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March 2017 Archives


The Class of 06’s Adrian Holloway: A Passion for Global Medicine

Adrian Holloway, M'06

As part of his work as program director of the University of Maryland’s first-of-its-kind Global Health Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, Adrian J. Holloway, M’06, will assist in coordinating the efforts to develop the first pediatric intensive care unit in Malawi.
Photography: Skip Rowland

Adrian J. Holloway, M’06, has traveled the world – to some of the most dangerous countries, by State Department reckoning – as an educator and cardiac intensivist. He’s treated children fleeing ISIS in northern Iraq, malaria victims in Malawi and earthquake survivors in Haiti.

What’s he learned?

“No matter where you go, mothers are the same. They know when their child is sick, and they know when their child is healthy.”

Holloway, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, plans to make sure more of them stay healthy. It’s part of his work as program director of the Global Health Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, the first of its kind, and it’s given him the chance to assist in coordinating the efforts to develop the first pediatric intensive care unit in Malawi.

Mothers often do know best, he says. In one memorable case in Iraq, a mother insisted that her child was not progressing properly after a surgery to fix a heart defect. Though physicians believed he was recovering, the mother persisted until a cardiac fluid pocket was discovered. When properly draining, the patient recovered quickly.

“There is such a sense of joy when a patient is healing,” Holloway says.

Though he didn’t participate in mission trips abroad as a VCU student, Holloway was pulled into global medicine by a friend soon after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. There, he discovered a calling, treating the world’s neediest patients in often-primitive facilities.

“I have fallen in love with the idea of high-tech advanced care in places that many feel aren’t ready for it,” he says. “I really think those are the places where we need technology and telemedicine the most.

“There is a prevailing thought that the only way to impact health care in emerging economies is to provide only basic, primary-care driven assistance. Because many countries are beginning to excel at initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality, improving maternal-fetal health and improving access to vaccines, our new avenues have to be focused on what happens to these children once they survive infancy. This is not limited to just cardiac care, but to interventions and treatments involving cancer, trauma and burn as well as sepsis.”

Holloway shared his experiences with current and prospective medical students at a recent Second Look program on the MCV Campus. The program gives applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities a chance to explore the School of Medicine’s programs in more depth.

Each year, a weekend of activities is organized by the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Outreach along with the MCV Campus’ chapters of the Student National Medical Association and Latino Medical Student Association. The weekend offers opportunities to interact with faculty and students in a more relaxed atmosphere than the usual formal tours and interviews. Holloway was president of SNMA during his time at VCU.

During his talk, he encouraged students to remember the importance of giving back to communities – and to paying it forward for other physicians-to-be.

“I’m here because of the work of someone else,” he said, noting that he did his residency in a Florida hospital where his grandmother had been a nurse many years before. “Medicine is a legacy.”

Holloway is proud to be able to save children who only a few years ago might not have survived – and looks forward to helping them lead healthy lives. He’s had mothers comment that they’re surprised their child is “so pink” after cardiac treatments that make them better. “Color change in a child can bring so much hope,” he says. “This is a child that’s going to be able to go to school, or play soccer and have all the childhood experiences.”

Finding a passion, as he has for global health, will make today’s students better physicians. “They’re going to make someone’s life better. And they’ll do it over and over and over again.”

By Lisa Crutchfield


M4 Michael Krouse completes 50-mile ultramarathon

One week after Match Day, the Class of 2017’s Michael Krouse headed into difficult terrain — a 50-mile run in the frigid cold and sweltering heat of Monument Valley, located within the Navajo Nation in Arizona. He completed the ultramarathon in 13 hours and 45 minutes and shares his experience of training and inspiration below.

Michael Krouse completed the Monument Valley 50 Miler during his fourth year of medical school.

Michael Krouse completed the Monument Valley 50 Miler during his fourth year of medical school, working in training runs on the residency interview trail and to-and-from the hospital during his ICU rotation.

The Monument Valley 50 Miler included a 1,000-foot climb up a mesa via a boulder-laden, single track mining road; a 10-mile stretch through deep, loose sand; and, for me at least, a pitch-black, headlamp-lit game of hide-and-go-seek with trail markers to finish.

Before medical school, I’d completed numerous marathons as well as the Bethel Hill 50 Miler and relished the thought of returning to ultramarathons. There isn’t a lot of time to train during both the pre-clinical and clinical years but I have been fortunate to run with a diverse group of friends who all share a passion for running.

