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School of Medicine discoveries

January 2011 Archives


The day PBS discovered the success of cooling victims of cardiac arrest

An innovative protocol at the VCU Medical Center induces hypothermia in victims of cardiac arrest and has produced some remarkable results, nearly doubling the return of spontaneous circulation.

The strategy, the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation, calls for paramedics to start the cooling efforts in the field, in many cases, even before the heart could be restarted. Chairman of Emergency Medicine Joseph Ornato, M.D., and Mary Ann Peberdy, M.D., of the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Cardiology, developed the approach known as ARCTIC — Advanced Resuscitation Cooling Therapeutics and Intensive Care Center.

The approach has garnered attention in the cardiology field and in the lay press. Most recently, that attention came in the form of PBS’ award-winning series NOVA, the highest rated science series on television.

You can watch NOVA’s Can We Live Forever episode (the segment begins around the 47 minute mark) or tune directly to the segment.


The day the Wall Street Journal called on Steven Woolf for perspective on preventive health services

As health care reform brings new access to preventive services, the Wall Street Journal took a look at some of the cost and usage implications of those services in its January 18 column, The Informed Patient.

Columnist Laura Landro featured the perspectives of a number of experts, including Steven Woolf, M.D., M.P.H., professor of family medicine and a past member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

“The right question is not whether it saves money, but whether we are getting a good value for the nation’s health care dollar and saving as many lives as we can with each dollar we spend,” Woolf told the Wall Street Journal. “The spirit behind the law is to remove those barriers, increase the use of preventive services, and reduce the disease burden of the country.”

Read the Wall Street Journal column, Unexpected Limits of New, Free Preventive Care.


The day six faculty were recognized for their service to the National Board of Medical Examiners

All U.S. physicians must pass three national licensing exams to demonstrate they possess the core competencies to practice medicine. Known as Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, the tests are developed and managed by the National Board of Medical Examiners, with the help of hundreds of medical faculty from around the country.

The NBME recently acknowledged the help of six faculty in the medical school who volunteered their time and expertise in 2010.

Four faculty served as test committee members, developing and reviewing the test questions from which the USMLE is composed. The NBME carefully chooses test committee members for the challenging task, selecting talented individuals who are highly respected by their peers.

  • Isaac K. “Ike” Wood, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education and student affairs, developed and reviewed behavioral sciences test questions for the Step 1 exam
  • Edward J. N. Ishac, Ph.D., director of the second-year pharmacology course, developed and reviewed pharmacology and biochemistry questions for the Step 1 exam
  • Diane M. Biskobing, M.D., director of the second-year endocrine course, developed and reviewed physiology and cell biology questions for the Step 1 exam
  • Douglas S. Franzen, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine and Curriculum Council member, developed and reviewed computer-based case simulation questions for the Step 3 exam

After test questions are developed, the Interdisciplinary Review Committee reviews and approves all items that will be included in the test item library, ensuring the accuracy and currency of all the questions. Wood also served on the IRC for the Step 1 exam, as did James L. Levenson, M.D., professor of psychiatry.

In addition, Michael F. Weaver, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, reviewed the substance use disorders content of the USMLE exams.


The day alum Sally Hanson’s service in Sudan was front page news

The front page of the Jan. 14 edition of the Roanoke Times featured the Class of 2006’s Sally Hanson. She recently returned from Sudan where she spent three months delivering babies and providing emergency obstetric care with Doctors Without Borders.

Hanson spoke with the newspaper about Sudan’s culture of having a big family. “Between war and infectious diseases, half your kids are gone.” In the days following a birth, she would notice a hesitancy to become too attached on the part of mothers. But, “it was neat to see how they bonded with their babies, once they realized that this baby was going to make it.”

Read the article, Roanoke native delivers hope in Sudan, in which Hanson talks about her experience, as well as Sudan’s historic referendum.


The day the iPad moved into the OR

In the January 2011 issue of the “Journal of Surgical Radiology,” Felasfa Wodajo, M.D., reports on the iPad’s usefulness in the hospital and operating room. He chronicles his own experiences with the device as well as that of other surgeons.

An assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery on the Inova campus, Wodajo is also medical director of the Inova Health System’s Musculoskeletal Tumor Program.

“The iPad clearly has the potential to be very useful in the hospital and in the operating theater,” he writes, noting particularly that its “portable image repository of my patients … has been very useful in the operating room, office and in casual hallway discussions with colleagues.”

Read Wodajo’s column online, The iPad in the Hospital and Operating Room, beginning on page 19 of the journal.

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Updated: 04/29/2016