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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine discoveries

September 2011 Archives

28
2011

Young alumnus puts skills to work internationally

With recent passport stamps from Mexico and Haiti, you have to wonder what’s up with the Class of 2009’s Vincent Roddy who, last we checked, had headed north for an emergency medicine residency.

Vincent Roddy

Now a third-year resident in Mount Sinai’s emergency medicine department, Roddy spent much of his summer doing humanitarian work in Oaxaca, Mexico and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Roddy traveled first to Haiti with Project Medishare, a non-profit organization that operates a hospital staffed by volunteer physicians from around the world. “Many areas of the country lack basic utilities, let alone health care,” said Roddy, who saw tent neighborhoods and evidence of earthquake damage during his week-long stay. When he arrived, he learned that he’d be staffing the nightshift as the sole physician on duty. Assisted by nurses from the United States and a few volunteers, he was responsible for patients in the inpatient ward, ICU and Emergency Department as well as assessing and triaging any who arrived overnight. Nevertheless, he says “I can see why people like working there: you really have to put your knowledge to the test.”

His month-long stay in Mexico took him to the largest hospital in Oaxaca, where patient care and supervising less experienced residents served as a daily training ground for his admittedly limited Spanish.

While in Oaxaca, he had his first encounter with neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease of the nervous system that, while rare in the United States, is the most common cause of acquired epilepsy in developing countries. “The doctors did not have readily available access to MRI scanners or CT scanners with IV contrast. As a result, we ultimately made the diagnosis via the clinical history and suspicion as well as seeing very small, calcified lesions on the head CT. It was really interesting and somewhat thrilling to see how other physicians work and make use of the resources available to them.” Due to immigration from Latin America in recent years, the U.S. is seeing an increase in cases of neurocysticercosis, which is acquired from contact with carriers of the adult tapeworm.

Back in New York City, Roddy is active with the non-profit leadership program New York Needs You. Last year, he was one of 50 mentors to the program’s inaugural class of first generation college students. He currently serves on the Junior Executive Board of the non-profit as well as on the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Admissions Committee.

Read Roddy’s profile on the New York Needs You website.

28
2011

ABC News calls on VCU professor for hypertension answers

The Class of 1975’s Domenic Sica, M.D., provided perspective for an ABC News Web story that reported new findings on hypertension. Published in the journal Neurology, the findings revealed that study subjects with prehypertension also have an increased risk of stroke.

Sica, now a professor in the medical school’s Department of Internal Medicine, directs the Hypertension Clinic and works closely with free-standing clinics and health care providers in the greater Richmond area to provide both education and treatment in the area of hypertension.

“Quantifying risk may be useful [to] guide the clinician on selecting a drug therapy in someone in whom lifestyle measures are inadequate,” Sica told ABC News.
After earning his medical degree in 1975, Sica remained on the MCV Campus to complete his internal medicine residency training. In 2009, he was honored with the MCV Physicians’ Distinguished Clinical Award.

Read ABC News’ online coverage.

26
2011

Grassroots effort grows into $10-million Parkinson’s Center

The Movers and Shakers began as a breakfast group of friends touched by Parkinson’s disease. They’ve grown into a grassroots movement that culminated last week in the opening of a $10-million comprehensive center for the research and treatment of the disease.

A story on the front of the Sept. 26 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Metro section chronicles the effort: Parkinson’s Sufferers Mix Humility With Clout.

10
2011

Pediatric emergency room wins grand prize for brightest IDEA

Last winter, the Pediatric Emergency Department opened amid much fanfare. The rainforest-themed state-of-the-art facility was designed to provide the region’s highest level of pediatric emergency care in spacious treatment areas that allow patients and families privacy and comfort in the most stressful of times.

Designed by the architectural firm HKS, the $4.2 million pediatric emergency room has now won kudos from the design field. It has earned the Grand Prize in the 2011 awards competition for the Virginia and West Virginia chapters of the International Interior Design Association and the American Society of Interior Designers. The Interior Design Excellence Awards — or IDEA Awards — honor projects in multiple categories, from healthcare and corporate to residential. The Grand Prize, known as the Brightest IDEA Award, is selected as the best of the best from all categories. The Pediatric Emergency Department project also won its Contract Healthcare Category.

When the department opened in December, Robin Foster, M.D., director of pediatric emergency services with Children’s Hospital of Richmond, said, “It is a privilege to serve the children of the greater Richmond area, and these children and their families deserve to receive care in a facility of this caliber.”

Read more about the Pediatric Emergency Department and watch a video that spotlights its unusual design.