VCU and VCU Health name inaugural recipient of endowed professorship in quality, safety and service

Gene Peterson, M.D., Ph.D.

Gene Peterson, M.D., Ph.D.

Gene Peterson, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed to the Professorship for Safety, Quality and Service in Resident Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Peterson joined VCU in 2013 as an associate dean for patient safety and quality care in the School of Medicine and chief safety and quality officer for VCU Health.

Peterson is the first incumbent to receive this recognition, which honors his exemplary contributions to teaching, research and public service. Commitment to safety, quality and service is an integral part of the VCU vision to make a difference as a major research university, which Peterson has helped to shape and design.

“VCU Health is on a journey to become the nation’s safest health care system,” said Jerome Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine and executive vice president of medical affairs for VCU Health. “Achieving that goal starts with establishing the fundamental knowledge and behaviors on which all our future practitioners can build upon. From the classroom, to the simulation lab, and to the bedside, Dr. Peterson is the leader who makes these fundamentals stick. There is no one better suited to receive this recognition.”

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VCU School of Medicine names new Department of Neurosurgery chair


Alex Valadka, M.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University recently appointed Alex Valadka, M.D. (H.S.’93/M), as chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine.

Valadka succeeds founding chair Harold F. Young, M.D., who joined VCU as a professor of neurosurgery in 1976.

“Alex Valadka is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of neurosurgery and traumatic brain injury,” said Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine. “He has led major clinical trials in brain injury and is a sought-after consultant. He will enrich an already exceptional community of traumatic brain injury researchers at VCU and VCU Health.”

After earning his medical degree at the University of Chicago in 1987, Valadka completed his residency training in neurosurgery at VCU. “I knew I wanted to study neurotrauma and critical care, and my adviser told me to go to VCU because it was the best place in the world to learn about nervous system trauma and critical care research,” Valadka said.

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Student accompanies alumnus mentor on an unforgettable trip to Haiti

Andrew Lyell

Third-year student Andrew Lyell had the chance to make an unforgettable trip to Haiti with his fmSTAT mentor, alumnus Kenneth Heatwole, M’84, H’87.

In the United States, you don’t often see malaria or a machete wound to the head.

But that’s what Kenneth Heatwole, M’84, H’87, and third-year student Andrew Lyell encountered on a medical mission trip to Haiti this past spring.

Family medicine physician Heatwole has been going to Haiti since 1990. On his most recent trip, he took along Lyell, who he’d met two years ago as part of the medical school’s fmSTAT program.

Like the other fmSTAT students, Lyell knows he’s headed for a career in family medicine. fmSTAT nurtures that goal through special opportunities like being paired with a mentor, a role that Heatwole volunteered for.

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VCU AmeriCorps experience becomes more valuable

Virginia Commonwealth University AmeriCorps, Virginia’s oldest and largest AmeriCorps service group, has provided valuable national service opportunities for more than 900 participants since its launch two decades ago.

VCU AmeriCorps aims to increase literacy and educational achievement for children attending kindergarten through the third grade in Richmond public schools and their families. Every year, VCU AmeriCorps reaches about a thousand students in 10 elementary schools.

In exchange for offering their time and talent to address national education, public safety, human and environmental needs, AmeriCorps participants earn a small living award and receive financial assistance toward their college education or vocational training.

Last week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Virginia had been designated an Employer of National Service. He and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe called on alumni of AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps to put their experiences to work in Virginia government.

“To build the new Virginia economy and make this commonwealth a world-class place to live, work and raise a family, we need to attract the best and brightest people to work in state government,” McAuliffe said. “AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni have skills, dedication, a can-do attitude and a commitment to the greater good – and we want more of them to join our team.”

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Life Sciences: RVA Environmental Film Fest is next month

The Fifth Annual RVA Environmental Film Festival is scheduled to be held the first week of February (Feb. 2-8).

The Enrichmond Foundation, Falls of the James Group – Sierra Club, Capital Region Land Conservancy, and EarthCraft Virginia have collaborated on this year’s festival, choosing many films designed to raise awareness of environmental issues, according to a release. As with last year, all of the festival’s events are free and open to the public.

The full week’s schedule has not officially been released, but here are a few highlights:

Continuing the tradition and by popular demand, the festival will include a children’s portion at the Byrd Theater, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 7. It will begin with “The Lorax,” hopefully inspiring some new environmentalists and re-igniting the hope of older ones. At 10:30 a.m., there will be a screening of Disney’s “Bears,” a documentary that follows an Alaskan bear family as its young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons. Following Bears, there will be a short animated feature called “The Ballad of Island Holland House” and another short film entitled “Forest Man,” the story of Jadav Payeng, an Indian man who single-handedly planted nearly 1400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli.

Read more from The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Business: Professor spreads the science of human resources

Scientific findings are curated and communicated to the public less efficiently than crockpots, says VCU School of Business professor Frank Bosco, Ph.D.

