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Jerry Strauss to chair IOM committee on the state of ovarian cancer research

Jerry Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D.

Jerry Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D.

The Institute of Medicine has appointed Dean of Medicine Jerry Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., to chair The State of the Science in Ovarian Cancer Research.

With a goal of reducing the incidence of and mortality from ovarian cancer, his ad hoc committee will evaluate research in the field, identify key gaps in the evidence base and recommend next steps. The committee will prepare a consensus study that is expected by the end of 2015.

A member of the IOM since 1994, Strauss is a past president of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. He received the society’s highest honor, the Distinguished Scientist Award, in 2006. Author of more than 300 original scientific articles, Strauss holds twelve U.S. patents for discoveries in diagnostics and therapeutics.

Last year, Strauss was appointed chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The board advises the NICHD scientific director and on matters related to the institutes intramural research activities. His term as chair runs through June 2016.

In 2005, Strauss was named dean of VCU’s School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs of the VCU Health System. He is currently serving as interim vice president for VCU Health Sciences and interim CEO of the VCU Health System.


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.


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