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VCU Allied Health V





























Spring 2012

Leading the  charge 80

The Department of Physical Therapy marks years as an industry pioneer


Allied Health Professions Vi r g i n i a



The importance of a chair 10

Honor the past, reach for the future 14

Global reach 22


Spring 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 1

Dean and Professor Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D. Senior Associate Dean and Professor Alexander F. Tartaglia, D.Min. Assistant Dean for Distance Education and Director, Ph.D. in Health Related Sciences Paula K. Kupstas, Ph.D. Assistant Dean for Research and Professor Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D., C.R.C., N.C.C., C.C.M. Associate Dean for Fiscal Affairs Debra A. Ropelewski, M.B.A. Assistant Dean for Development Jessica F. Gurganus, M.A., M.A.Ed. Departments Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences: Teresa Nadder, Ph.D., associate professor and chair Department of Gerontology: E. Ayn Welleford, Ph.D., associate professor and chair Department of Health Administration: Carolyn Watts, Ph.D., professor and chair Department of Nurse Anesthesia: Michael D. Fallacaro, D.N.S., CRNA, professor and chair Department of Occupational Therapy: Al Copolillo, Ph.D., associate professor and chair Department of Patient Counseling: Angela Duncan, Ph.D., assistant professor and interim chair Department of Physical Therapy: Thomas P. Mayhew, P.T., Ph.D., associate professor and chair Department of Radiation Sciences: Jeffrey S. Legg, Ph.D., associate professor and chair Department of Rehabilitation Counseling: Amy J. Armstrong, Ph.D., C.R.C., associate professor and chair Virginia Center on Aging: Edward F. Ansello, Ph.D., professor and director Executive Editor Jessica F. Gurganus, M.A., M.A.Ed.

Contents Leading the charge.................................4 The importance of a chair..................... 10 Immersed in the industry........................ 12 Honor the past, reach for the future........ 14 Research in theory, research in action..... 18 Global reach....................................... 22

Shining beacon The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center lights up as nighttime falls on the capital city. Adjacent to the state Capitol, the 52.4-acre campus serves as home to one of the country’s leading academic medical centers with five health sciences schools, including the School of Allied Health Professions, and the Massey Cancer Center. Through a unique multidisciplinary approach to individualized care, research on life-changing treatments, education of practitioners and community members and construction of modern facilities, the university continues to build on its mission to provide the best medical care to thousands of Virginians.

A lifelong gift....................................... 26 News.................................................. 29 Class notes.......................................... 36 By the numbers.................................... 39

On the cover Matt Wilks (M.S. ’99/PT), director of inpatient therapy services for Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center in Richmond, Va., works with a patient in the center’s iWALK Recovery Center. ZeroG (pictured) is an advanced body-weight support system for over-ground walking and balance retraining.

Editorial and design VCU Creative Services Photography VCU Creative Services VCU Allied Health is published annually by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions. Send address changes or comments to: VCU Allied Health Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions 1200 East Broad Street P.O. Box 980233 Richmond, Virginia 23298-0233 Or visit us online:

Message from the Dean In writing my comments for this second edition of our magazine, I was drawn to the fact that our school continues to excel, having three programs that are ranked among the top 10 in the country (and a total of five ranked among the top 25) by U.S. News & World Report. Our programs that do not meet the ranking criteria set by that magazine are all nationally recognized as leaders in their respective fields. However, rankings are just one indicator of excellence. The outstanding caliber of the faculty, staff and students in the School of Allied Health Professions is perhaps a better measure, and I am so proud to share their accomplishments with you. Given the phenomenal response that we received on the first edition of this magazine, I believe it is of the utmost importance that we continue this tradition. It is you, our alumni and friends, who help make us the best of the best and to be in concert with that concept, I want to share the “best” when it comes to school magazines with you. In the world of higher education, we often talk about the “big idea,” and how it inspires our students to achieve their highest potential. As our students are motivated by our faculty to be the best that they can be, our faculty are likewise motivated to be the best educators and researchers they can be, advancing knowledge and improving lives toward the creation of a better world. Our school is faced with some economically turbulent times. Yet we continue to prosper, largely because of the wonderful support that we receive from our alumni. From my point of view, with such influential and supportive alumni, there is no limit to what the school can achieve. Even in this era of health care reform, our school will always produce the very best health care practitioners that will fit into whatever health care system materializes across the next few years. I look forward to seeing the domino effect of your support coupled with our great faculty and their mission to provide the best education to our students. Equipping them to discover, to solve, to dream and, yes, to create a better world. So as you read the articles in this issue, you will have a much deeper understanding of the way the School of Allied Health Professions is sharing its collective energy to tackle some of the significant problems in health care. You will also witness the energy and enthusiasm of our alumni, students, faculty and staff as they reach out to help others through their research, clinical service and community engagement efforts. Welcome to our school, and please enjoy this issue of VCU Allied Health magazine.

Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D. Dean and Professor ©2012, VCU School of Allied Health Professions An equal opportunity/affirmative action university 110708-01

Spring 2012


Leading the  charge 80

The Department of Physical Therapy marks years as an industry pioneer


VCU Allied Health

Courtesy VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Courtesy VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Courtesy VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

By Drew Vass

In her speech at the 16th annual Mary McMillan Lecture in 1981, Susanne B. Hirt, RPT, M.Ed., said, “To be able to move into the future we must have the capacity for change and must be able to respond to change.” Hirt, then chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Physical Therapy, spoke to the industry at large, while receiving its highest honor: the Mary McMillan Lecture Award. She retired a year later, after nearly 30 years of service to VCU and four decades of professional activity, but not before watching the department drive physical therapy’s evolution through decades of research and national involvement. Physical therapy research began — at least in part — with VCU. The department helped form the beginnings of physical therapy education in the 1930s, when the field remained under great scrutiny due to a lack of scientific research. At that time, it was the Medical College of Virginia that hosted Virginia’s first accredited physical therapy program and produced its inaugural graduates in 1932, then appeared on the American Medical Association’s approved physical therapy programs list in 1936. In the 1940s, the school was catapulted into the national spotlight as a primary source of education and research following what Hirt labeled the “big bang” for physical therapy — otherwise known as the Baruch grant. The Baruch grant stemmed from the Baruch Committee on Physical Medicine, which was commissioned in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to explore the possibilities of physical rehabilitation among wounded soldiers. William T. Sanger, M.D., then president of MCV, chaired the Subcommittee on Basic Research. In 1944, the committee offered more than $1 million to three medical centers to facilitate teaching and research in physical medicine. MCV was one of them. Hirt was called on to develop an educational program for the resulting Baruch Center of Physical Medicine. “From 1931 to 1941, the department had more of a local impact,” explains Mary Snyder Shall, PT, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy.

Matt Wilks (M.S. ’99/PT), director of inpatient therapy services for Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center, and Kari Hershey (D.P.T. '11/PT), physical therapist, perform a session using Sheltering Arms' Lokomat Pro, a robotic walk re-trainer. Left: A polio patient navigates the parallel bars in the 16th-floor gym of West Hospital, circa 1947.

Top: Susanne B. Hirt, RPT, M.Ed., teaches musculoskeletal anatomy. Bottom: With funding from philanthropist Bernard Baruch, MCV establishes a physical therapy education program in 1945.

Spring 2012


Forging forward Current Department of Physical Therapy student Stephen Vesely periodically donates to Locks of Love.

Student profile: Restoring wholeness Current VCU Department of Physical Therapy student Stephen Vesely isn’t waiting for graduation day to begin helping patients. In the summer of 2011, Vesely made his second donation to Locks of Love, a nonprofit program that supplies hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. He recently donated 21 inches of hair. “I was doing Relay for Life as an undergrad,” Vesely says. “I found that extremely inspirational, but it just didn’t seem like enough. I knew that I couldn’t exactly come up with a cure for cancer, but you want to do something to help. I came across this and decided that this was something I could do.” His recent donation took him more than three and a half years to grow. “I am planning to be a lifetime donor,” he says. “Why wouldn’t you do something to help when you have the ability to? I can grow hair, so why not use it in this way? If someone can receive this hair and if it helps restore their sense of wholeness, why not give them that gift? You can give them that feeling.”

Despite the immediate and lasting effects of the Baruch grant, physical therapy faced an uphill battle toward becoming its own scientifically based medical entity. In the mid- to late 1980s, however, VCU faculty members began publishing information that suggested physical therapy should be fueled by data resulting from precise measurement of muscle performance. The notion was radical for its time. “[VCU faculty members] fueled the start of this thing through the papers they wrote and the research they conducted regarding the reliability and validity of what we do as physical therapists,” says Peter Pidcoe, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy. “They were instrumental in promoting research and focusing treatment on research evidence.” VCU faculty members’ efforts led to what was later named the “evidence-based movement,” which propelled physical therapy toward applied science by collecting and using data to prove the effectiveness of various techniques. Science conducted by Pidcoe at the University of Illinois at Chicago, early in his career, helped fuel the pre-stages of the evidence-based movement. Ironically, his efforts helped to form a new field of research that later became the focus of his career. Pidcoe studied at UIC in the early to mid-1980s, around the same time that VCU faculty members were pressing for evidence-based research. He was a bioengineering student who worked in the UIC Department of Physical Therapy’s laboratories, designing equipment and software systems that measured such things as body movement and balance. In 1992, UIC hired him, allowing him to continue his work on a professional basis. In the meantime, he was joined by Jules M. Rothstein, PT, Ph.D., a former VCU Department of Physical Therapy faculty member who moved to UIC to chair its department. Rothstein was among those pressing for evidence-based research. When Pidcoe expressed an interest in earning a medical degree, Rothstein urged him in a different direction: physical therapy. Pidcoe took his advice. “[Rothstein] was very dedicated to promoting the concept of evidence-based practice,” Pidcoe says. “When I got my physical therapy degree, I was probably one of a handful of therapists with an engineering background. I have found the combination of degrees very valuable both in clinical practice and research.” In 1998, Pidcoe left UIC to join VCU. Ironically, the move landed him where the seeds that helped to shape his career were first sewn. Pidcoe took over a biomechanics laboratory created in 1980, transforming it into what could be described today as the pinnacle of evidence-based research facilities. He and other members of his primarily student-staffed lab facility produce technologies capable of mapping human movement — down to the exact motions of each limb, including such minute details as eye movement and the pressure generated by each toe. They also measure balance to determine the physical impact of motions on the overall body. All of these measurements produce data, that

Mark Bouziane (M.S. ’92/PT), acute care therapist and advanced clinical instructor for Retreat Doctors’ Hospital, performs an ultrasonic debridement procedure.

