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13
2015

Family celebrates a 101st birthday with gift

Eleanor Johnson Tabb and her sister Clelia

Eleanor Johnson Tabb (right) and other family members established the Clelia M. Johnson Endowed Scholarship in the School of Medicine as a display of gratitude to her sister, Clelia (left), who sent her to business school.

Clelia Johnson, now 101, remembers clearly coming to work at the Medical College of Virginia soon after high school.

She had “the audacity,” she said, to ask the president of the college at the time, William Sanger, Ph.D., to speak at her medical secretary graduation. That contact led to her first job and then to a more than 60-year career working in medical pathology.

She remembers the very first day of work, being assigned to assist with an autopsy in the dirt-floored morgue of the Egyptian Building. She continued working for Paul Kimmelstiel, M.D., for most of her career.

In the early days, Johnson was willing to work for no salary at all, but soon she was earning $75 a month. She gave her mother and her church each $25. With the remaining $25, she saved enough to install electricity in the Goochland County, Virginia, home where she was born (and still lives), as well as send her sister, Eleanor Johnson Tabb, to Smithdeal Massey Business College.

Over time, Johnson built a reputation in the pathology lab, where she deftly prepared tissue samples for microscopic inspection. She became so good at it that she trained others in the procedure. She said she would enjoy “seeing the technology of how it’s done now” and hopes to take a tour of the laboratory soon.

Johnson firmly believes that MCV changed her life, and she wants to help others pursue their medical careers. So when her family searched for a creative and meaningful way to mark her 101st birthday recently, they thought of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

With a family commitment of $50,000, including an inaugural gift of $10,000 from Tabb, her loved ones established the Clelia M. Johnson Endowed Scholarship. Once the fund hits its $50,000 goal, an annual award will be made to a deserving VCU medical student to reduce debt burden.

“Clelia sacrificed a lot for me, and I wanted to do something to honor her now,” Tabb said.

Through their gift, the family is participating in the School of Medicine’s 1838 Campaign, which aims to increase the number and size of scholarships to give the school a competitive edge in recruiting top students, rewarding student excellence and reducing the burden of debt that has become an inescapable part of choosing a career in medicine.

Clelia Johnson’s name will be displayed on the donor wall in the school’s McGlothlin Medical Education Center.

Clelia Johnson as she glides over the hills and valleys of Virginia.

See video of Clelia Johnson as she glides over the hills and valleys of Virginia.

“Even at 101, Clelia still has the same zest for adventure she has always had,” says her cousin, Ben Johnson, an avid glider pilot who introduced her to his passion. She has traveled the world and now has three glider flights under her belt since she turned 95.

She describes it this way: “It’s just like roaming around in heaven!”

To learn more about the 1838 Campaign in the School of Medicine, contact Tom Holland, associate dean for development, at 804-828-4800 or tehollan@vcu.edu.

This article by Nan Johnson first appeared in the fall 2014 issue of Impact, the quarterly publication of VCU’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

26
2014

Housestaff alumnus Jeffrey Lamont named Wisconsin’s Pediatrician of the Year

Jeffrey Lamont

Jeffrey Lamont, H’82, has been named Pediatrician of the Year by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAPP). It is the chapter’s most prestigious honor.

Lamont has practiced in Wisconsin for 30 years, and his work in school health on behalf of WIAAP has also earned a national Award of Excellence from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Dr. Lamont is a central member of our chapter and a vocal advocate for children and their physicians,” said James Meyer, M.D., Wisconsin chapter president. “He is instrumental in making connections with our state public health initiatives, especially in the domain of school health, where his involvement has raised the bar of excellence in training and education for school health personnel.”

Lamont has served as WIAPP’s School Health Chair for over a decade and this year completed his tenure as immediate past president of the chapter. He serves the national AAP in his role on the National Nominating Committee.

“There is a lot of good work being done by a lot of Wisconsin pediatricians year in and year out,” Lamont said. “To be recognized in this way by our professional organization is about as nice a surprise as one could ask for.”

Lamont has been interested in school health for many years, working with the AAP, the state of Wisconsin and local schools.

“I have never forgotten the quality of the people I had the privilege to work with at MCV,” Lamont said. “The education I received was superb, not only in terms of hard medical knowledge but in terms of what it truly means to be a children’s physician. The faculty set a tone, a standard of conduct, that one tried to live up to.

“To this day, I’ll find myself facing a clinical dilemma and thinking of how this or that faculty member would respond to what I’m contemplating at the time. It was the frequent citing of the work of the American Academy of Pediatrics by MCV faculty, particularly Dr. Edwin Kendig, that got me involved with the AAP in the first place.”

