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School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

May 2018 Archives

May 31, 2018

Outstanding contributions of our faculty, staff, students and alumni

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

One of the things that makes our medical school special is how our alumni engage with their alma mater long past graduation. We have three outstanding recent examples of that, and I thought you’d like to know more about them:

  • Cardiac surgeon Jennifer Lawton, H’99, returned as the 2018 Brooks-Lower Visiting Professor and guest judge for the Department of Surgery’s research day. Department of Surgery Chair Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., says the department was looking to bring in someone with significant interest in research and a practicing surgeon. They found both in Lawton. “She is a great researcher and a great surgeon, and very well known in the profession.”
  • Alumni volunteer John McGurl from the Class of 1993 has earned our thanks. He opened his home to host the school’s inaugural Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club this spring. The events allow small groups of students to have a meal and conversation with Richmond-area alumni as a venue for sharing ideas, seeking career advice and building relationships. For alumni, it’s a novel way to stay involved with their alma mater. In fact, “It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Dr. McGurl told us, “I would have had another one the next day.”
  • After residency, Eric Freeman, M’02, returned to Richmond to fulfill his life-long aspiration to practice in his hometown. Now he’s returned to campus as the speaker at the medical school’s Second Look program that gives applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities a chance to explore the school’s programs in more depth. Each year, a weekend of activities is organized by the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Outreach, along with VCU’s chapters of the Student National Medical Association and Latino Medical Student Association. The Admissions Office’s Donna Jackson, Ed D., says Dr. Freeman serves as a role model of a commitment to community service. “As a student, he always expressed a desire to serve in communities of need in Richmond and continued that when he returned to Richmond after residency. Our current students can be inspired by Dr. Freeman’s journey to set goals that continually include service to others. Whether at home or in a new city or state, we want our students to give back.”

You’ll find more stories of alumni contributions in the spring issue of 12th and Marshall magazine that’s hot off the presses. Also in this issue we’ve spotlighted the highly accomplished colleagues who lead our 26 departments. We want our readers to get to know these leaders, and we’ve begun with Tony Kuzel, M.D., and John Povlishock.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading these stories.

Warm Regards,
Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

May 30, 2018

The passing of Saba Masho, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

Dear Colleagues-Friends:

It is with tremendous sadness that I share the news that Saba Masho, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., passed away on May 28, 2018 after a long illness.

Saba Masho, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

Saba Masho, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

Dr. Masho was a valued member of the medical school’s community since 2001 and served as professor and chair of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health.

With appointments in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as in the Department of Psychology in VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences, her research has been supported by funders as diverse as the federal government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Richmond City Health Department. More than 100 peer-reviewed publications, monographs and book chapters chronicle her research in the areas of perinatal health, youth violence prevention and provision of comprehensive care to underserved families.

Her career was marked by an admirable commitment to mentorship and to her community.

At the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, Dr. Masho directed Community Engaged Research and, in 2016, she and Professor of Psychology Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., were awarded a $6 million, five-year, CDC grant to work with Richmond communities to promote healthy communities and reduce the rate of violence.

Dr. Masho also served as graduate programs director for the Division of Epidemiology, overseeing the M.P.H. and Ph.D. programs. A popular mentor, she formally mentored more than 80 graduate students, medical students and medical residents as well as 20 Ph.D. students as dissertation chair or committee member. Since 2008 Dr. Masho has served as the VCU SOM Women and Science liaison with the AAMC to support advancement of women in science. Just last fall her contributions were honored with the Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement “WISDM” Award.

Her guidance, friendship and service has shaped our school and community in lasting ways. Her influence will continue to be felt by her colleagues and mentees as we practice the lessons she taught us. Dr. Masho was an inspirational leader. The impact that her work has had in so many areas of critical public health needs also serves as an inspiration to us. Dr. Masho really made a difference, she will be sorely missed.

She leaves behind a husband and two young daughters. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. The family has indicated that any of Saba’s friends and colleagues are welcome to attend any or all of the funeral events.

Funeral is on Sunday, June 3, 2018
Viewing (open to all) 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Service 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Funeral/burial 12:30 p.m.

Funeral service address:
Woody Funeral Home
1020 Huguenot Road
Midlothian, Virginia 23113

Burial place address:
West Hampton Memorial and Cremation Park
10000 Patterson Avenue

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System
Dean, VCU School of Medicine

May 21, 2018

Outstanding news about our federal translational research grant

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Earlier today, with the support of Governor Northam, we announced the $21.5 M federal grant to VCU for our Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA).

Many of you have contributed to this major institutional achievement.  Thank you for all your effort and support.  We owe particular thanks to Dr. Gerry Moeller, Principal Investigator for our CTSA (called the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research; CCTR) for his visionary leadership and patience during the lengthy review process.  We are also most grateful to Mr. Kenneth Wright, whose kind support endowed the CCTR and thus created a public-private partnership that will endure through the CCTR.

To put the significance of this award in context, there are over 50 institutions nationally with CTSAs and of those, there are only some 20 public institutions like ours that have both a CTSA and a NCI-designated Cancer Center… and we are currently the only CTSA in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This award will enable us to support early career investigators in their efforts to pursue translational research.  It will also enable and encourage us further in our collaborations with research intensive universities and healthcare systems in Virginia and beyond. This collaborative work will advance discoveries and knowledge so as to improve human health and wellbeing. The opportunities that the CTSA provides will also make our institution even more attractive for talented people who are considering joining us.

Later this afternoon, at 4:30 pm in the Learning Theater of McGlothlin Medical Education Center, we have a General Faculty meeting. Please join us to hear Dr. Moeller talk more about the impact of this prestigious new federal grant. Please also share this excellent news at relevant medical student, resident, and staff meetings… it’s a big deal!

Thanks for your leadership.

With every good wish,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

May 8, 2018

Outstanding contributions of our faculty, staff, students and alumni

Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Spring brings milestone events to the medical school, and I thought you would like to know about some particularly noteworthy items:

  • With 54 medical students participating, the 2018 Medical Student Research Day showcased more posters than ever before. Michael Donnenberg, M.D., our senior associate dean for research and research training commented that “We saw everything from ion channels to Twitter.” Top prize went to the Class of 2020’s Hameeda A. Naimi for her research conducted under the mentorship of Surgery’s Adam P. Klausner, M.D.  Naimi’s first place finish comes with an award of $1,000 that’s made possible by the G. Watson James III, M.D. Scholarship Endowment.
  • As the medical school marks its 100th anniversary of admitting women, the family of Cristina Page is marking its own milestone. The Class of 2018’s Page is the third-generation of female physicians in her family. “I am so fortunate to have a couple of generations of women ahead of me who showed me that it’s all possible,” she says. “There is nothing holding me back.”
  • The second annual Medical Education Symposium provided an opportunity to showcase and share with colleagues unique projects and practices for education innovation. Presentations included the use of holographic “enhanced reality” technology to help teach urogynecological surgical procedures, teamwork-building in first-year medical students and leadership-skill development among pediatric residents.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading their stories.

Warm Regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

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