VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 11 - Number 3 - Summer 2012

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

Class of 2012 Graduates
As they marched in graduation ceremonies and went forward to claim their medical degrees, the Class of 2012 had good reason to celebrate. See ceremony photos, read the Dean’s hopes for the class and find out if any graduates have started their residency near you at our graduation portal

Talented Trend Busters
In the U.S., educators have made only slow gains in recruiting minorities into the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over the past few years, however, VCU has secured $1.3 million in grants supporting six different programs that are opening opportunities for underrepresented minorities. Read about Ph.D. candidate Allen Owens who has benefitted from the programs and is now pursuing a doctorate on the MCV Campus. 

First-Time Annual Fund Donors Boost Scholarship Totals
This fall, more than 80 high-achieving students will receive Aesculapian Scholarships made possible by the Annual Fund. Our thanks go to the 1,013 donors who together made gifts totaling more than $300,000 – that includes 317 first-time donors to the Annual Fund! 

Research News

CU's Role in NIH Human Microbiome Project
For the past three years, VCU researchers have studied how microorganisms found in the vagina influence women’s health. The scientists found an unexpected diversity of bacteria, including many that have never before been observed, cultured or characterized. Some have pathological implications, and one was on the list of the “100 most wanted” human microbes. Read more about the microbiome project

Pilot Study Examines Patients' Preferences for Decision-Making
Family Medicine and Population Health researchers have received one of 50 research funding awards from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to improve how patients make decisions about their health. Read more about the $649,000 project that studies an online tool – an interactive personal health record called MyPreventiveCare – currently used by nearly 30,000 primary care patients throughout Virginia. 

VCU Researchers Identify Changes in Cholesterol Metabolic Pathways 
New study findings have identified molecular changes responsible for abnormal cholesterol production and metabolism in the livers of patients who have a common liver condition. Read more about these changes that may explain the severity of a patient's liver disease and the risks to their heart health. 

Clinical News

VCU Medical Center Trains 1,000th Special Operations Combat Medic 
The Medical Center is one of just three civilian institutions to participate in the U.S. military’s Special Operations Combat Medic training program. Program graduates provide medical care for special operations detachments such as the Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALs. Read more about these combat medics who are trained to provide up to 72 hours of care for the wounded, since many missions are in areas with limited ability to evacuate.

Faculty Author NEJM Editorial on Septic Shock
In the editorial, Internal Medicine’s Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., and Michael B. Edmond, M.D., M.P.H., noted approximately 20 adjuvant drugs, apart from antibiotics, have failed in trials of sepsis in the last two decades. They concluded new therapies will emerge only from a “more crystalline view of the biology of sepsis.” Read more about the editorial published in the May 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

U.S. News Ranks VCU Medical Center No. 1 in State 
U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals edition also ranked four programs - nephrology, pulmonology, orthopaedic surgery and urology - in the top 50. Another nine programs ranked as high-performing. Read more about the U.S. News rankings

Alumni News

Reunion Weekend - date change for Class Years ending in a 3 or 8!
Reunion Weekend 2013 will be held April 19-21, 2013. The weekend’s traditional class parties will be combined with a grand opening for the new McGlothlin Medical Education Center. At the grand opening, a donor wall will be unveiled to recognize all alumni who made leadership gifts to the project.

Attention Winchester Aluimni!
Dean of Medicine Jerry Strauss will host a reception for the medical school’s Winchester-area alumni on Thursday, October 18. Be on the lookout after Labor Day for your invitation.

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

Alumni in the News 
Did you know the Class of 1999's Eduardo Rodriguez was the lead surgeon on the most extensive full face transplant completed to date? Housestaff alumnus Tadataka "Tachi" Yamada was featured in the Journal of Clinical Investigation's video interview series "Conversations with Giants in Medicine." The Class of 2009’s Veronica Sikka spent a month in NYC for an internship with ABC News’ Medical Unit. Biostat alumnus Karl Peace, who earned his Ph.D. in 1976, was presented with the 2012 Georgia University System Board of Regents’ Hall of Fame Award.

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. 

Faculty in the News
Orthopaedic Surgery’s Charles L. McDowell and William H. Bowers have authored "Advice for the Journey from M.D. to Physician" that collects timeless teachings on the nuts and bolts of being a physician. Surgery’s David Lanning was presented with the Dominican Republic’s highest civilian honor for his successful separation of formerly conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia in a dramatic 22-hour surgery late last year. Internal Medicine’s Dom Sica was elected president of the American Society of Hypertension. He’ll first serve a two-year term as president-elect.

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

VCU Pain Management & Spine Symposium
October 20 - 21, 2012
Glen Allen, Virginia 

The educational activity is planned for physicians and other healthcare providers who encounter patients with chronic pain. The anticipated target audience includes primary care physicians, anesthesiologists, physiatrists, neurologists, pain specialists, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physicians in training, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who diagnose and/or treat pain. 

18th Annual VCU Sports Medicine and 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, DOs, physician assistants, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals in the fields of primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, sports medicine and osteopathic medicine.

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. Monthly lectures are aimed at helping physicians 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, 2013
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 in the 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.

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Update Your Contact Info and provide the Alumni and Development Office with your latest news via our online 
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We're interested in your comments on this communication. Please email 
us your thoughts. 

The medical school will welcome the Class of 2016 at the White Coat Ceremony. Do you know how many prospective students applied for the 200 seats available? 

a) 453
b) 1,032
c) 3,471
d) 5,664
e) 7,047

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

The new facility will be celebrated with a grand opening on Saturday April 20, 2013. 

Mark your calendars for
Reunion Weekend.

Breaking News 
Reunion Date change!

April 19-21, 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.

Read the Spring 2012
 of the medical school’s Gifts at Work.

Past issues of SOM
eNews are online.

For More Information: 

School of Medicine 
MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation 
VCU Medical Center