VCU School of Medicine does a terrific job of admitting students with a wide range of backgrounds and interests — Division I athletes, researchers, teachers, businessmen and businesswomen, aspiring cardiologists, emergency medicine physicians, pediatricians and surgeons. Running brought many of us together on early morning 4-mile runs before class and Saturday morning long runs during the pre-clinical years. This awesome group of friends kept my spirits high those first two years and kept me in maintenance-shape for this 50-mile run.

As the clinical years drew to a close and the residency interview season started, I began toying with the idea of running another ultramarathon. I’ve always enjoyed pushing my limits — doing the Mile Swim as a Boy Scout, cycling the shores of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans to Kenner, Louisiana, as a middle schooler and hiking Half Dome in Yosemite as a high schooler. Running ultras was perhaps a natural progression.

So I ran at every stop on the residency interview trail as a way to see each city through a unique lens and keep up with training. When I traveled to my hometown of New Orleans for Thanksgiving, I accomplished a homegrown marathon with, of course, a portion along Bourbon Street. The hardest part came when the interview trail ended and I began my ICU rotation at VCU Health.

Knowing there would be no time to train on this rotation, in which the team is caring for medically complicated patients, I chose to run to school in the mornings, shower and eat in the medical student on-call room, help the team, and run back home. There were some mornings, especially in early January, when the roads were slick with ice and I had to don YakTraks — spike-attachments for shoes — to run. That was an adventure in its own right!

As the race grew closer and the ICU month ended, I relied on my roommates — the Class of 2017’s Claire Lauer, Adam Sadik and Cameron Sumner, as well as Camille Hochheimer, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biostatistics — to keep me safe on training runs lasting 30 and 40 miles up and down the James River, Pocahontas State Park and the Virginia Capital Trail.

We would check in via text periodically and I’d also turn on the Find Friends app on my iPhone so they could track my progress. I could not have done this run without my roommates and Camille.

Paying it forward
Training for the race also highlighted the need for adaptive sports in the Greater Richmond area. Following my acting internship in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, VCU Health’s William O. McKinley, M.D., put me in touch with Sportable, a Richmond nonprofit providing adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for people with physical and visual disabilities.

I spent a month-long internship with Sportable. Part of that internship was assisting with wheelchair basketball practice. After watching the kids practice and talking with them about their stories and the challenges they have faced, I wanted to do more for them and for the organization which adds so much quality to their life. If some good could come out of such a difficult task, in addition to completing the race, I would feel content.

So I started a fundraiser for Sportable and began raising awareness about adaptive sports via social media. I’m a member of the International, Inner City, Rural Preceptorship Program in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health and it’s encouraged me to remain committed to my patients even outside the hospital. So much of our patients’ health status is determined by what happens outside of our clinics and hospitals. Making sure our communities are primed to maximize their health and quality of life is an important reason why I went into medicine.

I’ll begin my residency at the Ohio State University in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in mid-June and I’m already eyeing the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon.

Maintaining a sense of balance — physical, mental, spiritual — remains a primary focus in my life. I want to bring the best of who I am to my patients every day and I think that one means of doing so is making sure that I am taking care of myself, too.

By Michael Krouse


Dean Buckley, wife present Gov. McAuliffe with traditional Irish crest

Every St. Patrick’s Day since 1952, an Irish ambassador or even the prime minister has traveled to the U.S. to hand-deliver to the American president a cluster of Irish shamrocks to celebrate the day.

Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D., and his wife, Leonie, both Irish-born, present Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (center) with a traditional Irish crest.

School of Medicine Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D., and his wife, Leonie, both Irish-born, present Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (center) with a traditional Irish crest on St. Patrick’s Day.

School of Medicine Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D., and his wife, Leonie, both Irish-born, brought their own spin on the tradition to Richmond and to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

“We thought it would be nice to give the governor something that’s Irish in the same kind of tradition,” says Leonie Buckley. “My sister and mother were coming to visit from Ireland so we asked them to bring a plaque with the McAuliffe name and crest. We also presented him with handmade Irish candy.”

The Buckleys were familiar with Gov. McAuliffe’s interest in his Irish heritage after they met at a VCU basketball game and discussed how he traces his ancestry to County Cork, the same county that Dean Buckley’s father hails from.

The Buckleys’ St. Patrick’s Day visit was arranged by Matt Conrad and Karah Gunther from the Office of Government Relations for VCU and the VCU Health System. “We really appreciate how Matt and Karah joined in with the spirit of the day and facilitated this celebratory opportunity,” Dean Buckley says.