Lamont is medical advisor for three school districts as well as Marathon County Special Education. He served from 2006-12 on the AAP’s Executive Committee of the Council on School Health and was lead author of the revision of the AAP policy statement on Out-of-School Suspension and Expulsion, published in February 2013. He also was a contributing author to AAP’s published manual and course, Pediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers.

“I feel that schools are extensions and reflections of the communities they serve and should be supported as such,” Lamont said. “School health is best addressed by a full range of resources — clinics, specialty organizations, school districts and state and local government — working together to identify problems and solutions and not trying to make them the responsibility of any one entity.”

Lamont is a strong believer in involving and educating parents as well. He’s been known to turn treating a child’s earache into an opportunity to build trusting relationships: “I use teaching otoscopes, which lets the parent see what I see when I examine the child’s ear.”

Lamont has worked with Marathon County Special Education to develop the School Health Skills Day workshop for school personnel who are called upon to provide health and nursing care to students, including those with special health needs. He also serves on the Board of the Foundation of Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital, which supports the hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. The SANE program recently presented data indicating the majority of women served by the program are younger than age 18. He also has been active for many years in the American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support program. Currently serving as an instructor and as regional faculty, he credits his involvement with PALS to the influence of John Mickell, M.D., who was the director of the Pediatric ICU during his residency.

After moving to Wisconsin, Lamont practiced first with the Wausau Medical Center, an independent multi-specialty clinic. In 1997, the WMC merged with the Marshfield Clinic, and Lamont has practiced with the Marshfield Clinic in Weston since then.

12
2014

Class of 1941’s Arthur Kirk honored for lifetime of philanthropy

Graphic: AFP Association of Fundraising Professionals VA, Hampton Roads Chapter, Arthur A. Kirk, MD, Outstanding Individual Philanthropist

Watch the Association of Fundraising Professionals Hampton Roads Chapter’s 7-minute video honoring Arthur A. Kirk, M’41, as the chapter’s Outstanding Philanthropist for 2014.

Arthur A. Kirk, M’41, has been named the 2014 Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Hampton Roads Chapter. This award recognizes Kirk’s lifelong devotion to serving others and his support for Virginia’s medical and educational institutions.

After graduating from MCV in 1941, Kirk completed his internship at Walter Reed and was then called on to serve his country as part of the 7th Army and 82nd Airborne during World War II. His actions during this time were early examples of the selfless compassion that would characterize his life. While stationed in Europe, he intervened on behalf of the survivors from the Ludwigslust concentration camp the Germans had deserted. Decades later, he can still recall exact details about how quickly his work increased survival rates among the nearly 1,000 former prisoners.

Upon returning home Kirk began practicing in Portsmouth, where he resides today. In Portsmouth, Kirk is known for serving his community for over 40 years at his orthopaedic practice and as team physician for local high school football and basketball teams. He is a co-founder of the Kirk-Cone Rehabilitation Center for Children, which for 60 years has served children with crippling diseases who are unable to attend school. Kirk volunteered his time, resources and expertise to the center, leading one resident to remark, “everybody in Portsmouth knows Dr. Kirk because of the good he’s done.”

Outside of Portsmouth, as well, Kirk is recognized as a devoted philanthropist. He has been a longtime supporter of his alma maters, the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation and many other causes. He’s also given of his time and expertise on several long-term medical mission trips to Afghanistan and Indonesia to help treat the sick in those countries.

Throughout his life, Kirk has given back in both small and big ways. His children, Russell and Ann, witnessed their father’s small, countless acts of philanthropy. One of Ann’s earliest memories is of the time her father brought home two Dutch sailors for dinner because they didn’t have anywhere else to go. Russell, who fondly recalls Sunday drives with their father to plant trees on the side of the road, says his father “has been doing good for people ever since I can remember.” One of the latest examples of his philanthropy was a bit larger in scale when Kirk donated $100,000 to buy state-of-the-art mammography equipment at Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View.

His community says the title of Outstanding Philanthropist is well deserved. And Kirk? He says that this award “is a good finale to a long life.”

By Jack Carmichael

27
2014

5 Commandments for Young Scientists from alumnus Sebastian Joyce

Chair of surgery

Sebastian Joyce, PhD’88

When Sebastian Joyce arrived on the MCV Campus to pursue his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology in the early 1980s, he’d come farther than most: more than 12,000 miles, from Bangalore, India.

“I was as fresh off the boat as it gets,” says Joyce, “and I left a man. I came here a peasant, and walked away a scholar.”

He credits his transformation to the freedom he was given by his mentor T. Mohanakumar, D.V.M., Ph.D., to think independently and pursue scientific discovery in his own way.

He’s still doing that today. As a professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University, he’s developing the unconventional approach of using T cell-targeted vaccines against infectious diseases.

