Peter Buckley, M.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University announced today that Peter F. Buckley, M.D., has been
appointed dean of the VCU School of Medicine, effective Jan. 17. He also will serve as VCU Health System executive vice president for medical affairs, overseeing the 600 physician-faculty group practice of the academic health sciences center.
Buckley comes to VCU from Augusta University in Georgia where he is dean of the Medical College of Georgia and executive vice president for medical affairs and integration. A psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, Buckley also is a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and radiology at MCG.
Photos by Allen Jones, University Marketing.
On Oct. 24, Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate the grand opening of the Weil Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Research at VCU. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building first floor lobby, 1217 E. Marshall St.
Max Harry Weil, M.D., Ph.D., the founder of the specialty of critical care medicine, founded the institute. It is widely regarded as the premier basic science cardiopulmonary resuscitation research laboratory in the world, with staff performing research on a broad area of emergency medicine and critical care topics. Current research focuses on improving outcomes of CPR, circulatory shock, life-threatening heart failure, acute lung failure and overwhelming infections that produce septic shock. The institute is also making significant advances in life-sustaining medical technology.
“After a yearlong search for an academic medical partner at which to relocate, the institute’s board of advisors unanimously chose VCU as their new home based on the academic medical center’s excellent clinical and resuscitation program,” said institute director Wanchun Tang, M.D.
Siddharth Hariharan with “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
A week before moving to Richmond to start medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, Siddharth Hariharan was in Los Angeles to test his knowledge in another high-stakes environment. The first-year VCU School of Medicine student competed on three episodes of “Jeopardy!” in July. The episodes aired in mid-September.
“For the first few days after it aired I felt like a celebrity on campus,” Hariharan said. “Now that everyone has seen the episodes they all greet me much more friendlily.”
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Schools of Medicine and Engineering to test a diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s disease that was developed by university researchers.
The noninvasive eye-tracking device uses infrared light to follow a patient’s eye movement as the patient attempts to fix his or her gaze on a screen-displayed object. While normal eye movements are highly regulated and follow well-defined patterns, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease alter eye movements.
“One aim of the grant is to validate that we can use eye tracking to diagnose Parkinson’s disease with high accuracy,” said principal investigator Mark Baron, M.D., professor of neurology at the VCU School of Medicine and interim director of the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center. “Another aim is to validate that we can diagnose Parkinson’s disease well before a patient displays outward symptoms.”
Simone Gregor and Sina Mostaghimi.
Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting its first medical hackathon, called HealthHacks, in which students from VCU and other schools will spend 24 hours finding solutions to unmet medical needs.
During HealthHacks, which starts Saturday, Oct. 1, students will collaborate in interdisciplinary teams of up to four participants to address problems that will focus on three major categories: product design and improvement, hospital throughput, and patient experience. Problems will be pitched from patients, physicians, professors, health care clinicians, engineers and industry sponsors. Students are also encouraged to bring their own ideas to the event to work on in a supported environment.
While studying at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine — and serving as president of the Class of 2018 — Cox runs a nonprofit organization that helps provide eyeglasses for patients overseas.
The organization, Seeing is Believing, began on a small scale with a few pairs of reading glasses. Six years and more than 19,000 pairs of glasses later, it’s still going strong, as Cox returned to Southeast Asia in August to continue what he started as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2008.
As he was teaching in Cambodia on that mission trip, he realized that some students weren’t participating.
“Often we’d ask people to read but they’d say they couldn’t,” said Cox. “For a while we assumed that it was that they never learned to read. But as we probed a little bit, we found out it was because they couldn’t see.”
Third-year Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine student Robin Kuriakose (B.S.’14/H&S) often writes in his journal to deal with the stress of medical school.
“I am by no means a great writer, but I have observed the therapeutic effect that writing has on me,” he said.
Last October, Kuriakose co-founded the blog WhiteCoated as a place to house his and other medical students’ inspirations, stories and thoughts. Today the site has more than 25 posts by medical students around the country with journal entry-style writings about everything from orientation week to emergency department rotations.
“The purpose of the site is to encourage self-reflection in the midst of ever-increasing medical school demands,” Kuriakose said.
Second-year VCU medical student Elissa Trieu (right) helps suture an emergency room patient in Ecuador with an Ecuadorian hospital official.
When dialing 911 in the United States, callers might easily assume a dispatcher can relay their needs to the appropriate responder, whether it is firefighters or the paramedics. But in Ecuador, it is not always that simple.
From June 27 to July 19 members of the VCU Health International Trauma System Development Program traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador to help enhance the country’s coordination between firefighters, ambulances, 911 call centers and hospitals. The work was part of a series of projects to determine why there is a breakdown in Ecuador’s pre-hospital communication, which starts when a person seeking emergency help contacts authorities and ends when they arrive at a hospital.
Mark Hopkins, a second-year student in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, was one of three medical students who traveled to Ecuador with School of Medicine faculty. Though public health care is free in Ecuador, high patient volume and a lack of resources and proper education dilute the quality of that care, he said.
“Since we were kids, we’ve known there is one number to call [for medical help] and we know we can trust whoever shows up on our doorstep to be trained and qualified,” Hopkins said. “We have jobs solely dedicated in the hospital to making sure the right information comes through. In Ecuador, they are trying to replicate that system. That’s where we want to help.”
VCU and VCU Health leaders pose for a photo at an Aug. 5 ceremony to celebrate the Medical Psychiatry Unit, which received a Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center Medical Psychiatry Unit is again the only one of its kind to earn national recognition for exemplary practices in patient care. The acknowledgment comes in the form of a silver-level Beacon Recognition for Excellence Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
For nurses, a Beacon Award signals a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover. For patients and families, the Beacon Award showcases exceptional care through improved outcomes, and teamwork that caters specifically to patients’ greatest and gravest needs.
At an Aug. 5 ceremony to commemorate the award, VCU and VCU Health System President Michael Rao, Ph.D., told department members, “You are a model for VCU and [the standard of] VCU care.”
Kathryn Holloway was recently ranked the one of the most active deep brain stimulation surgeons in the nation by Medtronic, a Minnesota-based medical technology company.
Eight years ago William Pappadake’s life and his lifestyle were interrupted.
Things he had done effortlessly, like golf, write, and carry his plate during an evening out at dinner, became a debilitating struggle because of a 2008 diagnosis of essential tremor. The disease, a nerve disorder that surfaces in different parts and different sides of the body, caused Pappadake’s hands to tremble uncontrollably. A practicing psychologist, Pappadake was losing his independence in a way that was frightening and progressive.
After his prescribed medication failed to control the tremor, Pappadake’s neurologist suggested he have deep brain stimulation surgery to more aggressively reduce his tremors. His surgery was performed in March by VCU Health neurosurgeon Kathryn Holloway, M.D., who was recently ranked the one of the most active deep brain stimulation surgeons in the nation by Medtronic, a Minnesota-based medical technology company.