VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 2 - Number 1 - Spring 2003

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

Student News

Fourth-Year Students Celebrate on National Match Day
The 164 students in the fourth-year class gathered for March's annual roll call to learn where they'll head for their residencies. Among the students are nine who will enter residencies in the Armed Forces. This year, 23,965 total active applicants vied for the record-high 20,908 positions available. See pictures from Match Day, and check out which fourth-year students are headed to your area.

Basketball's Sean Elliott Visits Campus
In February, the Department of Internal Medicine's weekly Grand Rounds featured Sean Elliott, former San Antonio Spurs star and current ESPN commentator, who shared his story of being diagnosed with kidney disease, undergoing a life-saving kidney transplant from his brother and returning to professional basketball seven months later. Medical students along with faculty and residents turned out to hear Mr. Elliott, who was invited to campus by Anton C. Schoolwerth, M.D., Sir Hans Krebs chair of nephrology and vice chairman of the internal medicine department, who has served with Mr. Elliott as a national kidney disease spokesman. See pictures from Sean Elliott's visit.

Research News

Researchers Team with Bio-Track to Assist Special Forces
Faculty in the Reanimation Engineering Shock Center will team with Bio-Track, LLC, a biomedical product development company, to develop a state-of-the-art, one-handed battlefield tourniquet and a breathing tube that can be used in remote locations by Special Operations Forces. "The increasing role of the Special Forces requires development of medical tools to meet unique needs," said Kevin R. Ward, M.D., director of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Read more about the effort.

Study Shows Drug Effective Against Hepatitis B
The oral antiviral medicine adefovir dipivoxil, sold under the trade name Hepsera, appears to be an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis B and avoids the most serious side effects of previous drugs. "Not only does this drug appear to suppress the virus in greater numbers of patients during the first year of treatment… it does not appear to build up resistance as older medicines did, allowing hepatitis B to recur," said Mitchell L. Shiffman, M.D., chief of the hepatology section and co-author of a study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more about the findings.

Surgical Study of Blood-Thinning Drug Launched
A blood-thinning drug already approved for use during coronary balloon angioplasty procedures in the catheterization lab is now being studied in the operating room. Surgeons recently performed one of the first quadruple heart bypass procedures in the country using Angiomax, an anti-coagulant that could eventually replace heparin - the most commonly used blood-thinner. Read more about the study.

Two Faculty Honored for Scientific Contributions
Gordon Ginder, M.D., Massey Cancer Center director, has been honored as one of Virginia's Outstanding Scientists, and William Dewey, Ph.D., vice-chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has been recognized with Virginia's Life Achievement in Science Award. The honorees were introduced to the Virginia General Assembly in February and will receive their awards at a banquet at the Science Museum of Virginia on April 1. Read more about the accomplishments of Drs. Ginder and Dewey as well as information on the other honorees.

Clinical News

Health System Makes Smallpox Decision
As hospitals across the country have considered the Smallpox debate, the VCU Health System has decided not to vaccinate healthcare workers at this time. Richard Wenzel, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and president of MCV Physicians, discussed the Health System's decision with National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Listen to the NPR segment.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming CME Offerings
The 27th Annual Williamsburg Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Conference will be held June 6-8, 2003 in Williamsburg. The course will offer up to 17.5 hours in AMA category 1 credit and Type 1 or Type 2 CME credits required by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Through lectures, workshops, cases and controversial discussions, papers, and posters, the conference will focus on effective practice for improved outcomes of brain injury rehabilitation.

The 25th Annual Pediatric Primary Care Conference will be held July 25-27, 2003, in Virginia Beach. Offering up to 13.0 hours in AMA category 1 credit and Type 1 or Type 2 CME credits required by the Virginia Board of Medicine, the course is designed for physicians and other health care professionals who delivery primary care to children and adolescents. Each half-day program is devoted to one of the following subject areas: emergency medicine, primary care, and developmental pediatrics.

Learn more about these and other CME offerings that are available through the medical school's Office of Continuing Medical Education.

Alumni News

Alum Receives University's Highest Honor
H. George White Jr., M.D., M'62, was awarded the Presidential Medallion at VCU's 2002 fall commencement exercises. He shared in the honor with John E. Jones, M.D., former vice president for health sciences and special assistant to the president. Dr. White, a former rector of the VCU Board of Visitors and member of the VCU Health System Board of Directors, also has served as a member of the Dean's Advisory Committee for the School of Medicine. Read more about the contributions of Drs. White and Jones.

"Alumni College Abroad" - Adventure to Normandy - July 21 - 29, 2003
Join Dean of Medicine Dr. Dickie Newsome and his wife, Jerome, as they host their second trip for alumni and friends of the medical school. Next summer's destination is Normandy, France. The seven-night, eight-day adventure will begin in the ancient town of Lisieux. Day excursions will include Monet's home and studio at Giverny, Mont-St. Michel, Omaha Beach, and more. The all-inclusive price for this trip is $2,395 per person. For a complete brochure, please call the School of Medicine at (800) 332-8813 and ask for Erin Lucero. And for a sneak preview, visit the Alumni Association's Travel Program Web page.

Alumni Input Requested
The perspective and insight of our school's alumni are valuable to Dean of Medicine Dr. Dickie Newsome as he sets goals, refines priorities, and crafts plans that will preserve and strengthen the traditions and qualities of the medical school. The MCV Foundation and Alumni Association have assisted him in developing a survey for alumni that is available online. Please set aside a few minutes to offer your candid opinion on matters important to the school's future. You may print off the online survey and return it to the Dean by mail or fax, as indicated at the bottom of the survey form.

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This year the medical school will be asked to absorb millions of dollars from state budget cuts. Your dollar is increasingly precious to us. Learn about how your
Annual Fund gift impacts the medical school and find a link to online giving via the university's secure site.

Frequent travelers may want to take advantage of the VCU Foundation's offer to turn your business card into a laminated luggage tag.

Reunion Weekend is almost here - April 25-27 - for class years ending in '3s and '8s, beginning in 1953

Audio clips can be accessed with the RealOne Player plug-in. Click here to download your free copy.


For More Information:

School of Medicine
MCV Alumni Association
MCV Foundation