VCU receives $21.5M National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award

Virginia Commonwealth University has been awarded $21.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to promote and expand research and improve access for Virginians to cutting-edge treatments for diseases, including cardiac disease, pulmonary disease and addiction. This is the largest NIH grant ever awarded to VCU.

The five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) through NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) was awarded to VCU’s C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, allowing the center to support clinical research, integrate research and clinical practice and provide training to develop the clinical research workforce.

“As a governor and physician, nothing is more important to me than the heath of Virginians — the Wright Center’s historic grant is a huge boost to the commonwealth’s ability to bring innovations in clinical research that will result in better treatments and new cures,” Northam said. “This funding will support collaboration across the state and speed translation of research to patient care, and I look forward watching VCU solidify Virginia’s place as a research leader.”

Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, which played an essential role in supporting the grant, celebrated the award Monday.

Read more.

Former patient cuts ribbon on expanded pediatric intensive care unit where she recovered from brain surgery

Hospital leaders watch Alexa Nixon and CHoR CEO Elias Neujahr cut the ribbon to the newly-expanded pediatric intensive care unit.

Alexa Nixon is no stranger to the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. It’s where she spent some of her most difficult days and recovered following multiple surgeries during her fight against two brain tumors — first in 2005 when she was 11 years old, and again seven years later.

Nixon has grown up, and so has the PICU. On Wednesday, the now healthy, vibrant 24-year-old helped CHoR leaders cut the ribbon on the hospital’s newly expanded PICU, the largest in the region. This expansion increases the unit’s capacity from 14 to 21 beds, improving access to lifesaving care for the region’s most critically ill and injured children.

“This expansion marks an important milestone,” said CHoR CEO Elias Neujahr. “It’s about much more than additional space and the latest in technology. It’s a place where families can turn to our team for compassionate and expert care during some of the scariest moments of their lives. We’re committed to continuing to advance children’s health in our community, and this newly expanded unit will do just that.”

Read more.

Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System break ground on new rehab institute

Leaders from VCU and Sheltering Arms break ground Tuesday on their new rehabilitation institute in Goochland County.

Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System broke ground Tuesday to begin construction on a 114-bed rehabilitation facility that will be located on 25 acres in the West Creek Medical Park off Broad Street Road, just east of the state Route 288 interchange in Goochland County.

Officials and staff from both organizations were present in addition to donors, patients, community members and other leaders in the community. Attendees heard remarks from Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D.; Sheltering Arms President and CEO Mary Zweifel; Dianne Jewell, D.P.T., Ph.D., chair of the Sheltering Arms board of directors; and patients Cole Sydnor and Berry Williams, who shared their perspectives on what the joint venture will offer the community.

“Today marks an important step forward in our plan to bring advanced technology, research and evidence-based clinical care together under one roof in order to offer our patients the best possible outcomes for success. Today we celebrate the building that will bring that goal to life,” Zweifel said.

Read more.

Evans-Haynes Burn Center earns Beacon Award for nursing excellence

VCU Health Evans-Burn Center received a 2018 Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

The 30-member nursing team at the VCU Health Evans-Haynes Burn Center has been recognized with a silver level Beacon Award for Excellence by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

The award honors North American hospital units for their, “evidence-based practices to improve patient and family outcomes,” according to the AACN website. Also used as a benchmark for the award are nursing units that demonstrate a positive and reassuring work environment, with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover.

Read more.

VCU Health celebrates ribbon-cutting of new children’s mental health facility

Virginia Treatment Center for Children

Renderings of the new Virginia Treatment Center for Children.

VCU Health and Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University on Fridaycelebrated the ribbon-cutting for their new Virginia Treatment Center for Children. The new VTCC is the result of $56 million in funding from the Virginia General Assembly and a dedicated community of donors and mental health advocates.

One in five children will experience a serious mental health issue, but 75 percent of them will not receive the care they need, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. VTCC is an acknowledgement that national issues surrounding children’s mental health need to be addressed and VCU’s Department of Psychiatry is leading the charge.

The facility is transformational for children’s mental health care, bringing VTCC’s services out of a 50-year-old institutional space and into a modern facility with an inspirational design that incorporates natural light, green space and unique safety features important to modern mental health care. Based on research and the unique profile of the pediatric psychiatric patient, the facility design features a soothing aesthetic, warm and bright color palette, and comforting, home-like furnishings.

“It eases the stigma surrounding mental illness and improves access to care,” said Marsha Rappley, M.D., CEO of VCU Health and vice president of health sciences at VCU. “We’re also doubling space to train future generations of children’s mental health providers and conduct innovative research initiatives that will enhance treatment and prevention efforts. Our work here in the commonwealth will have a ripple effect across the country.”

VTCC serves children from across Virginia, with nearly 50 percent coming from outside Richmond and surrounding counties. With new telemedicine programs, VTCC physicians will extend their reach across Virginia, particularly in rural areas.

Read more.