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School of Medicine discoveries

June 2011 Archives


The day Ian Nixon was honored by the American Heart Association

Ian Nixon, M.D., FACC, FAHAIan Nixon, M.D., FACC, FAHA, professor of medicine with the Department of Internal Medicine, was recently honored by the American Heart Association with its Award of Meritorious Achievement.

The award recognizes individuals for accomplishments that affect the association at a national level, and Nixon was honored for his exceptional contributions as editor of two editions of “The AHA Clinical Cardiac Consult Book.” The text is regarded as a fast, reliable source of guidance for diagnosis and management of cardiovascular problems.

The award was presented on June 22 at an Awards Luncheon in Dallas, Texas.

Nixon joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1986 as a cardiology professor and director of the echocardiography laboratories and heart station. His areas of academic interests include ischemic heart disease and its evaluation. He has published more than 110 original papers, book chapters and review articles and presented more than 170 abstracts at international, national and regional scientific meetings.

Nixon is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the AHA’s Councils of Clinical Cardiology and Circulation and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Learn more about the AHA award.


The day the Times-Dispatch told patient Kelsie Tyler’s story

When Kelsie Tyler was a freshman high school student, she suffered a stroke that left her future in doubt. But now, as she graduates from Richmond Community High School with an advanced studies diploma, she has plans for a career in the health care field.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Tyler credits her recovery to “her neurosurgeon, Dr. Gary W. Tye, the staffs of VCU Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, and Richmond school system speech pathologist Cheyenne Moss, among others.”

Tye, a member of the medical school’s class of 1998, elected to stay on at the MCV Campus for his residency training in neurosurgery. He joined the medical school’s faculty in 2005 after completing a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Rather than slowing her down, Tyler’s months-long hospital stay and intensive rehabilitation gave her a source of inspiration. She has volunteered at the VCU Medical Center and become an advocate for children’s health care. Now she’ll begin her pursuit of a health care career and continue her association with VCU when she enrolls as a freshman this fall.

Read Kelsie Tyler’s story.


Alumna honored for contributions in Philadelphia

The Class of 1974’s Edith Mitchell, M.D., has been named the 2011 Practitioner of the Year from the Philadelphia County Medical Society.

Edith Mitchell, M.D.

Mitchell, clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, was recognized for excellence in clinical care and community service at the PCMS President’s Ball on June 11 in Lafayette Hill, Pa.
“For over 165 years, this society has been advocating for the best in healthcare for all the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Mitchell, who is also associate director for diversity programs at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. “It’s a great honor to be part of those efforts and recognized for it with this award.”

After earning her medical degree on the MCV Campus in 1974, she completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Meharry Medical College and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Georgetown University. Mitchell entered active duty after completing her training and is now a retired Brigadier General from the United States Air Force.

Read more about Mitchell’s career helping individuals in underserved areas and conducting research in pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal malignancies. She has authored and co-authored more than 100 articles, book chapters, and abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention and cancer control.


The day the Tampa Tribune tapped Peter Boling for his view on house calls

In its June 10 edition, the Tampa Tribune reported on the growing interest in the potential for house calls to save costs as well as improve care for those patients who have great difficulty in getting to a doctor’s office.

The article, Medicare, private insurers exploring house calls to save money, includes the view of Internal Medicine Professor Peter Boling, M.D., who helped craft language for the Independence at Home Act that was built into last year’s health care reform legislation.

In the article, Boling lists three ways that house calls could benefit patients and insurers. “By going to [patients], you make it much more possible for them to have the care that they need, when they need it,” he told the Tampa Tribune.


Cancer education video brings home a Telly Award

And the award goes to …

This year, it goes to “It’s a Big Decision,” a 25-minute video that guides African-American men through making an informed choice on whether to undergo screening for prostate cancer.

That may not seem like standard fodder for the Telly Awards that are known for honoring local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, video and film productions and work created for the Web.

But this is not your typical educational video. In fact, from its inception, Alton Hart Jr., M.D., M.P.H., envisioned a culturally relevant guide that engaged the imagination even as it helped men weigh the pros and cons and sort through differing screening recommendations.

He knew he’d need help along the way, and so he developed a network of community barbershops that were open to partnering with him. Through one-on-one interviews spanning many months, Hart asked questions of the barbershop patrons – representative voices of the men he ultimately hopes to influence. He received answers that guided the script and even the choice of which actors would bring life to the questions that men must confront.

With narration provided by Daphne Maxwell Reid, known by many as Aunt Viv on NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” the resulting video follows the story-lines of three men. As entertaining as it is educational, Hart’s video appropriately premiered last winter at Richmond’s Bow-Tie Cinemas.

Now with a Telly Award in the video and film category, the video has been loaded onto hand-held, touch screen computers that are being tested for usability by barbershop patrons. Hart is requesting funding from National Institutes of Health for additional testing and, meanwhile, is preparing to present it to a new audience at the American Public Health Association’s film festival in Washington D.C. this November.

He’s also talking with VCU’s Intellectual Property office to copyright the video. If he decides to eventually offer it for sale, he’d like profits to go to a foundation that works to improve the health of African-American men.

An associate professor of internal medicine, Hart is also associate scientific director of the Center on Health Disparities. His initial work on the project was supported by a five-year career development grant from the American Cancer Society. If the video proves effective, he’d like it to be adapted to other health-care decisions facing African-American men.

Learn more about Hart’s research.


The summer dozens of students discovered global health

This summer, dozens of medical students will put their newly acquired medical knowledge to use in remote villages around the globe. They are travelling as part of a few student-organized relief trips that will take them to Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Honduras.

In an article in the June 4 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Broader Horizons Make Better Doctors, Steve Crossman, M.D., explained how medical relief trips provide a benefit that extends beyond the international peoples who receive assistance.

“We know that for a lot of these students, what they learn will impact how they practice medicine for the rest of their careers,” he told the Times-Dispatch. He pointed to studies that follow students who have participated in these trips, “when they finish their training they are more likely to be doctors who go out into underserved communities in the United States to practice medicine.”

A graduate of the medical school’s Class of 1995, Crossman is now on faculty as an associate professor of family medicine and medical director of the International/Inner City/Rural Preceptorship Program.

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Updated: 04/29/2016