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January 2012 Archives


Fourth-year students show early success in matching to training programs

Each year, Match Day looms as the milestone moment when fourth-year students learn where they’ll complete their residency training. In a process overseen by the National Resident Matching Program, tens of thousands of students from around the U.S. are matched to specialty training programs at medical centers nationwide.
But students interested in the highly competitive specialties of ophthalmology and urology have traditionally participated in an Early Match process. With much less fanfare, these students learn two months early what city they’ll call home for the next several years of their lives.

For our Class of 2012, it’s shaping up to be a remarkable year. Nearly all of our students who were aiming to match into these highly competitive specialties have made excellent matches.

Seven students matching to ophthalmology — five from this year’s graduating class and two from last year’s — are heading to stellar programs like Boston University, the Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai. The three would-be urologists — two from the Class of 2012 and one 2011 graduate — have been matched to the Universities of Michigan, Chicago and Louisville.

The military medical students also get an early look at what the future holds. The Air Force, Army and Navy coordinate their own residency matching program and, as a result, about a dozen students learned in December that they’re headed to programs stretching from Walter Reed to San Diego. They’ll be training in fields ranging from family medicine and pediatrics, to emergency medicine and anesthesiology, with four students opting for surgery.

A total of 14 fourth-year students have participated in a variety of military scholarship programs, which cover medical school tuition and fees. In exchange, after graduating, the students will serve one year of active duty for each year of scholarship support received. This year, three of the students elected to take a civilian deferment.

The remainder of the Class of 2012 is eagerly anticipating Friday, March 16 when, at noon, they’ll receive envelopes that contain the names of their residency programs. In a change from past years, Match Day has moved to the third Friday of March, instead of the traditional Thursday. This was done to accommodate another change in the Match Program that creates a standardized process for the yearly Scramble of unmatched students to find an unfilled program in their specialty. This will be the inaugural year of what is known as the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program that aims to institute a fair process for students who need to obtain a post-match appointment.


Alumnus honored for public policy contributions in nutrition field

Van S. Hubbard, M.D., Ph.D., has been awarded the 2012 Barney Sellers Public Policy Award from the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N).

Van S. Hubbard, M.D., Ph.D.

Hubbard, who earned both a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a medical degree on the MCV Campus in 1974, is director of the National Institutes of Health’s Division of Nutrition Research Coordination. He also serves as associate director for nutritional sciences at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He is responsible for development of research initiatives and management of research programs related to the nutritional sciences and obesity, coordinating over $1 billion in NIH Nutritional Sciences research activities.

As a Commissioned Corps Officer within the U.S. Public Health Service, Hubbard achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and served as an Assistant Surgeon General. He retired from uniformed service in October 2010 and transitioned to civilian service.

Hubbard has received many honors and has been awarded the USPHS Outstanding Service Medal as well as three Meritorious Service Medals. He is a diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. His major research interests are clinical nutrition, obesity, cystic fibrosis and nutritional modulation of disease risk.

The Barney Sellers Public Policy Award is given annually to an A.S.P.E.N. member who has significantly contributed to advancing the society’s advocacy goals. It carries the name of a former A.S.P.E.N. executive director who had a tremendous impact on public policy and advocacy during his 15-year tenure.

Read more about Hubbard’s recognition.


Metal-sculpting physician forges scholarship

John Saliba entered the University of Colorado with plans to go into the Air Force, like his father. But the discovery that he was color blind led to his leaving aeronautical engineering for a chemistry major, with no definite ideas on a career.

the Dr. E. John Saliba, Jr.

It wasn’t until 1962 that, flipping through a Life magazine, he came across an ad for A. H. Robins pharmaceutical company. A photo showed medical students perched in the theater-style rows of the Memorial Hospital surgical amphitheater. Accompanying copy described the rigors of medical training as frightening but essential groundwork: “For all through a doctor’s life, there are medical crises that give no warning. And only the most thorough preparedness can meet them.”

The ad went on to tout medicines developed in the Robins labs through a similar process of rigorous testing. But it was the notion of the medical field’s inherent challenges that sparked Saliba’s imagination. He’d found his calling.

By 1965, Saliba had accumulated enough credits to enter medical school, even without an undergraduate degree. With acceptances from three schools in hand, he opted for his first choice: MCV.

The in-state tuition was the right choice for his family’s finances, and he was impressed with its advanced technology and opportunities. “I remember seeing the modern four-channel polygraph machines in the physiology lab at MCV, at a time when old smoked kymographs were still in use at U.Va.”

He says “My experience at MCV was every bit as challenging and exciting as my fantasies were when I first saw the Life magazine ad.”