Courtesy of Retreat Doctors’ Hospital

“In the 1940s, with the Baruch grant, research came into play. That’s when our inf luence grew to more of a national presence.” Shall documents the department’s history in her book “Evolution of Physical Therapy at the Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.” She says that after years of fielding questions about various parts of the department’s history, she finally decided to pool the information together into a single source.

Students draw on relationships with area health systems Being part of an urban university, the VCU Department of Physical Therapy enjoys relationships with numerous surrounding hospitals and health systems in addition to the VCU Medical Center. This creates abundant opportunities for students to gain hands-on, real-world experience through field rotations and internships, which frequently result in job placement after graduation. “It gives students an opportunity to experience various areas of practice, to discover what they like, and it gives us an opportunity to weigh new talent,” says Chris Accashian (M.H.A. ’01/HA), chief operating officer for Retreat Doctors’ Hospital, a campus of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital and part of the HCA Virginia Health System. Anthony Santowasso (B.S. ’89/PT) interned at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital while a student in the Department of Physical Therapy. The experience netted him a job offer and he’s been with the hospital ever since. “When you go on an affiliation, it’s kind of like a longterm job interview,” Santowasso says. Santowasso’s experience reflects a common theme among Department of Physical Therapy graduates. “Our students are 100 percent employed after they come back from their internships, if they’re looking,” says Thomas Mayhew, PT, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. He says students also help feed information from the field to the classroom. Accashian agrees, adding that the relationship works both ways. “It’s always nice to get new and fresh ideas and students often provide that,” Accashian says. “Often, they may be learning things at school that we may not be aware of, so receiving different viewpoints provides a mutually beneficial relationship.” Retreat employs a number of VCU alumni, including Mark Bouziane (M.S. ’92/PT), who recently received

HCA’s Frist Humanitarian Award for Retreat Doctors’ Hospital — the highest honor its employees, volunteers and medical staff members can receive. Bouziane is an acute care therapist and advanced clinical instructor in the hospital’s physical therapy department, where he hosts a steady flow of VCU students serving on clinical rotations and internships. He frequently assists in treatments rendered in the hospital’s hydrotherapy department. Hydrotherapy has long played a role in physical rehabilitation, where water is used to provide buoyancy for patients who would otherwise have difficulty moving and with range of motion; but the practice has expanded and today includes advanced water-based therapy used for such things as treating chronic wounds, an area Bouziane says he’s ventured into over the years. “When you look at [the hydrotherapy that] was done in the 1940s, most of that pertained to range of motion and plasticity,” Bouziane says. “Today, we’re using hydrotherapy to treat chronic wounds and through much different means.” Bouziane says he often collaborates with therapists working in Retreat’s Wound Healing Center. The center employs some of the latest hydrotherapy technology, including ultrasonic debridement, a technique that accelerates healing by using ultrasound energy to remove devitalized tissue while sparing viable cells. Bouziane says the hospital receives inquiries from students as far away as San Diego who are interested in the technology. VCU students often get to witness the technology firsthand. “If you really want to see it all, [VCU] is where you want to be,” Mayhew says. “I say, if you want to get trained, this is where you want to do it — where we have a thousand beds across the street [at VCU Medical Center] and a community of hospitals that are full of our alumni and grads who are willing to come in here to teach and to take you in as students.”

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can be used to support the development of new technologies. “With physical therapy, you see a profession that’s building on itself,” says Matt Wilks (M.S. ’99/PT), who directs inpatient therapy services for Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center in Richmond, Va. “These days, we have valid outcome tests, so we can measure which treatments are more effective than others for particular types of injuries.”

Arriving in the future Wilks directs a comprehensive walking recovery program for Sheltering Arms known as iWALK. The program isn’t focused on any one diagnosis, but is for anyone suffering from a walk-inhibitive injury or disease. Pidcoe says iWALK represents the height of evidence-based practice. “With programs like iWALK, we’re basically pushing practice as close to the real-time science as possible,” Wilks says. One of iWALK’s machines, the ZeroG, is touted as the world’s most advanced body-weight support system for over-ground walking and balance retraining. The device consists of a zero-footprint trolley and harness, which replaces the use of multiple therapists and other rudimentary equipment to support a patient. Lokomat Pro, a similar but even more advanced robotic walk re-trainer machine, allows patients who aren’t yet able to walk — or even stand — to move impressive distances. “Traditional methods, using supportive equipment and the help of several people, would allow someone to walk maybe five feet,” Wilks says. “And that method isn’t entirely safe or perfect. You take that same person who can only walk five


VCU Allied Health

A patient visits the VCU Medical Center at Stony Point for a physical therapy session.

