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16
2015

Two alumni offer perspective on connecting with patients via online communities

The popularity of social media and online communities has created countless web sites offering medical advice. Some physicians wonder what role they should play – or even if they should get involved at all.

S. Larry Schlesinger, M'71

S. Larry Schlesinger, M’71

S. Larry Schlesinger, M’71, of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Brooke R. Seckel, M’69, of Boston, Mass., recently took the time to answer our questions about their choice to be active online. The two surgeons are among the top 100 most influential board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons in social media as compiled by RealSelf. The list honors board-certified doctors who are among the most active and highly rated on the online community where the general public poses questions and finds answers about cosmetic surgery, dermatology, dentistry and other elective treatments.

Both Seckel and Schlesinger point to the fact that an increasing number of patients use the internet to find doctors and check their credentials. “Over 68 percent of patients search online to help them make health care decisions,” says Seckel. Schlesinger emphasizes the point, saying “the choice is to engage online communities or be invisible.”

An online presence not only makes finding a doctor easier, but it also allows patients to become more informed about medical procedures and make better decisions about which doctor to choose. Schlesinger points out that although many patients still find doctors through traditional referrals from friends, family or other doctors, “patients are still going to the internet to validate their decisions.”

Brooke R. Seckel, M'69

Brooke R. Seckel, M’69

Seckel says that “patients who come in for consultation after reading on RealSelf are usually very well informed. An informed patient is often more likely to understand their goals, be aware of complications, able to complete a better informed consent and understand the recovery period. This typically makes management of these patients much easier and facilitates communication.”

Patients aren’t the only ones who benefit from online medical communities like RealSelf. By offering their advice to patients online, doctors like Seckel and Schlesinger improve their social network ranking on Google and other sites, increasing the likelihood that patients will come across their names when searching for a doctor online.

Competition for page views and clicks will only increase as more people turn to the internet for medical advice. For now, the surgeons remained focused on educating patients and increasing the quality of care. Seckel says that his goal is to “educate and teach objectively and honestly,” and for his part Schlesinger says that “those practices which are transparent and engage online drive quality and patient satisfaction. The practice thrives and patients benefit.”

Schlesinger offers plastic surgery services in three locations in Hawaii. He was the first plastic surgeon in Hawaii to be chosen as physician of the year by his peers in the Hawaii Medical Association. With more than 30 years of plastic surgery experience, he has performed more than 18,300 plastic surgery procedures.

Seckel practices with Boston Plastic Surgery Specialists and is an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is chairman emeritus of plastic surgery at Lahey Clinic where he founded the Lahey Clinic Department of Plastic Surgery and the Lahey Clinic Residency Training Program in Plastic Surgery.

By Jack Carmichael

05
2015

Physiology alumna Wendy LeBolt’s new book focuses on keeping young athletes healthy and on the field

Wendy LeBolt , Ph.D.

Wendy LeBolt , Ph.D.

In her new book, “Fit 2 Finish: Keeping Your Soccer Players in the Game,” Wendy LeBolt , Ph.D., ’90, offers practical advice to young athletes, as well as to their parents and their coaches, on how to improve fitness and skills while being healthy, avoiding injuries and staying motivated. The book is a compilation of the advice LeBolt has provided for years via her organization Fit 2 Finish, which offers seminars, videos and blogs on how to support and train children competing in sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball as well as other less common sports.

LeBolt received a Ph.D. in physiology from the School of Medicine in 1990 and went on to become a professor at George Washington University. When her daughters got old enough to play sports, she quickly noticed how many young athletes suffered injuries. Conversations with former George Mason Women’s Soccer coach Diane Drake confirmed the prevalence of athletes with physical injuries at the college level.

A recent article in the Connection newspapers describes how LeBolt then decided to form Fit 2 Finish as a way of informing coaches and parents about healthy ways of training their children, with an emphasis on not only increasing fitness but also decreasing the likelihood of injury.

LeBolt’s program also offers off-the-field advice for kids and coaches. She teaches about the potential risks of individual sports, how to help kids deal with the emotional and mental pressures of playing sports and post-rehab training for athletes who are returning to the field after an injury. It’s all part of LeBolt’s mission of keeping healthy kids on the field playing sports. Read more about Fit 2 Finish and LeBolt’s new book at http://fit2finish.com/

By Jack Carmichael

19
2015

Alumna Melissa Byrne Nelson honored with YWCA outstanding Woman Award

Alumna Melissa Byrne Nelson

Melissa Byrne Nelson

Melissa Byrne Nelson, M’98, will be honored by Richmond’s YWCA as one of its Outstanding Women of 2015 at the annual awards luncheon on April 24. Each year, the YWCA recognizes women in the Richmond area who have made significant contributions to the community, and Nelson is being honored for her work in the health and science field.

Nelson is passionate about delivering the best possible pediatric care to Richmond’s children, and she works hard to fight for the ideas she believes in. That’s all part of her personal philosophy on life. She says that “Whatever the challenge – school, work, family – don’t be a bystander and just get through it. Get involved. “

She practices with Pediatric Associates of Richmond and has been working with Pediatricians Associated to Care for Kids (PACKids) to advocate for the construction of a children’s hospital in Richmond. In describing her vision for a single location providing a family centered environment, she recently told RVA News “VCU’s premier pediatrics department and the best pediatric medical teams in our community will take care of our children as a collaborative team.”

She earned her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her medical degree on the MCV Campus. She has volunteered with the alumni board of both those schools as well as with the World Pediatric Project.

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