James P. Neifeld, M.D. completed his tenure as Chairman of the Department of Surgery effective June 30. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D. Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, assumed the role of Interim Chair effective July 1.

I want to express my profound gratitude to Jim and his faculty for his accomplishments as department chair during the past 10 years. Approximately two-thirds of the members of the Department have joined since 2003, the number of operations has dramatically increased, the number of clinic visits has gone up commensurate with this and our services are in demand throughout the greater Central Virginia area. The residency program flourished under the direction Dr. Brian Kaplan as Program Director, with a resulting large increase in the number of applicants. The undergraduate medical education program, now directed by Dr. Rahul Anand, is highly regarded and more of our students are electing to pursue careers in surgical specialties. Programmatically, the Cardiothoracic Surgery has achieved international prominence with its total artificial heart and VAD programs. The solid organ transplant program contributes to the VCU Health System’s national ranking in kidney disease. Pediatric Surgery has received wide-spread recognition for complex surgeries, including the separation of conjoined twins, procedures that engaged surgical specialists in other divisions of the Department. The Department’s Trauma and Burn programs are highly regarded and have achieved the highest levels of accreditation. In addition, research in the Department increased under Jim’s leadership with federally funded research in Trauma, Surgical Oncology, Transplant, and Plastics. Going forward, Jim will take on a major role in the Department of Surgery’s education programs and will continue to have and work on expanding an active surgical oncology practice .

In recognition of these accomplishments, and his other contributions to the University, Jim will receive the Presidential Medallion at the 31 st Opening Faculty Address and Convocation on Wednesday August 21 st at the Siegel Center. I hope that you join your faculty colleagues as Jim is recognized for his outstanding service to the School of Medicine, the VCU Health System and the University.

Former Dean Jerome F. Strauss

Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System