Peter Pidcoe, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., works with a student in the biomechanics movement lab.

Melissa W. Banta, D.P.T., physical therapist and manager of inpatient rehab at Sheltering Arms’ Hanover physical rehabilitation center, talks with a patient.

feet and place them on the Lokomat, and they can then walk a half mile. The additional repetition and intensity is critical for optimal recovery.” iWALK and machines like Lokomat produce real-time data, supporting evidence that suggests recovery times are significantly boosted with early therapy. Even before patients are capable of supporting any weight or moving limbs independently, machines like Lokomat allow them to pass through the natural walking motions. The effect not only helps to build range of motion (like earlier forms of physical therapy), but it also helps build new neural pathways to circumvent damaged areas of the brain. “You’re basically trying to get them to rebuild these pathways sooner,” says Pidcoe, who recently entered into an agreement with Sheltering Arms to help evaluate the effectiveness of iWalk’s equipment. “Old PT still did it, but we didn’t do it with the same volume. I’m looking at the rehab side of things and applying neuroscience techniques to helping these people.”

technology, but rather via a push for national standards “There’s never been a voice for physical therapy education in higher education — beyond the level of basic accreditathat’s made up of the programs themselves,” Mayhew says. tion. The effort is backed by a “[The APTA has] done a great job for a newly formed Academic Council of number of years, but, as a professional Physical Therapy, which is part of association, it’s concerned with many the American Physical Therapy issues, including practice acts, legisAssociation. Thomas Mayhew, PT, lation, reimbursement, etc. [and not Ph.D., chair of VCU’s Department educational standards].” of Physical Therapy, serves on the counMayhew says that if the council cil’s inaugural board of directors. manages to gain the support of “This is a significant change in physthe majority of physical therapy ical therapy education,” he says, adding departments, this could represent that no standard for excellence in higher a tipping point for physical therapy education has ever existed. education, toward standards for The council results from a fourexcellence. year effort, including 16 department In her 1981 speech at the Mary chairs, with the primary goal of creating McMillan Lecture, Hirt not only a governing voice among APTA incited change, but also relayed a members for matters pertaining challenge McMillan had posed to to education. Prior to the council’s the field’s earliest founders: “What formation, Mayhew says that there we need now is a unanimous effort Kari Hershey (D.P.T. ’11/PT), physical therapist for Sheltering was no unified voice representing to establish high standards for our Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center, works with a patient. the physical therapy programs on profession — and enthusiasm that educational matters. With the formation of the council, knows no bounds.” Thirty years later, Hirt and McMillan now when it comes to voting on matters of education, only would be pleased to see VCU faculty members leading council members are allowed to render their votes. He sees this the charge. as a starting point for developing educational standards driven Drew Vass (B.A. ’02) is a contributing writer by department chairs. for VCU Allied Health.

Gearing up New technology fuels excitement among physical therapy students, especially through hands-on experience. “You just want to get out there and start using this stuff,” says Stephen Vesely, a second-year VCU student. “Every couple of Wednesdays, we get the chance to sit in and participate in the clinical setting — observing, interacting with real patients and assisting in hands-on,” Vesely says. “Recently, during one of these visits, I was actually getting to do some hands-on when I thought to myself, ‘Wow … I’m really going to be doing this. And soon!’” Physical therapy’s next “big bang” could arrive not via new research and

“The Evolution of Physical Therapy at the Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University” By Mary Snyder Shall, PT, Ph.D. Get your copy, and support future generations of physical therapists, with a donation of $80 or more to the 80-Year Anniversary Scholarship fund. (Please note the book’s value of $20 is not tax deductible.) To order your copy, call (804) 828-0234.

Spring 2012


The importance

of a chair Faculty endowments pave the way for long-term success By Drew Vass

Gloria J. Bazzoli, Ph.D., primarily studies multi-hospital systems and hospital participation in the safety net. Her research has examined how financial pressures affect the quality of hospital care and hospital community benefit activities, including the care provided to low-income, uninsured and vulnerable populations. As a professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Health Administration, she’s held this focus for 15 years and considers her research as timely and important today as when she first began. Bazzoli holds the Bon Secours Professorship in Health Administration, which allows her to stay the course when research funding drifts away from her area of interest. “Sometimes, faculty will move from topic A to topic B, simply because they can get grant money in a given area,” Bazzoli says, suggesting that often the flow of grant money may dwindle for areas of particular interest to a researcher. “What the endowed professorship does for me is — it allows me to continue working in a given direction and in a given area, or allows me to move to new, related areas, even when funding for a particular topic is not readily available.”

