Jump to content
Placeholder image for header
School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

Welcome to VCU School of Medicine

M2 Electives

Welcome to M2 Electives

Registration and Dates

To register for an elective, fill out the M2 Elective Form[PDF]. (Dates: September 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2013)

Please call the preceptors of the electives you are interested in to see if they are what you thought they were before signing up for them.


You will receive your notice by e-mail around September 10, 2013.


September 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24,
& 31, 2013
September 3, 2013 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.


Course Directors: Katherine Blanche (M2), Nina Olsen (M2), and Eva Kwong (M2)

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mary Shall

Yoga Instructor: Robbie Norris (http://richmondprivateyoga.blogspot.com/)

Enrollment: 20
Phone: 828-0234 - Dr. Mary Shall 
E-mail: yim.mcv@gmail.commsshall@vcu.edu

The primary objective of this elective is to educate medical students and faculty about the anatomy and physiology of yoga and its impact on health and well-being, as well as some of the clinical applications of yoga and yoga therapy. This six week long elective will consists of didactic and practical portions. Weekly classes will meet for 30-45 minute presentations followed by a 1.5 hour yoga session. Lectures will enhance students' understanding of and appreciation for yoga as a therapeutic approach, exploring concepts of anatomy, physiology related to breath, movement, neuroplasticity, and prenatal yoga. Patient presentations will discuss how daily yoga practice can impact health and disease. Just as medicine is best understood in the context of patients, yoga is best known by practice. The practical portion of the course will allow students to immerse themselves in a 6-week practice consisting of weekly practice sessions and a home practice. Taught by Robbie Norris, a prominent yoga teacher in the Richmond community, the weekly practice will focus on learning a 45 minute sequence of yoga poses. Through this, students will develop a daily practice, growing from 5 minutes a day up to 30. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on how the practice affects them: physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. This class is for all skill levels- the practice and poses are individually modifiable. As such, it can provide a challenging experience for all levels of strength and flexibility. The dates for this elective will be Sept. 28; Oct. 3, 19, 26; Nov. 9 & 16, 2012.


Mary Lee Magee, MS , Steven Crossman, M.D.
Family Medicine Conference Room, 14th Floor, West Hospital, North Wing

If you are interested in this elective you will need to sign-up through Mary Lee Magee[E-mail]:Mary Lee Magee

The International/Inner City/Rural Preceptorship elective for second-year medical students serves to review and advance students' knowledge, skills and attitudes regardinig our foundational concepts of community-orinted primary care, systems-based practice and service-learning. Additionally, we will focus on health literacy as a crucial factor in health disparities.

The elective will include small group didactic/discussion sessions, journal club opportunities and community assessment practice.

The elective is required for students enrolled in the I2CRP Honors Program. It is also open to any interested student. Enrollment is limited to 24, with preference is given to I2CRP students.


Sean McKenna, MD, Margaret Bacigal, JD

Student Leaders: Eurica Chang, M2 and Hannah Kim, M2

Objective - To help make physicians and lawyers more aware of the ways that their two fields can work together to improve the lives of their patients/clients.

Location: University of Richmond School of Law (downtown location); VCU School of Medicine.

Meetings - You must attend 4 out of the 8 monthly lectures, where guest speakers will discuss different aspects of the interaction between medicine and law, followed by round table discussion.

Practical portion - Participation in the practical portion to be an average of 1 two hour session every other month working with families in a clinical setting to determine need for legal services and enrollment in the Richmond Child Health Advocacy Program (CHAP). CHAP is a unique partnership between the VCU School of Medicine, University of Richmond, School of Law, and the Legal Aid Justice Center developed to provide a means to address social and legal concerns identified in patient interactions to promote health and well-being of the pediatraic patient and his/her family.

Total minimum hours will be aproximately 14 hrs over the course of the school year to get CREDIT for this elective.

If you are interested in this elective you will need to sign-up with Nancy Jackson in the Electives Office[E-mail]:nbjackso@vcu.edu - This elective would be over the course of the entire year, rather than the six dates - If you have questions concerning this elective please contact Kate Zedler, M2.


Dr. Robert Kravetz Maximum Enrollment: 16 
Anesthesiology, Main Hospital, 5th Floor
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Phone: 804-828-9160—Sherrie Payne

Students will spend O.R., mannekin and classroom time with Dr. Kravetz and other faculty, residents and senior medical students on anesthesia electives. Topics include basic and advanced airway management, intubation, IVs, anesthesia and team-building in life-support situations.


Faculty: Dr. Rahul Anand 
Maximum Enrollment: 3
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Phone: 804-828-1141; Susan Haynes; schaynes@vcu.edu 
E-mail: ranand@mcvh-vcu.edu

*After you have been assigned to this elective, contact Dr. Anand or his assistant Susan Haynes for preceptor location and further information.

The David Hume Society Student Surgical Interest Group is pleased to announce the creation of an elective in surgery at MCV for M2 students. In keeping with the mission of the Hume Society, this elective is intended to provide greater exposure to General Surgery in the pre-clinical years for students interested in exploring surgery as a career option. Each student will be paired one-on-one with a clinical faculty member from MCV.

Students will meet with their preceptor surgeon a minimum of once a week for a period of six weeks. Students will be exposed to pre-operative clinical evaluation of patients, diagnostic test interpretation and post-operative care at a basic level, as well as learn skills such as scrub and knot tying. Opportunities to observe surgical procedures in the O.R. may occur as schedules permit. In addition, the participants will work with colleagues at all levels of training including M3 students, residents and attending surgeons. Students will be required to attend six afternoons for elective credit, but additional O.R. or clinic experience is encouraged as necessary to improve the learning experience and may be coordinated with your preceptor. Students should plan on reading the relevant anatomy and physiology prior to O.R. cases in which they are involved. Some students may be assigned to the VA Medical Center.

Participation in this elective will provide students with a preview of their clinical years as well as strengthen the knowledge and skill base prior to the surgery clerkship. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about residency and practice, as well as meet and work with leaders in clinical education at MCV.


Dr. William McKinley
Maximum Enrollment: 4
North Hospital, 1st Floor, Room 1-059 
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Phone: 804-828-4233

This elective is designed to expand upon the clinical exposure that students received in the M1 “Introduction to PM&R” elective. An individualized program will be designed (depending upon their areas of interest) to allow for in depth perspectives into specific clinical practice venues including: inpatient, outpatient and procedural (EMG, injections) PM&R at both VCU, VAMC and Richmond Children’s Hospital.


Dr. William McKinley Maximum Enrollment: 8
North Hospital, 1st Floor, Room 1-059 
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Phone: 804-828-4233

The medical specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) utilizes an interdisciplinary team approach to maximize a patient’s medical, physical, functional and psychosocial potential. This elective is designed to give students an overview of PM&R through exposure to the broad spectrum of rehabilitation medicine areas, including:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Pain
  • Other disorders

Students will rotate with the Rehabilitation Medicine team members (physicians, physical and occupational therapy and others) which will allow them to become familiar with the team approach in PM&R.


Dr. Margaret Grimes & Dr. Kim Sanford 
Maximum Enrollment: 10
Sanger Hall, 4th Floor, Room 4-008A
Thursday, 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.

Phone: 804-828-9746

This elective will introduce students to the field of pathology and the role of the pathologist in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This exposure is essential, since pathology is not included in the third year clerkships.

Students will begin with a tour of the pathology department and a general introduction to anatomic and clinical pathology. The remaining time will be spent in different areas of pathology including autopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy and interpretation, hematopathology, blood bank and surgical pathology.

Fine needle aspiration biopsy involves inserting a thin needle into a mass (breast, thyroid, lymph node, etc.), obtaining cells and rendering a preliminary diagnosis within thirty minutes. Hematopathologists perform and interpret bone marrow biopsies and aspirates. Transfusion medicine includes dispensing various blood products, investigating transfusion reactions, identifying antibodies and aphereis (plasma exchange, red cell exchange or stem cell collection). Surgical pathology consists of the gross and microscopic diagnosis of surgical specimens, including intraoperative frozen section diagnosis.

Students are able to attend departmental meetings, lectures and conferences. Facilities for the study of specific topics in greater detail can be arranged.


Dr. Malcolm Sydnor 
Maximum Enrollment: 2 
3rd Floor Main Hospital, Interventional Radiology 
Thursday, 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Phone: 804-828-0552 - Veronica Peltier

This course has been designed to provide the second year medical students basic the opportunity to observe and potentially participate in a variety of Vascular Interventional Radiologic procedures and to engage in image interpretaton sessions. The student should focus on correlating clinical observations with radiologic images and formulating differential diagnoses or assessment plans where pertinent. The course will also help the student gain broad insight into the field of Vascular Interventional Radiology as a potential career choice. During the elective, the student will seek out opportunities to attend seminars, learn from radiologists in various subfields, and look into research programs being undertaken in the department. The elective will take place in the Main Hospital. Time permitting, the student may attend Vascular Interventional Radiology conferences which are held in the mornings or Radiology conferences held daily at noon to further broaden their radiology exposure and experience, but the emphasis will be on clinical exposure first.


