takes to establish a gift annuity that can support the medical school's future. It's a simple contract between you and the MCV Foundation that – unlike a trust – requires no involvement by attorneys or financial institutions. The MCV Foundation manages the annuity and you benefit by:

  • realizing increased disposable income, particularly compared against our current economy's fallen interest rates and reduced corporate dividends.
  • receiving an income tax charitable deduction that may be used for as many as six tax years.
  • avoiding capital gains taxes associated with giving appreciated assets, such as securities.
  • avoiding estate and gift taxes.

You and up to one additional beneficiary will receive a guaranteed quarterly income for your lifetime(s). The payment never changes, and part of the income is tax-free. At your death, the principle of the annuity goes to create a gift fund at the MCV Foundation in support of a purpose you designate. For a calculation of what your annual payment would be, contact Tom Holland at, (800) 332-8813 or (804) 828-3800. 

8th Annual Alumni Update Course 
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 for the weekend of April 23-25, 2010; an exact date and more information will be available this fall. 

Rao is New University President
Michael Rao, Ph.D., is VCU's fifth president. He comes to VCU with the experience of three successful presidencies at universities of increasing size and complexity. Review his bio online

$500 Surgical Table
Three students from VCU's Monroe Park Campus have designed an affordable $500 operating table for developing countries. The project was completed as part of VCU's da Vinci Center for Innovation in Product Design and Development, a program that brings together students from the schools of Engineering, Business and the Arts. Read about the operating table in the Richmond Times-Dispatch or review the team's PDF presentation

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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Annual Fund dollars now go 
100% to support of scholarships! You can give online at the
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Our M2 students just took USMLE Step 1 in June. See how you measure up on this 
"USMLE-style" question!

Jessica, who is a 24-year-old second-year medical student, just took USMLE Step 1 and is anxiously awaiting her score. Thebest predictor of Jessica's performance on Step 1 is her:

a) AP calculus score
b) HDL level
c) MCAT physical science score
d) Myers Briggs type preference
e) Performance in M1 and M2
f) Score on a test of delayed gratification
g) Usual seat in the M2 classroom

Update Your Contact Info and provide the Alumni and Development Office with your latest news via our online 
update form. 

Reunion 2010
Graduates from classes ending in 5s and 0s will celebrate milestone Reunions next spring. Mark your calendars now for April 23-25.

Who's Gone on to Greatness? 
Do you know an alumnus whose career and service is worthy of a recognition? Download a nomination form for the Outstanding Medical Alumnus and the Caravati Awards.

Past issues of SOM
eNews are online.

For More Information: 

MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation