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School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

January 2015 Archives

January 26, 2015

Match season off to a good start with success for students matching in Urology, Ophthalmology

Results are in for students hoping to train in Ophthalmology and Urology — two highly-competitive specialties that have traditionally conducted early Match processes. Again this year, hopeful applicants outnumbered residency slots, and I am proud to see that all our students applying to these specialties have matched to strong residency programs.

Three current students and one former graduate saw success in the 2015 Ophthalmology Residency Match:
• Steven Fish – West Virginia University Eye Institute ( Morgantown, W.Va.)
• Katherine McCabe – New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (New York, N.Y.)
• Adam Pflugrath – VCU School of Medicine (Richmond, Va.)
• John Le, M’12 – VCU School of Medicine (Richmond, Va.)

Both the students participating in the Urology Match have secured positions:
• Zachary McDowell – Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas)
• Jordan Southern – Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, Penn.)

In addition, 11 students have participated in a variety of military scholarship programs, which cover medical school tuition and fees. In exchange, after graduating, the students will serve one year of active duty for each year of scholarship support received. This year, three of the students elected to take a civilian deferment, and we are proud to see the remainder have matched into the specialties of their choice:
• Geoff Bader – Internal Medicine at Keesler AFB
• Erin Connor – Family Medicine at Madigan AMC
• Albert Marle – Internal Medicine at Eisenhower AMC
• Barbara Saber – Ob-Gyn at Portsmouth NMC
• Matthew Schorr – Transitional Year at Eisenhower AMC
• Philip Sholes – General Surgery at Walter Reed AMC
• Scott Toney – Pediatrics San Diego at NMC
• Brittany Wootten – Emergency Medicine at Portsmouth NMC

The Urology, Ophthalmology and Military match processes are independent of the National Resident Matching Program.

Recent years have seen the National Resident Matching Program become an ever-more competitive process. I’m glad to report that our medical school’s graduating class typically equals or exceeds the national average of students matching. We’ve also been nationally recognized for the proactive measures we take to ensure strong matches. Our students benefit from a toolkit developed by Christopher Woleben, M’97, H’01. He’s our Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and his toolkit helps him identify and troubleshoot potential issues our students might encounter. It’s proven to be so valuable that the AAMC published and shared the toolkit with its members nationwide. Since then, other institutions have looked to Dr. Woleben for guidance on dealing with potential Match problems.

When the clock strikes noon on Friday, March 20, envelopes will be handed out from coast to coast at our nation’s medical schools. I wish our students well as they finalize their rank order lists and prepare for that momentous day.

Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

January 25, 2015

Dean Strauss’ salute to Sheldon Retchin

Sheldon Retchin, M.D., H’79

Sheldon Retchin, M.D.

Sheldon Retchin, M.D., H’79, first arrived on the MCV Campus in 1976 as a trainee. This month he departs, having risen to the posts of Senior VP for Health Sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System.

He is headed to Ohio State University where he’ll lead its Wexner Medical Center, and they’re fortunate to get him.

His leadership was one of the reasons I chose to come to Richmond in 2005, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to work closely with him over these past nine years. That experience has shaped my life, in professional, personal and lasting ways.

His energy and vision has transformed our campus. He’s overseen about a half-billion dollars in new construction in the last decade alone. He’s led a hospital, a physician practice plan and a Medicaid HMO that’s won acclaim as one of the few cost-effective programs for caring for an inner city, uninsured population.

That same concern for patients birthed his goal for us to become America’s safest health system. He’s seen us on our way to achieving that: our progress was honored last year with the AHA–McKesson Quest for Quality Prize.

Those initiatives have created a great training environment for the more than 4,500 students enrolled in VCU’s health science schools. The students have a true respect and affection for him. That was in evidence last year when the medical school’s graduating class of 2014 asked him to be its convocation speaker. Dr. Retchin responded with the unforgettable story of Otis, a blues-playing toll-booth attendant who became his friend and eventual patient. In Otis’ memory, Dr. Retchin himself pulled out a harmonica to deliver his own blues riff.

I will always admire the humor, enthusiasm, dedication and, yes, musicality that he brought to his responsibilities. Our campus carries his indelible mark. He deserves to be proud of the work he’s done. And I am grateful to call him my friend.

Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System