Philanthropy at its finest Faculty endowments (labeled professorships, distinguished professorships or chairs) match private and corporate donors with faculty members whose efforts mirror their philanthropic interests. Professorships and chairs can be used to reward and honor existing or new faculty members with salaries that are commensurate with their accomplishments and high-level efforts. The donor’s original intent is preserved through a formal agreement with the university, which governs and ensures the endowment remains on target and aligned with a donor’s goals (indefinitely). Part of this process includes the review of faculty appointments every five years by the provost or vice president for health sciences and the school. Bazzoli serves as an example of a perfect match. “My research and goals are especially relevant to Bon Secours’ organizational mission,” she says. “Given the research I do, 10

VCU Allied Health

there was a philosophical link to their organizational objectives and activities. It’s a great honor, especially from the perspective of how it relates to and acknowledges the work I’ve done and continue to do.” Brian Thomas, senior executive director of development for the MCV Foundation, which handles the financial side of endowments, says most aren’t funded by corporations (like Bon Secours), but by individuals. When donors come forward with the desire to donate the $250,000 to $1 million required for establishing a professorship or chair, respectively, the foundation matches their interests with MCV Campus priorities and establishes a plan for action. “Sometimes a donor comes with a specific idea, wanting to support one specific area,” explains Anne Hoffler, senior director of donor relations for the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. “Maybe a family member has suffered from a specific disease and they want to contribute to faculty who research or work in that area of medicine.” Donors can contribute the full amount required to instate the endowment at once, or they can pledge to fulfill the amount over a five-year period. Once the full funds are secured by the MCV Foundation, they’re commingled in a larger investment account, though the principal amount of each gift is carefully tracked, reported and remains intact. Gains generated through investment are divvied up according to each endowment’s share of the overall profits (based on principal), which are then used to fund each individual endowment year after year. “The MCV Foundation serves an accounting function for these endowments,” Thomas says. “We deposit the funds into the appropriate accounts and invest the funds through our investment portfolio. We also serve as stewards, providing reports for all activity.” Thomas says the foundation board reviews the spending policy for endowed funds annually. The current spending policy allows an annual payout of approximately 5 percent. Any return greater than the 5 percent is put back into the corpus of the endowment to ensure long-term growth. Growth is a primary goal, especially for

professorships, which start at $250,000 but can ultimately convert to chairs when they reach the $1 million mark. Functionally, the only difference in endowed professorships and chairs is the principal amount of investment. Often donors will establish a plan for increasing their investment over a given period, but it’s worth noting that anyone can contribute any amount to any endowment, not just the original donor or donor group.

A legacy of influence When it comes to naming endowments, donors can do as they wish, which often includes commemorating prominent figures in VCU’s history. The Payton Professorship in Physical Therapy, for instance, was established by an anonymous source in 2004 to honor Otto D. Payton, PT, Ph.D., the former professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, who served for 28 years. Payton was — and continues to be — nationally recognized as a therapist, educator and researcher. “The Otto Payton Professorship brings a certain amount of recognition from folks that I don’t necessarily know, or aren’t even necessarily familiar with me, but knew Dr. Payton,” says Daniel L. Riddle, PT, Ph.D., the Payton Professor in Physical Therapy. “It garners a certain amount of credibility.” Riddle suggests that not only do endowments bring prestige and recognition to faculty members and the university, but they also raise the bar for performance. “I think it creates a higher level of expectations and effort,” he says. “I expected better of myself, regarding my goals and accomplishments.”

Power in numbers Philanthropy isn’t limited to $250,000-plus donations. And not every endowment begins with a lump sum. Endowments can be established with $10,000 and often start as campaigns, such as the Department of Gerontology's recent launch of an initiative to raise funds for a professorship (see Page 34 for details). Campaigns have been “my main focus since joining the foundation,” says Rebecca Perdue (B.S. ’62/CLS), a School of Allied Health Professions alumna who recently became a trustee of the MCV Foundation. “We have these huge campaigns which target philanthropists, people who are able to donate large sums of money, but other folks want to feel a part of this as well. And the fact is, every bit counts, so we need to help people understand how they can contribute.” For example, with the 85th anniversary for the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences in 2012, Perdue and other CLS graduates are creating a campaign that celebrates this milestone. Perdue and others also intend to organize campaigns designed to solicit donations from professionals who benefit from clinical laboratory services, such as pediatricians, doctors and laboratories recruiting VCU students. Their primary goal is to establish a professorship for the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, but ultimately Perdue says they would like to see the professorship graduate to a chair.

D. Mark Cooper, M.Div., D.Min. (left), retired associate professor and the first Rev. Robert B. Lantz Chair in Patient Counseling, stands with Katherine I. Lantz and Alexander Tartaglia, M.Div., D.Min., associate dean of the VCU School of Allied Health Professions and the Katherine I. Lantz Professor of Patient Counseling, at the May 2011 investiture ceremony.

In those cases, and with any corporately funded endowment, no goods or services can be exchanged, as donors are not allowed to benefit directly from faculty members’ efforts. At the same time, Thomas points out that, for corporate donors, name recognition alone — among all those associated with VCU — carries value. Ultimately, the real beneficiaries of professorships and chairs includes students who study under endowed faculty members, as well as anyone who is touched by their research. In the end, everyone benefits. Drew Vass (B.A. ’02) is a contributing writer for VCU Allied Health.