“He is on the cutting-edge of finding the most effective approaches for preventing infection,” says Phillip B. Hylemon, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology who was on Joyce’s dissertation committee when he was a Ph.D. candidate in the 1980s.

Joyce described his novel approaches to vaccine development when he spoke at VCU earlier this month at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology’s Research Seminar Series. “Vaccines are man’s greatest inventions,” he told his audience as he enthusiastically recounted for them his lab’s efforts to design vaccines to prevent and treat infectious diseases that plague humankind.

Joyce’s creative and innovative science has won him sustained grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, and his publication record includes the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Nurturing the next generation of scientists is a priority for Joyce. He challenged established scientists to take seriously their responsibility to their trainees with the sentiment expressed in his own lab’s motto: “Inspire young minds: to wonder and imagine; to explore and innovate; to discover and evolve.”

5 Commandments for Young Scientists

1. Be curious
2. Read widely and think broadly about everything, and particularly your own project
3. Question everything, especially dogma
4. Devise simple yet clever experiments
5. Find answers by yourself

Joyce also spoke directly to the students in the audience, encouraging them with his 5 Commandments for Young Scientists. On his last commandment — “Find answers by yourself” — Joyce challenged students: “You don’t have to listen to the gray haired, the balding [older generation] or go to them with all your questions. If they already knew all the answers, there would be no point in you doing the experiment!”

Read about Joyce’s scientific odyssey on the his lab website.

26
2014

Housestaff alumna Cynthia Romero honored by the Medical Society of Virginia

Cynthia C. Romero

Cynthia C. Romero

Cynthia C. Romero, H’96, has been honored for her outstanding contributions promoting the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health through political service. She accepted the Clarence A. Holland, M.D. Award during the Medical Society of Virginia’s annual meeting on Oct. 26. The award was bestowed by the MSV Political Action Committee.

A family physician from Virginia Beach, Romero currently serves as the director of Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Brock Institute for Community and Global Health. She also is the physician manager for Romero Family Practice in Virginia Beach.

She has a distinguished record of service, including being named Virginia’s Commissioner of Health by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2013. Upon completing her term, she returned to EVMS to lead the Brock institute’s effort to leverage its clinical, research and educational programs to positively affect specific health priorities in Hampton Roads.

In his nomination, MSV Past-President Sterling N. Ransone Jr., M.D., cited Romero’s leadership as president when MSV participated in a year-long negotiation with the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners. “Not only did Dr. Romero represent the physician position well, she also developed strong relationships with the NP leadership,” Ransone said. “MSV gained through the eventual passage of the team care bill, but we have also developed a much stronger relationship with an organization which had been seen as an adversary up until that point. We could not have done that without Cyn’s leadership and commitment to doing what is best for the patients and physicians of the commonwealth.”

Romero also has served as president of the Norfolk Academy of Medicine, the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and MSV in 2011. She was founding president of the Organization of Young Filipino-Americans at the University of Virginia where she received her undergraduate degree, president of her medical school class at EVMS and chief resident at the Riverside Family Practice Program with the VCU School of Medicine.

The MSVPAC’s award honors Clarence A. Holland, M’62, and his long and distinguished record as a public servant. Holland was elected to the Virginia Beach City Council from 1970-1982 and was mayor from 1976-1978. From 1984-1995, he served in the Virginia Senate. The MSV Political Action Committee is the political arm of the Medical Society of Virginia, representing more than 18,000 Virginia physicians and approximately 1,000 Alliance members.

25
2014

Alumna Janet Eddy honored for her longstanding commitment to the uninsured and underserved

Chair of surgery

Janet M. Eddy

The Class of 1987’s Janet M. Eddy has been honored by the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation with its Salute to Service award for her service to the uninsured and underserved. She accepted the award on Oct. 25 at the MSV Foundation’s Gala in Wiliamsburg.

Eddy has a longstanding commitment to providing care to those without insurance. Even before medical school, she worked at Richmond’s Fan Free Clinic, and she continued volunteering at the clinic during medical school. She became its director after completing her residency with the medical school’s Department of Family Medicine.

Since 2008, she has served as medical director of the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care System’s Care-A-Van and helped lead the mobile outreach program’s expansion into Hampton Roads. Under her leadership, it has grown from 8,000 patient visits in 2009 to more than 19,500 in 2013.

Eddy was instrumental in the creation of Access Now, a network of physician specialists and surgeons who provide care to those without insurance in the Richmond area. She has also served as medical director of Craig Health Center at St. Joseph’s Villa, where patients can access services not offered on the Care-A-Van. She also regularly participates in medical mission work, most recently spending a month in New Mexico working on a reservation.