The university celebrated the inauguration of Michael Rao, Ph.D., as VCU’s fifth president with two weeks of activities drawing attention to key priorities. Through various events, the president drew attention to the importance of research, student success, human health and community engagement to the university’s missions.
Two events hosted by the medical school gave Dr. Rao a first-hand view of our students’ commitment to those same priorities.
Jamie Friedman, Bobby Salazar, Dr. Ike Wood, Dr. Chris Woleben, Theo Woodson, Monica Rao, Dr. Mike Rao, Mohamed Hassanein, Sarah Elfeky, Chris Ray, Ran Lee and Drew Long.
Medical Students Lead Health Screenings
Students in the medical school regularly make the trek from the MCV Campus to the activity room at the Conrad Center. There, they organize health screenings that provide blood pressure and glucose checks as well as information on height and weight. For some attendees, it provides a way to track their high blood pressure or diabetes. For others, it sometimes provides a first warning of a potential problem. With oversight from medical school faculty, the students provide basic counseling and the occasional referral to a local health clinic such as CrossOver or the Daily Planet.
President Rao and his wife Monica were on hand for October’s health screening to witness medical students making a difference for the community. Organized by the Medical Student Government, the health screening is a welcome chance for students to get pre-clinical experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the first-year students who participate do so through a program in the medical school called Learners Involved in the Needs of Communities — or LINC for short — that requires first-year students to perform a minimum of 20 hours of service to the community.
President Rao speaks with Ph.D. candidate Yves Falanga, who is studying the involvement of Immunoglobulins G (IgG) in anaphylaxis as part of VCU’s Integrative Life Sciences program.
Research on Display
On Oct. 18, President Rao attended the 28th Annual Daniel T. Watts Research Symposium where he spoke with graduate students and post-doctoral scholars about their poster presentations. The two-day symposium featured nearly 100 different presentations of research with a total of 18 units represented, including students from the School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, VCU Life Sciences and the College of Humanities and Sciences.
The symposium was established to honor Watts, a nationally recognized pharmacologist who was the first Dean of School of Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies. Each year, the symposium is an excellent opportunity for reviewing ongoing research in the bioscience community at VCU. Coordinated through the medical school’s Office of Graduate Education, it also provides a venue for networking with colleagues and for faculty to encourage the students and support the breadth of basic science training programs offered at the university.