Make a difference For more information on endowments, visit and click on “Ways of giving” and then “Endowments.” Donations are welcome for existing opportunities, or contact Jessica Gurganus to help align your philanthropic goals with one of the school’s many causes. A complete list of endowed professorships and chairs for the School of Allied Health Professions can be accessed online at _professorships.html.

Spring 2012


in the industry

“The residency really drives home the value of the entire degree. It’s not just classroom experience. It’s a significant step into the real world.”

Photo courtesy of Glenn Gale, Main Line Health


– Jessica Lampley, administrative resident in her third year of study in the Master of Health Administration program

Residency thrives on hands-on experiences for health administration students By Andy Bates


ny health administrator would recognize Jessica care industry leaders and, along with a renowned faculty and Lampley’s Friday morning. Upon arriving at Riddle rigorous curriculum, it’s one of the main reasons the program Hospital, part of Philadelphia’s Main Line Health earned a U.S. News & World Report No. 5 ranking in 2011. system, she heads to a meeting focused on improving care Lampley’s placement is unique in that she successfully comquality for hip and spine fracture patients. She and her team peted for a fellowship outside the network of preceptors that are developing a pilot project to reduce door-to-operatingVCU lines up for its students. But her experience is on par room time, and in order to identify opportunities for with what each M.H.A. student goes through. improvement, they’ll need to During the year they speak with and observe everyspend as a resident at vari“This program stretches students’ abilities body involved with a patient ous hospitals and health from the moment he walks care centers from as near as until they achieve a greater skill set. That’s through the door. Richmond and as far away what makes them so well prepared to enter Later in the day, she’ll as Colorado, California and meet with the hospital’s anaTexas, students get a closethe health care work environment.” lyst of market share data to up view of every facet of – Lynn Pitman, ‘93 graduate and student preceptor at Wake Forest Baptist Health determine the feasibility of an operation. They shadow implementing an osteoporosis presidents, chief informacare center. She’ll carve out time with the president of the tion officers, physicians, nurses, clinicians, pharmacists, health system, organize agendas for next week and catch up payroll officers, custodians and delivery personnel, just to on emails and paperwork until around 7 p.m. name a few. Once they find a niche, they design and manBut Lampley isn’t a health administrator. Not yet, at least. age a project meant to address an issue specific to their Rather, she’s an administrative resident in her third year residency site as their final academic requirement before of study in the Master of Health Administration program earning their degree. at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Allied “The residency really drives home the value of the entire Health Professions. degree,” Lampley says, citing it as a major factor in her The depth of Lampley’s hands-on experience speaks to the decision to choose VCU. “It’s not just classroom experience. core of the M.H.A. program’s mission to build future health It’s a significant step into the real world.”


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“Being immersed in the industry is key,” adds fellow third-year classmate Chris Barker, an administrative resident at CJW Medical Center in Richmond. “A lot of programs I looked at send you on your way, and you’re left to compete for national fellowships. Here, they really support you, and every day I feel I’ve grown because of this. I know I’m ready once I leave here because of this.” VCU remains committed to requiring the residency because, as Cindy Watts, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Health Administration, contends, it’s what molds administrators who understand and value the many people they work with, who can be good listeners and use their experiences to gain self-reflection and compassion. “Two years of course work is important,” Watts says, “but it’s not nearly enough. A classroom can’t really teach you what it’s like to be in a boardroom with a group of stakeholders. It doesn’t teach you to understand the culture of an organization. You can try to teach it, but until you see it in action, you really don’t know. You have to shadow and observe great leaders to become one.” But how does VCU continue to find these leaders to help mentor and pay students when so many hospitals and health systems are tightening their belts? One answer is simply hard work. For Dolores Clement, Dr.P.H., Charles P. Cardwell, Jr. Professor, vice chair and director of graduate programs for the Department of Health Administration, there’s rarely a day when she isn’t in contact

with existing and potential preceptors. Not only is this networking important to keeping the residency program strong, she says, it’s integral to helping students and preceptors find the right fit. Another answer is that many preceptors are alumni with a desire to give back. Still, Lynn Pitman, a 1993 graduate who now mentors students in her role as assistant vice president of strategic and business planning at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., says alumni affinity for the program is only half the story. Yes, she wants to keep her alma mater successful, she says, but the quality of students makes the decision to work with the program easy. “We know we’re going to get a student who can contribute right away and will represent our company well,” she says. “This program stretches students’ abilities until they achieve a greater skill set. That’s what makes them so well prepared to enter the health care work environment.” And, it’s not just alumni who see what Pitman sees. In fact, more than half of the program’s preceptor sites since 1994 haven’t been affiliated with VCU through an alumni connection at all, which faculty members point to as just one more indicator that its students are a cut above the rest. “Our students have a lot of value even before their residency,” Watts says. “They’re assets, and regardless of where [a preceptor] may have gone to school, I think they recognize that.” Andy Bates is a contributing writer for VCU Allied Health. Spring 2012


The journey continues

Honor the past, reach for the future Memories continue through thoughtful planned giving