Gov. McAuliffe appreciated the gift, sharing with the Buckleys the meaning of the crest and what each color represented. “He talked with us about Ireland and his family,” Leonie says. “His family came over from Ireland many generations back.”

Dean Buckley grew up in Dublin, and Leonie in Limerick, Ireland. At 30, they came to the U.S. on green cards and became citizens five years later. “We’re very proud and happy to be Americans,” Leonie says. “We love this country and wouldn’t want to leave, but we’re also proud of our Irish heritage.”

And particularly on St. Patrick’s Day, they enjoy sharing it with others. “St. Patrick’s Day is thought of as a day to establish friendship,” Leonie says. “We would like to do something at the state Capitol every year, no matter who is the governor.”

By Polly Roberts


For physiology alumnus Stephen Rapundalo, science and politics go hand-in-hand

Growing up in Canada, Stephen Rapundalo, PhD’83 (PHIS), says he was raised to give back to the community. It’s a value he brought with him to the MCV Campus, where he served as student government president, carried forward as a city council member in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and continues today as president and CEO of MichBio, an organization driving industry growth and advocacy for the biosciences.

Stephen Rapundalo, PhD’83 (PHIS), brought a scientist’s perspective to the Ann Arbor City Council, where he served from 2005-11.

Stephen Rapundalo, PhD’83 (PHIS), brought a scientist’s perspective to the Ann Arbor City Council, where he served from 2005-11. “I look at things that are problems seeking solutions. It doesn’t matter if you’re left or right.”

In politics, Rapundalo says, he likes bringing a scientist’s analytical viewpoint to the table. “I look at things that are problems seeking solutions. It doesn’t matter if you’re left or right. Your focus is just to get things done. Science certainly shaped my approach to bringing real analytical assessment and solution development.”

Case in point: while serving on Ann Arbor’s city council from 2005-11, he instituted a peer review system for citizens applying for grants through the human and social services committee, and required standardized materials from all applicants — techniques he learned from years of applying for National Institutes of Health grants and serving on study sections.

“The city benefitted from much better returns on grant success and people who utilized the programs, along with better accountability,” he says of the system, which is still in place today.

Rapundalo’s first foray into politics came as president of the MCV Campus Student Government Association. He worked closely with then-VCU President Edmund F. Ackell, M.D., D.M.D., and was instrumental in lobbying for a student representative on the board of visitors.

“That was my legacy,” Rapundalo says. “I still have the VCU newspaper article from it filed at home.”

At MichBio, he alternates much of his time between the Michigan Capitol in Lansing and Washington, D.C., lobbying legislators for support of Michigan’s bio-industry.

“Michigan is home to the first two pharmaceutical companies in the country and world-renowned research centers,” Rapundalo says. “We get more federal R&D funding than the Research Triangle in North Carolina. We need an industry like ours to offer career opportunities to keep STEM talent in our state and develop a sustainable biosciences workforce for the future.”

As president and CEO of MichBio, Rapundalo lobbies legislators.

As president and CEO of MichBio, Rapundalo lobbies legislators in Lansing and Washington, D.C., for support of Michigan’s bio-industry.

Prior to joining MichBio in April 2006, he spent almost 20 years as a senior research scientist, project manager and group leader with Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research and then Pfizer Inc., primarily in the area of cardiovascular drug discovery. He says he owes much of his success to his time on the MCV Campus.

“I was able to work with some true pioneers in the field whom I revered,” says Rapundalo, mentioning his co-advisors Joseph J. Feher, Ph.D., professor emeritus, and F. Norman Briggs, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

“Had it not been for the foundation that I got in learning at MCV, the rest of my career just wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have located where I did, worked with who I did and succeeded in the roles that I fulfilled. It all traces back to MCV.”

It’s also where he met his wife, Anne Stiles Rapundalo, an alumna of the School of Allied Health’s medical technology program. He fondly remembers their days living in Bear and Cabannis Halls, crab-picking mixers at friends’ homes, dates in Shockoe Slip and concerts at the Mosque. The couple has four adult daughters.

Rapundalo, who became a U.S. citizen in 2000, enjoys trips to Virginia to visit family, occasionally stopping in Richmond to speak to current graduate students and young department members.

“He embodies the active citizenship that Thomas Jefferson envisioned for our country,” says former advisor Feher. “He enjoys policy making and the role of government in setting science policy. Our university should be proud of him.”

By Polly Roberts

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