1) Provide the second year medical student with basis radiologic interpretation skills, and exposure to VIR procedures/image interpretation.

2) Gain an appreciation of services provided by the Vascular Interventional Radiologist in clinical practice.

3) Discern which radiologic techniques are optimal in treating certain diseases, and navigate procedure-related adverse effects and alternative strategies for the patient.

4) Understand how research is advancing the technqiues used in Interventional Radiology.


Back to Top


Drs. Trevor Slone & Eric Bachrach 
Maximum Enrollment: 24 
Emergency Medicine Conference Room, 2nd Floor of Main Hospital, Suite #614 
Thursday, 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. (other dates & times) 
Phone: 804-272-1027 - trevor_slone@hotmail.com

Course Purpose: To provide an introduction to practical wilderness medicine knowledge and skills that will teach the medical student to perform optimally in extreme and resource-limited settings.

Educational Objectives: Provide medical students (M2) with introductory knowledge in the identification and treatment of medical problems unique to the wilderness/austere setting.

Lectures: Lectures & in-room skills (2-3 hours) - ER Conference Room

Activities: Belle Isle or Forest Hill Park and Pocahontas State Park

Goals: Provide an introduction to a variety of Wildeness Medicine topics. The student will finish the course having learned useful skills that can be applied to multiple areas of medicine.

The M2 elective will be presented in the style of a Wilderness Medicine Life Support course, though offering noformal WMLS certification at present. The ultimate goal is that at some point in the future the student may attain certification via this elective.


Dr. Alan Dow, M.D., M.S.H.A
Student Leaders: 
Maximum Enrollment: 200
First Day will meet with Dr. Dow at 1:00 PM (location pending) - Sign-up with Nancy Jackson 

Objectives: For pre-clinical students to:

- gain exposure to the fundamentals of patient safety
- have greater awareness of the frequency and nature of medical errors
- learn about diffeent types of errors, why they occur, and how they can be prevented
- compare effective and ineffective strategies for responding to errors
- become familiar with root cause analysis and its role in improving safety
- examine the potential role of technology in both reducing and causing errors
- take human factors into account when considering patient safety
- acquire better communication skills to work on teams and with patients
- develop skills to improve the VCU SOM curriculum and health care system
- understand how to improve the health care system and how to measure success
- become a leader in an area of medicine that is receiving national attention

Elective Design:

The Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) Open School currently offers a range of online courses in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety, and leadership.  These courses are free to current students in a health-related field and can be found at http://app.ihi.org/lms/home.aspx.  Each online course takes roughly 60 to 120 minutes to complete and consists of several lessons taking 15-30 minutes each.  Each lesson consists of several pages of reading, often utilizing videos, patient narratives and images.  The current estimated number of hours to complete all available online courses is approximately 18.75 hours, but they can be completed at any pace or number of sessions.


Each lesson in each of the online courses is followed by a short MCQ assessment that students must complete.  Students must answer at least 75% of the questions correct on each assessment in order to receive credit for completing the lesson in the IHI system and continue on to the next lesson.  After all of the IHI Open School online courses are satisfactorily completed, students obtain an IHI Certificate of Completion and will turn this form in to sponsoring faculty member to receive credit for the elective.


Faculty: Dr. Laurel Lyckholm

Student Leaders: Katie Waybill, M2; Lance Feld, M2; & Phil Griffith, M2

Enrollment: 10 Students

Objective: To provide additional education in end of life issues from palliative care, sudden or traumatic death, pediatric death, transplant considerations and other topics.

Format: A series of 6 lectures featuring guest speakers followed by a discussion session. The lectures are personal and informal with the speakers often relying on personal anecdotes of patient experiences to convey the key points. The material is informative for all medical students regardless of intended spciality as it ranges from palliative care considerations to the team based approach to end of life care and the challenge n delivering bad news.

Sessions run to 12 noon to 2:00 PM and lunch is provided.

If you are interested in this elective you will need to sign-up with Nancy Jackson in the Electives Office (email at nbjackso@vcu.edu). NOTE - Some of the dates for this elective have been changed to accommondate exam schedules - If you have questions concerning this elective please contact Katie Waybill, Lance Feld, or Phil Griffith.