By Drew Vass


he Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions marks the starting point for purposeful living. Naturally, those who dedicate their lives to a health care profession want to help perpetuate their field and mission by donating to their alma maters. Financial gifts often arrive at the urging of campaigns (soliciting our help); but pledging ongoing support allows for more purposeful use of donated funds. Whether it be a pledge for annual support or a bequest through an estate or life insurance policy, planned giving not only makes good financial sense, but it is a vehicle by which charitable donations become philanthropic missions. “All it takes is a documented statement of intent,” says Brian Thomas, senior executive director of development for the MCV Foundation. “We work with donors to ensure that the planned gifts make good sense for them and align with fundraising priorities on the MCV Campus for its schools, departments or units.” Following are a few of the personal stories behind recent planned gifts. “These stories honor the past and provide hope for the future,” says Jessica F. Gurganus, assistant dean for development for the School of Allied Health Professions. “Planned gifts provide alternatives for retirement planning, creative financial vehicles and peace of mind that philanthropic missions will be achieved. These MCV Society members are a part of something bigger. This is where visions, names and memories live forever.”


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James Hood II (M.S. ’78/RC; Cert. ’85/PC) says he has had plenty of opportunities to contemplate death. “Last year I nearly drowned,” he says. “I came within 30 seconds. And that’s happened to me a number of times over the years.” During his 25-year career as a rehabilitation counselor, Hood spent his evenings and weekends navigating some of the world’s toughest whitewater, competing as a slalom canoeist. After an early retirement, he spent five years traveling the U.S., mountain biking in various regions. Though he’s planning for many more years of adventure, along the way, he’s had time to ponder his life and what he will leave behind. “All of the things that I am and the many friends that I’ve made, as well as the amount of respect that I’ve received in this profession — it all came from VCU and the School of Allied Health Professions,” Hood notes. As a student, Hood says he barely scraped by on the G.I. Bill and a work-study program that paid him $2.50 an hour (then the minimum wage). When it came time to decide what he would do with a life insurance policy he earned through the state of Virginia, he decided to meet with the MCV Foundation to discuss how he might bequeath the money to help students in similar need. The resulting

James Hood II

James M. Hood II Memorial Scholarship will go to graduate students studying rehabilitation counseling. “I can touch a lot of lives in a positive way,” Hood says. “And they can say, ‘Who is this guy Hood?’ and then look into it.” No doubt, they will find stories of high adventure and neardeath experiences, coupled with a lifetime (and thereafter) spent helping others.

No better time than now As the director of professional and community development for the Department of Gerontology, Jay White (M.S. ’11/G) understands the importance of getting a jump on planned giving. “One of the things we see in gerontology is that people could be a lot more proactive in their planning when it comes to aging, which includes philanthropy and legacy gifts,” he says. “Better to begin a conversation about how you might like to be remembered ahead of time than to have to pay lawyers to figure it out at the last minute.” When it comes to planned giving, White says the sooner the better. As a student in the gerontology department, he decided to explore ways for making a contribution to his field of study. White’s financial adviser suggested that he establish a planned gift through the MCV Foundation, with the stipulation that the

money be used to support the mission of gerontology. “We’re not talking about a huge amount of money, but as far as the proliferation of the department and the university, I can’t think of a better cause to give to than improving eldercare through education,” White says. “Let’s face it, we’re all aging every day. We have 77 million baby boomers who just began to turn 65 this year. Society is woeJay White fully unprepared for that.” White points out that not only did the move meet his philanthropic goals, but it also made financial sense. “Because of the way my funds are set up, if I pass before those funds are exhausted, the federal government gets the current taxable rate, which is probably 25 to 30 percent,” he says. “If I leave that behind to a 501(3)c, they don’t get any of it.” He views the arrangement as a win-win.

Spring 2012


Replanting seeds for success

MCV Society honors philanthropists The MCV Foundation invites you to join its MCV Society, a distinguished group of individuals who share a vision of excellence for the university’s MCV Campus. The MCV Foundation created the society to recognize and extend gratitude to those who made provisions in their estate planning in support of the health sciences schools, including Allied Health Professions, as well as MCV Hospitals, Massey Cancer Center or the Tompkins-McCaw Library. Through their thoughtful consideration, society members help advance superior patient care, medical education and research in every corner of campus. To view a complete list of MCV Society members, visit

MCV Society members enjoy the group’s fifth annual outing at Agecroft Hall. Pictured from left: MCV Foundation Trustee Becky Perdue (B.S. ’62/ CLS), John Taylor, Janet Coon (B.S. ’59/MET), MCV Foundation Trustee Judy Collins (Cert. ’75/N) and former trustee board chair Ruth Campbell, M.D. (M.D. ’57; H.S. ’60).