You can go on, search for a slow cooker, and easily limit search results based on brand name and the price you want. Or liquid capacity and customer reviews. Or any combination of the above. But say you’re a human resources manager who, in hopes of reducing employee turnover, is seeking information on the determinants of turnover — pay level, supervisor satisfaction and the like. The most ambitious manager might seek out a published review of the academic literature or even go through every management journal trying to find every paper that reports relevant findings. It could take years.

But, Bosco points out, most HR practitioners don’t read the scientific reports containing important findings from their field, let alone systematically peruse them in search of specific studies.

“The sad thing is that people who practice human resource management — HR practitioners — don’t know what HR scientists study or what such findings include,” said Bosco, assistant professor of management in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, who specializes in human resource management and organizational research methods. “It’s called the scientist–practitioner gap, and it’s especially problematic in a field like HR because HR practices can have a major impact on individual and community well-being.”

Even reports published in outlets such as Academy of Management Perspectives, which aim to bridge that gap, seem to have little noticeable impact, according to Bosco. The communication breakdown exists because scientists and practitioners speak different languages, signaling a dire need of a Rosetta Stone.

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VCU Friendship Family and Cultural Exchange Program

Interested in enhancing the experience of a Virginia Commonwealth University’s student?

VCU’s Office of Global Education needs partners to help with the VCU Friendship Family and Cultural Exchange Program.  This program pairs international students with community members to develop cross-cultural friendships and to help them understand American life outside the classroom.

Not a traditional hosting program, it calls on volunteers to meet with students only on a monthly basis.  This semester-long program starts mid-February and runs through May.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Hiett at or visit

Extra, extra, get your A-10 ticket info here

The VCU Rams are headed to the A-10 Tournament, and you can join them. The women’s team is playing in Richmond, Va., while the men’s team travels to Brooklyn, N.Y.

Men’s basketball
Join us at the Barclays Center on March 12-16 as the Rams travel back to Brooklyn, NY for the 2014 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championships! Tickets for the 2014 Men’s Basketball Championship are now on sale through VCU Athletics.

If you’re in town, be sure to join VCU Alumni and fellow Rams fans at the official pregame location.

Where: Die Koelner Bierhalle (KBH), 84 St. Marks Place (off Fourth Avenue) Brooklyn, NY 11217

All-tournament ticket package
Tournament ticket books are good for all 12 games (seven sessions). To purchase tickets, click here. VCU Athletics allocates seats based on the ticket locations provided by the Atlantic 10 Conference Office and the Barclays Center.

  • Gold ticket books: $266
  • Silver ticket books: $191
  • Bronze ticket books: $141

Single-session tickets
Individual session tickets can be purchased for the Atlantic 10 Basketball Championship. For pricing information and to purchase individual session tickets online, click here.

Single-session group tickets
Individual session group tickets can be purchased for the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship through Ticketmaster. To purchase individual session group tickets, please contact a Barclays Center ticket representative at (718) 942-9654.

Tournament dates and times
The Atlantic 10 Conference hosts the Men’s Basketball Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Wednesday, March 12 through Sunday, March 16. All teams will participate in this year’s championship, and the game times are as follows;

Game 1 No. 12 seed vs. No. 13 seed 7 p.m.
Game 2 No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed Noon
Game 3 No. 5 seed vs. Game 1 winner 2:30 p.m.
Game 4 No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 No. 6 seed vs. No. 11 seed 9:00 p.m.
Game 6 No. 1 seed vs. Game 2 winner Noon
Game 7 No. 4 seed vs. Game 3 winner 2:30 p.m.
Game 8 No. 2 seed vs. Game 4 winner 6:30 p.m.
Game 9 No. 3 seed vs. Game 5 winner 9 p.m.
Game 10 Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner 1:30 p.m.
Game 11 Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner 4 p.m.
Game 12   Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner 1 p.m.

Women’s basketball
March Madness is coming to Richmond!

The Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championships will take place March 5-9 in Richmond, Va. The Richmond Coliseum will be alive with more than 195 female athletes from 13 colleges and universities from Virginia and across the country, here to play 12 games to crown one champion, who will advance to the NCAA Women’s Tournament!

Come out and support some of the country’s most talented female basketball stars and your VCU Rams as they battle for their chance to take the national spotlight.

Tickets are available now at

New VCU magazine set to launch

Broad Street Magazine, a nonprofit literary start up that focuses on exploring research and other direct experiences through original narratives, is set to launch soon. The magazine, which is composed by various VCU alumni and graduate students, will feature stories, illustrations and other works of creative nonfiction.

To learn more, visit or go to its Facebook page.

Pharmacy: First McFarlane Professor named


Don and Nancy Brophy

By Nan Johnson

Donald F. Brophy, Pharm.D. (M.S.’04/M), has been named the first Nancy and Ronald McFarlane Professor of Pharmacy in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy. Brophy currently serves as chairman of the school’s Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science and is a professor of pharmacy and medicine.

Nancy (B.S.’80/P) and Ron McFarlane (B.S.’80/P) established the professorship in 2008 in recognition of the education they received at the School of Pharmacy. They established their business, MedProRx Inc., in Raleigh, N.C., in 2002.

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