U.S. News & World Report has recognized VCU Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in the Richmond metro area for the eighth consecutive year, and as the No. 2 hospital in Virginia for 2018-19. VCU Medical Center also ranks among the top 50 in the country for urology, nephrology, orthopedics, and diabetes and endocrinology, increasing the number of nationally recognized specialties at the academic medical center from two to four compared to last year.
VCU Massey Cancer Center is the first in the region to use a new FDA-approved device that guides surgeons in locating and removing breast tumors. Named Magseed, the device is a simpler, more effective alternative to traditional methods.
Nearly 50 percent of breast tumors are not felt by touch at the time of diagnosis. In these cases, a technique called wire localization traditionally has been used to mark the tumor for surgeons to remove during a lumpectomy. Wire localization involves a thin wire being inserted into the tumor by a radiologist, who uses a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI as a guide.
William Gregory Hundley, M.D. (M.D.’88/M), has joined as its inaugural director. A Richmond native and VCU School of Medicine alumnus, Hundley is recognized for studying the impact of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on heart health, advancing treatment options for patients in need of cardiovascular and oncology care. He also will serve as clinical director of noninvasive cardiology at VCU Medical Center and on the senior advisory committee at VCU Massey Cancer Center as a member of Massey’s Cancer Prevention and Control research program.
A surgeon at the VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center is the first on the East Coast to successfully complete a kidney implantation using the da Vinci Surgical System. Along with an interdisciplinary medical team, Chandra Bhati, M.D., associate professor of surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, implanted a kidney from a living organ donor to a recipient on June 19. During robotic-assisted kidney implantations, the surgeon relies on the surgical system’s robotic arms to complete the procedure and does not use hands to assist with the surgery.
“With this surgery, we are able to offer kidney transplantation to obese people who traditionally have been denied the procedure,” Bhati said, emphasizing that the main benefit of robotic-assisted kidney transplantation is the availability to people who are obese. In obese people whose body mass index is between 35 and 40, the wound infection rate with traditional kidney transplantation is between 30 and 40 percent. The increased risk of infections and other complications leads most transplant surgeons to recommend against kidney transplantation for obese patients.
CHoR is the only hospital in Virginia to rank in the nephrology and pulmonology categories. The hospital rose from No. 45 to No. 41 in nephrology and ranked No. 43 in pulmonology. This is the fifth time CHoR has been ranked for kidney care and its first ranking in pulmonology.
“I’m truly proud of our team for earning this national recognition — not for the acknowledgement or the shiny badges — but for the thousands of children from Virginia and beyond who benefit from our kidney and respiratory programs,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of CHoR. “Our decrease in asthma-related emergency room visits, excellent outcomes for patients with cystic fibrosis, and impressive kidney transplant program are all examples of how we are dedicated to continuing to advance children’s health in our community. Families can find expert care in all of pediatric medicine close to home.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.