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PM&R Resident Jason Tucker selected for seed grant funding for PRP proof of concept study

Jason Tucker, M.D.

Jason Tucker, M.D.

The Foundation for Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation has selected Jason Tucker, M.D., as one of three recipients of its 2013 New Investigator Award from the Richard Materson Education Research Fund.

Tucker, a fourth-year resident in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, will use the short-term seed grant of $10,000 to investigate the biological mechanism of action of an evidenced based, innovative treatment, called platelet-rich plasma, for the early stages of knee osteoarthritis.

Tucker’s proof of concept study will evaluate treatment response after ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections into the arthritic knee. Studying synovial fluid biomarkers like growth factors, inflammatory mediators and lipids as well as mesenchymal stem cells native to the joint, he and a collaborative team will compare post-treatment data with both pre-injection baseline values and clinical outcomes to provide novel correlative information that will help explain the currently unknown biological mechanism of action of PRP.

The New Investigator Award will be presented on Saturday, October 5 during the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s Annual Assembly in Washington, D.C.


The day Richmond learned about a work-skills project for students with autism

What’s best for students with autism? Getting career skills training in a classroom or learning those skills on the job?

The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently featured a research study that is looking for the answer to that question. In a story that ran on the front page of the paper’s Metro section, readers followed three students who are working at Bon Secours Richmond St. Mary’s Hospital as part of the project.

“It’s a very specific plan we have for each of the students,” Jennifer Todd McDonough told the Times-Dispatch. McDonough is the project’s research coordinator. “The goal of this program is to get the students employed.”

The three students featured in the news article were randomly assigned to the work-skills experience. Others are enrolled in classroom career skills training.
Professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation Paul Wehman, Ph.D., is principal investigator of the project that is funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Wehman is also senior administrator of VCU’s Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering.

Read the story “Students with autism learn work skills” or watch a slide show with photos and narration.


The day SOM departments and programs received financial help for their support of the community

School of Medicine departments and programs are involved in four of the eight university-community programs awarded one-year grants from VCU’s Council for Community Engagement. Grants were awarded to:

ICare CPR Online, a partnership between VCU’s Department of Anesthesia, Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Surgery, the School of Medicine and Henrico County Schools to use an online and videoconferencing program to deliver CPR training and certification to high school students and their families in Henrico County through online PE.

Improving the Quality of Mental Healthcare for Richmond’s Youth, a partnership between VCU’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children, Department of Psychology, School of Social Work and Childsavers, a community non-profit group that addresses the mental health and developmental needs of children, to develop an interdisciplinary mental health program to increase service capacity, improve service delivery and reduce treatment drop-out for adolescent clients of Childsavers.

Development of a Chronic Care Model in an Underserved Population, a partnership between the School of Pharmacy, Department of Internal Medicine, VCU Health System and Cross-Over Health Center in which students and clinicians will develop and measure a chronic disease management model for the Cross-Over Health Center to improve care and treatment of diabetic patients.

Our Park, Our Environment, a partnership between the Department of Pathology, Department of Biology, the Center for Life Sciences Education, Powhatan Public Schools, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in which high school students will participate in the development and implementation of a longitudinal data collection and monitoring system prior to the opening of a new state park in Powhatan County.

“Over the past three years, the university has provided $300,000 in community engagement grants to support 25 university-community partnerships,” said Cathy Howard, Ph.D., vice provost for community engagement. “The variety of these partnerships spans nearly every academic program on both campuses. These awards allow us to build sustainable partnerships with organizations in greater Richmond, which enhances our community’s quality of life.”

Read more


The day Janet Niemeier evaluates a new treatment intervention for TBI patients

“A lack of information and limited resources contribute to the long-term challenges of living with brain injury,” said Janet Niemeier, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. And each year, more than 1.4 million Americans must face life with the medical, cognitive and psychosocial challenges resulting from traumatic brain injury.

A new therapy has the potential to change the way these patients are treated. A randomized, controlled trial that is supported by a five-year grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is studying a new treatment intervention known as FANCI (or First Steps Acute Neurobehavioral and Cognitive Intervention). During the acute phase of a patient’s recovery, the ten session program teaches patients with brain injuries about survival and treatment by addressing common post-injury challenges.

Patients’ families may also participate because a “brain injury can result in behavioral changes that are upsetting, even frightening to family members,” said Niemeier. The program helps family members understand what the patient is going through and gives them some tools for providing the right sort of care giving.

Read more about this grant.

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Updated: 04/29/2016