An interesting twist in his third year brought Saliba the opportunity to star in his own Robins ad. “It must have been fate,” said the member of the Class of 1969. “I felt like I had come full circle.”

Audra Stone

In 2010, the Class of 1969’s John Saliba retired from a fulfilling 30-year career as an emergency medicine physician at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. He now enjoys a new passion in metal sculpting. Pictured: The Heron

His 15-minutes of fame placed him in the May 24, 1968 issue of Time magazine that featured a Roy Lichtenstein illustration of Bobby Kennedy on the cover. The Robins ad describes the burden of costly medical training that medical students face – and this at a time when an in-state student like Saliba would have paid less than $2,000 in yearly tuition and fees.

Fast forward forty-plus years to an era when graduating students face an average debt of more than $156,000. Though approximately 87 percent of the student body received financial assistance last year, only 17 out of 177 students from the Class of 2011 graduated debt-free.

Saliba has been led to address that need for many years, making regular leadership-level gifts to the Annual Fund in support of student scholarships.

Last year, he was inspired to leave a permanent legacy with the creation of the Dr. E. John Saliba, Jr. Scholarship Fund. “I expect to add to it every year as conditions allow,” says Saliba, “so that it will be truly helpful to students in need.”

Read more about how scholarships help medical students.


Professor honored for exemplifying ideals of Sir William Osler

Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., M.Sc., was presented the John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award by the Harris County Medical Society on Jan. 13.

Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., M.Sc.

A professor and former chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, Wenzel is an internationally renowned expert on antibiotic resistance. The HCMS described him as an innovative and tough-minded individual with deep humanity who has been a champion in his discipline, training more than 50 fellows.

The organization recognized a number of his accomplishments and credited him with “boldly refocus[ing] the country’s smallpox vaccination debate from patriotism to risk-benefit when he achieved national recognition for being the first academic policy director opposing the premature vaccination of hospital workers.”

The medical society also noted his “stringent epidemiological methods have yielded path-breaking insights to the control of hospital infections” and that the journal he founded, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, continues to thrive after 30 years.

The Harris County Medical Society is the largest county medical society in the nation, with a membership of nearly 11,000 physicians and medical students. Along with the Houston Academy of Medicine, which is the scientific and charitable organization of HCMS physicians, it annually awards the prestigious John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award.

The national award recognizes a physician who exemplifies the ideals of Sir William Osler — medical excellence, humane and ethical care, commitment to medical humanities and writing, research and harmony between the academic and medical practitioner. The award is named after its first recipient, John P. McGovern, M.D., who founded the American Osler Society. Past recipients of the award include Michael E. DeBakey, M.D.

Read more about Wenzel’s recognition.


Professors’ research makes headlines in the NY Times

In the traumatic brain injury field, the work of Jeff Kreutzer, Ph.D., and Emilie Godwin, Ph.D., is well-known. Particularly as the two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation researchers travel around the country conducting training for health care professionals, as well as for patients and their families. They share the approaches that have proven successful on the MCV Campus for addressing the emotional, behavioral and cognitive changes that occur with brain injury.

Now their work is coming to the attention of a much wider audience through a front-page story in the Science section of the Jan. 10 edition of the New York Times. Taking a look at marital relationships after TBI, the article shares the challenges that couples face as they realize the brain injury has wrought permanent and dramatic personality changes in the injured spouse.

“Dr. Kreutzer and other psychologists at VCU are among the few therapists in the country trying to develop marriage counseling techniques tailored to couples dealing with brain injuries,” reports the article.

Read the NY Times article, When Injuries to the Brain Tear at Hearts.


Professor to receive the Virginia ACP’s Laureate Award

Professor of internal medicine John N. Clore, M.D., will be honored by the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians with its 2012 Laureate Award. He will receive the award during the awards luncheon at the chapter’s annual meeting on March 17 in Charlottesville.

John N. Clore, M.D.

John N. Clore, M.D., will be honored by the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians with its 2012 Laureate Award at the chapter’s annual meeting in March.

Each year, the ACP’s Virginia Chapter presents a single Laureate Award, honoring a fellow or master of the ACP who has demonstrated an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education or research as well as service to their community, their Chapter and the American College of Physicians.

Clore, whose research and clinical interests are in the field of diabetes, is also associate vice-president for clinical research and director of the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research. He led VCU’s successful application to join the nationwide consortium of research institutions working to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. The $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health — the largest federal award in the university’s history — made VCU the only academic health center in Virginia to be included in the national network.

Clore is also an accomplished teacher, having received the medical school’s Distinguished Mentor Award in 2008 for his significant contributions to the career development of others.

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Updated: 04/29/2016