Researchers awarded $4.375 million grant to study best practices for hiring and retaining workers with disabilities

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Virginia Commonwealth University has received a new Rehabilitation Research and Training Center grant of $4.375 million to investigate the most successful business practices which companies utilize to hire and retain workers with disabilities.

The grant, from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, will fund four studies, the largest and most significant of which will take place in partnership with Bon Secours Virginia Health System, a long term leader in diversity and hiring of persons with disabilities.

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Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System announce plans for a proposed rehabilitation hospital in Goochland County

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Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System have announced plans for a new regional rehabilitation hospital in Goochland County.

The new hospital, called Sheltering Arms Rehab Institute — a joint venture with VCU Health System — will combine the current inpatient rehabilitation programs of Sheltering Arms and VCU Health to provide comprehensive and innovative physical rehabilitative inpatient care for people who have sustained a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury or similar illnesses and injuries.

The 114-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility will be centrally located on an easily accessible 25-acre site in the West Creek Medical Park off Route 288 and Broad Street, near the I-64 and I-295 interchanges.

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VCU innovators talk cancer, kids and collaboration for Make It Real campaign

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Following a silent phase, Virginia Commonwealth University has revealed the intricacies of its most aggressive fundraising effort, the $750 million Make It Real Campaign for VCU. Funding from the campaign will impact every facet of the university, officials said, including the campus’ centers, libraries, athletics and research.

In a question and answer dialogue Friday led by Marsha Rappley, M.D., vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, university thought leaders delved into the hands-on work being done by a caliber of clinicians and researchers, whose initiatives represent innovation in their respective fields. The hourlong chat was an opportunity for the university community to ask questions about how funding will undergird the building of structures and strategies throughout the campus.

Rappley said the university is serious and purposeful in its effort to be frontrunners through innovation.

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Patients’ quality of life restored after brain surgery

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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.

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.

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VCU Medical Center re-verified as a Level I trauma center

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The Virginia Department of Health has re-verified Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center as a Level I trauma center. VCU Medical Center has been a state-designated trauma center since 1981, making it the longest-standing trauma center in the state. As part of the designation review, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the Evans-Haynes Burn Center received provisional designations as Level I pediatric trauma and burn centers, respectively. This is the first provisional designation offered by the state in burn and pediatric trauma medicine.

“This re-verification is a tribute to the excellence of care that is provided by all our VCU Health teams,” said Marsha Rappley, M.D., vice president of VCU Health Sciences and chief executive officer of VCU Health. “Treating burn patients requires a unique set of skills and expertise from wound care to plastic surgery. Treating children is no different. The work of our pediatric trauma team is another way VCU Health continues to advance children’s health in our community. This designation is continued recognition of the leadership in all aspects of patient-centered trauma care, education, research and injury prevention.”

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With help from VCU class, five Richmond-area immigrants sworn in as U.S. citizens

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VCU students pose with new U.S. citizens Daisy Pinto, Giancarlo Orsatti and Ariadna Rendon (center) outside the federal courthouse in downtown Richmond.

VCU students pose with new U.S. citizens Daisy Pinto, Giancarlo Orsatti and Ariadna Rendon (center) outside the federal courthouse in downtown Richmond.

Twelve years after leaving their native country of Mexico and settling in the Richmond area, siblings Giancarlo Orsatti and Ariadna Rendon became U.S. citizens this week, having been guided through the naturalization process by a service-learning course at Virginia Commonwealth University that assists the local immigrant population.

“Now we have a voice in our country. We can vote for president. And we now have more opportunities as citizens than as residents,” said Orsatti, an HIV counselor and psychology student at John Tyler Community College who will be transferring to VCU in the fall.

Orsatti and Rendon took part in a class taught by Anita Nadal (B.A.’05/H&S; Cert.’07/H&S), an assistant professor of Spanish, and her students at VCU that teaches Richmond-area immigrants English and prepares them for the U.S. citizenship test.

“It’s important to me because we’re now part of this country,” said Rendon, who works as a medical interpreter for VCU Health. “Before, we [lived here] but we didn’t fully belong. Now that we’re sworn in, we are committed to serve this country. It’s special.”

The brother and sister were among five students who took the class and were sworn in as U.S. citizens on Wednesday at the federal courthouse in downtown Richmond.

