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15
2014

Medical School debuts Cadaver Rounds for first-year students

Cadaver Rounds

The Class of 2017’s Kymia Khosrowani, Kaila Redifer and Andy Green discovered an unusual structure in the course of their dissection. They sent a biopsy to the pathology lab to determine if it was an enlarged lymph node or a mis-shaped adrenal gland as they suspected.

In an era when some other medical schools have dropped or limited the gross anatomy lab, it’s more pertinent than ever on the MCV Campus.

Just as in years past, first-year medical students learn from their “first patient.” But now they have an unprecedented opportunity to expand beyond their anatomical observations. For the first time, they can send suspicious tissue biopsies to the pathology lab and even submit the cadaver itself for a full body CT-scan. In return, as first-year sleuths, they’re asked to assemble a plausible clinical picture of the cadaver from their different observations.

It’s called Cadaver Rounds.

“Each cadaver is different and has a different medical life history,” says M. Alex Meredith, Ph.D., course director and professor of anatomy and neurobiology. “Studying the cadaver has been so valuable in helping students develop a visual picture of the body’s 3-D structure and to see the body’s variability. Now, we are pushing those observations further to estimate – from discovered things like scars, shunts, implants, tumors and the like – what that person’s health profile was like and how those problems may have impacted their lives.” ”

Working in teams, the students dissect the cadaver with intensive study of 20 different regions of the body. Along the way, they make daily logs of important anatomical or pathological findings as well as suspected medical problems from scars, implants and tumors.

M. Alex Meredith, Ph.D.

M. Alex Meredith, Ph.D.

Meredith points out “Some clinical syndromes exhibit multiple pathologies.” By spotting and recording clues along the way, students eventually may be able to correlate separate observations to a single disease process. The reports from pathology and radiology provide an opportunity to confirm, enhance or even refute or explain the students’ observations.

The dissection experience culminates in August, when the student teams formally present their findings to their classmates. They’ll be expected to describe any major clinical problems identified, the typical prognosis of diseases found, suggest clinical or lab tests relevant to the case and, finally, a likely cause of death. As a result, the whole class will have the chance to learn from 32 “first patients.”

Through Cadaver Rounds, students have early exposure to new skills. For example, they test out their dexterity with a scalpel as they slice biopsies and prepare them for the pathology lab. Once submitted, the Pathology Department prepared the slides and Davis Massey, M’96, PhD’96, H’01, associate professor of pathology, read each specimen and provided a standard Path report.

Students also learned how to read a CT-scan thanks to the Class of 2006’s Peter Haar, M.D., Ph.D., who is now on faculty in the Department of Radiology, who arranged the CT scans for all 32 cadavers. He also organized tutorials by the radiology staff for the students to examine and interpret the scans.

Meredith says Cadaver Rounds will ultimately prepare students for participating in Grand Rounds. A medical school staple, in Grand Rounds a physician presents a patient’s case or a new medical advance to an audience consisting of doctors, residents and medical students. Less common now, traditionally the patient would also attend the session.

The four teams who earn the highest scores on their presentation will receive the distinction of “Best Cadaver” along with a copy of the recently published biography Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, M.D. Netter was described in a NY Times book review as “possibly the best-known medical illustrator in the world.”

Meredith was a medical illustrator himself (Hopkins, 1978) before completing his Ph.D. in anatomy on the MCV Campus in 1981. He says “Cadaver Rounds has moved what was a purely anatomical experience into the clinical realm.”

03
2014

M3 Shikha Gupta is featured columnist in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Shikha Gupta and JFStrauss IMG_6110

Class of 2016’s Shikha Gupta with Dean of Medicine Jerry Strauss, M.D., Ph.D. and the Strauss Cup

The Aug. 3 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch featured the Class of 2016’s Shikha Gupta as a guest columnist.

Her first-person account describes how the medical school’s new curriculum and the new McGlothlin Medical Education Center are changing the way medicine is taught. She writes: “the architecturally inventive and academically advanced McGlothlin Medical Education Center – the new (and vastly improved) home of the medical school.”

As a third-year medical student who began her studies in 2012, Shikha has experienced what medical school is like both before and after the opening of the McGlothlin MEC. As a result, she has speaks from personal experience about the transformation that is taking place.

You can read her column, The evolving education of our medical wizards, that was adapted from the spring 2014 edition of Ramifications, a quarterly publication of the Richmond Academy of Medicine.

12
2014

Biostatistics alumnus Karl Peace commended by the Virginia General Assembly

Karl Peace

Alumnus Karl Peace, Ph.D.

Alumnus Karl Peace, Ph.D., has been commended by the Virginia General Assembly as “a prolific biostatistician and devoted educator, [who] has contributed immensely to his field and inspired countless students at the Medical College of Virginia and other universities to achieve greatness in science and medicine.”

Peace earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Biostatistics in 1976 and for more than 30 years has served the department as adjunct or affiliate faculty. In addition to his service on the MCV Campus, Peace is senior research scientist and professor of biostatistics in Georgia Southern University’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. The college’s Center for Biostatistics and Survey Research bears his name, and he is the founder of the Biopharmaceutical Applied Statistics Symposium, now in its 21st year as well as the Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, now in its 23rd year.

In recognition of his contributions, House of Delegates member Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) offered House Joint Resolution No. 5073, approved by both the House and Senate on June 12.

The resolution describes Peace’s impact on the field of biostatistics and also notes that he has created scholarship awards that have helped more than 50 students earn master’s degrees or doctorates in biostatistics from VCU’s MCV Campus. He also generously supported the Hans Carter Professorship on the MCV Campus and GSU’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health bears the name of his late wife as well as many other education and charitable organizations.

As described in his autobiography Paid in Full, Peace was born into a family of southwest Georgia sharecroppers. He was the first person in his family to go to college and, as an undergraduate, a Georgia State Teacher’s scholarship supplemented by seven part-time jobs helped him complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, even while supporting his siblings and cancer-stricken mother.

Education proved to be the road that would change Peace’s life and that of his family. Rising from an entry-level biostatistician position at Burroughs-Wellcome to vice president of worldwide technical operations at Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert, Peace went on to start Biopharmaceutical Research Consultants Inc. in 1989. He provided expertise to dozens of international biotech and pharmaceutical companies and played a key role in the development and regulatory approval of dozens of medicines, including drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, arthritis, anxiety, depression and panic attacks and gastrointestinal ulcers.