“There aren’t words to express how powerful it is to see the outcome of our service-learning course – the outcome of five new U.S. citizens,” Nadal said, outside the courthouse on Wednesday. “I’m just too emotional to describe how it feels. It’s just amazing.”

The class was supported by a $20,000 community engagement grant called “A Welcoming Richmond.” These grants are awarded annually by the Council for Community Engagement and administered by VCU’s Division of Community Engagement.

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VCU physician, a diehard cycling fan, subs as race starter for the Worlds

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VCU’s Lisa Brath, M.D., serves as a starter during the men’s under-23 individual time trial race Monday. Photo by Eric Futterman.

Lisa Brath, M.D. (H.S.’96/M), received what seemed like a random phone call at about 10:45 a.m. on Monday, but the call proved to be tailor-made just for her.

The caller was Alexa Warner (M.H.A.’14/AHP), associate director of marketing strategy for Virginia Commonwealth University Health, and she wanted to know what Brath was doing that morning. She had an opportunity for Brath related to the UCI Road World Championships, which would soon be starting its men’s under-23 individual time trial race.

“She says, ‘You want to come drop the flag before the race?’” said Brath, a VCU physician. “I said, ‘Really? Are you kidding? Yes!’”

And so, just 45 minutes later, as cyclist Sean MacKinnon of Canada waited poised on a raised partition on 3rd Street, Brath waved the white, UCI-labeled flag to signal the start of the men’s under-23 world championship race.

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VCU unveils new health system brand

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Virginia Commonwealth University has adopted a new brand to celebrate the rich legacy of its health system and its continuing commitment to world-class care. The new VCU Health brand unifies the entire organization under a single brand working toward one common purpose: to relentlessly explore new ways to improve human life.

The decision to develop the brand strategy was made after thoughtful, extensive research conducted with health system and university leadership, team members and the community. VCU Health represents the health care system’s breadth of services and demonstrates its commitment to quality outcomes across the continuum of care.

“Our brand is ultimately the experience we deliver,” said Marcos Irigaray, vice president of strategy, marketing and enterprise analytics, VCU Health. “Our brand architecture defines and clarifies who we are, what we stand for, and why we are different. It is much more than a logo – it is a reflection of all we do, including the quality of care we deliver, the teaching we provide, the new knowledge we create through research, and how we look, sound and behave. VCU Health is designed to create clarity and an instant connection and recognition for all those we serve.”

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VCU names Michigan State University’s Marsha Rappley to health system CEO post

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Marsha D. Rappley, M.D.

Marsha D. Rappley, M.D.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner, Michigan State University

Virginia Commonwealth University today announced that Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., will serve as Virginia Commonwealth University vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, effective Aug. 15.

In the position, Rappley will lead Virginia’s most comprehensive academic health sciences enterprise, which includes the VCU health system hospitals and outpatient clinics; the physician practice plan; the Medicaid health plan; the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Allied Health Professions; and the Massey Cancer Center.

Rappley currently serves as dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, with clinical, research and medical education operations at six campuses throughout the state that are affiliated with nine health systems and other health care providers.

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VCU Medical Center among first to receive prestigious accreditation

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Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center has become one of the nation’s first medical centers to complete the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s new accreditation program for Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers. The goal of the program is to improve the outcomes of patients with pulmonary hypertension, a debilitating disease of the lungs that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to right heart failure.

With symptoms that include breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness and chest pain, many pulmonary hypertension patients will see three or more physicians before they receive an accurate diagnosis. The survival rate for PH patients who go untreated is less than three years.

“We’re pleased that health care centers across the country are undergoing the rigorous review process to receive the special accreditation in the coming months,” said Murali Chakinala, M.D., from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and member of PHA’s Pulmonary Hypertension Association Oversight Committee. “In addition to providing lifesaving care for patients, these specialty care centers are a valuable resource for medical professionals, health insurers and families of people living with PH.”

“VCU Medical Center will improve the lives of more patients who know they have PH and many who have it and don’t know it.”

“There is an urgent need for medical institutions to accurately diagnose, treat and provide support for PH patients,” said Daniel C. Grinnan, M.D., associate professor of the Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at VCU Medical Center. “Our hope is that the PHA accreditation raises our profile to help us connect with health care professionals throughout our community to ensure that more people living with PH receive the right diagnosis early and accurately and that they will get the very best care available.”

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