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Eleanor and Winston Gouldin in Egypt

A spirit of giving When a loved one passes, there are many ways to preserve memories, but few ways to preserve their spirit and character. Cindy Gouldin’s (B.S. ’87/PT) was a spirit of giving and compassion. She was a physical therapist and a prolific volunteer who was passionate about her work. With her untimely death at the age of 39 from complications associated with a brain tumor, her parents, T. Winston Gouldin, M.D. (M.D. ’54), and Eleanor Gouldin (’53/N), began searching for a means to preserve her spirit of public service. Ultimately, they found a way through donations and planned giving. “When you lose a loved one, it leaves a hole in your heart,” Winston Gouldin says. “I think that’s especially true when it comes to children. We were searching, ever since she died, for ways to honor her.” The Gouldins created a children’s program in Cindy’s honor at their church, but they wanted to establish something more permanent, something aimed at two of Cindy’s greatest passions — physical therapy and public service. Through two initial donations, they created a scholarship that will benefit two physical therapy students who exhibit a drive for public service. Nominees are self-selected and provide a list of service-related activities, and then students vote on candidates within their class. The couple found the act so gratifying that they later made a planned gift, which will be fulfilled through their estate. The donation will establish two additional scholarships — one in physical therapy, the other in nursing. Winston Gouldin wrote a book, “Cindy: A Story of Love,” commemorating his daughter’s life and memory. Each scholarship recipient receives a copy, allowing them to “know” the spirit they help preserve through their work. The book is also available on Amazon. com, with proceeds benefiting brain tumor research.

Roger Robertson (B.S. ’77/PT; M.S. ’87/PT) and his wife, Donna (B.S. ’77/OT), years ago sat down to do a little soul searching. The two decided it was time to re-evaluate their goals for what they would “leave behind in this life,” he says. While pondering a list of possible benefactors, VCU was top of mind. “We sat down and said, ‘OK, we’re going to do this. Now, which organizations or charities do we feel connected with?’” Roger Robertson says. It comes as no surprise that the two feel connected with VCU. They met on the university’s West Campus in 1974, while he was working toward applying for the physical therapy program and she was doing the same for occupational therapy. More than 30 years later, both work for Vidant Health, a 10-hospital health care system that’s headquartered in Greenville, N.C., where they currently live. He serves as president for the company’s network of community hospitals. She continues to work as an occupational therapist. “In essence, VCU provided us with the education, skills and professional orientation that we needed to be successful in our careers,” Robertson says. “We feel obligated to give back to an organization that made that much of an impact on our lives.” The two sat down with their financial adviser to establish how they might use a life insurance policy for philanthropic purposes. The MCV Foundation is one of several organizations listed as benefactors, with no stipulation for how the donation will be used. Instead, the couple decided to allow

Roger and Donna Robertson

the foundation to direct the money toward its best use. Their intention is to help perpetuate the system that paved the way for two prosperous careers. “We’re well aware of the challenges that public institutions go through in this day and age,” Robertson says. “We’re happy to do our part to help alleviate some of those struggles.” Drew Vass (B.A. ’02) is a contributing writer for VCU Allied Health.

Types of planned giving Planned giving refers to any charitable gift that requires a plan for execution (as opposed to, for instance, an immediate cash donation). The most typical types of planned gifts that the MCV Foundation receives include the following:

Simple bequests – Donors retain full control of the property, but include bequest wording that designates the foundation as a beneficiary of property in their will(s). This method often results in a tax savings for individual estates. Donations can include cash, securities, real estate, personal property or virtually any owned asset. Charitable remainder trusts – Created when donors irrevocably transfer cash, securities or property to a trust for the foundation’s benefit. In exchange, donors or designated beneficiaries receive a fixed dollar amount on an annual (or more frequent) basis for life, or for a fixed term of up to 20 years. At the death of the donor and/or beneficiaries, or at the end of a designated term, the trust terminates and the assets transfer to the foundation.

Charitable gift annuities – An annuity contract that allows for the transfer of assets to the foundation with the stipulation that the foundation make regular, fixed payments to the donor over the course of the donor’s life.

Charitable lead trusts – A common means for supporting the university’s programs while transferring assets to beneficiaries (typically surviving family members) at a reduced amount of gift and estate taxes. The use of the word “lead” reflects the fact that the foundation manages the trust and related investments. In this way, the foundation receives immediate income while heirs may ultimately receive a larger inheritance than they would otherwise through an outright bequest or accumulation trust by means of reduced tax rates.

Spring 2012



Research in theory, research in action Examining where the school’s focus rests and rounding up the work of two researchers By Andy Bates

research grant proposal isn’t normally described as a “By nature, this involves a lot of interdisciplinary colwork of art. But, in speaking with Brian T. McMahon, laboration,” he says. “I see it as a protracted jigsaw puzzle. Ph.D., assistant dean for research in the School of Allied Piece by piece it comes together as something that is greater Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University, than the sum of its parts and, in the end, it is both beautiful it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty he sees in the blend of and compelling.” intellectual curiosity, collaboration and persistence required Putting this puzzle together, he adds, helps breed passion to craft and answer the right research questions. and focus among faculty members and also ensures that the Sound research, McMahon says, begins with identifying skills and knowledge they bring as educators are consistent knowledge deficits — those things that aren’t quite understood with the latest evidence-based practices. but, once addressed, would “Education without make a marked difference research is folklore,” “Education without research is folklore. This is the in how people live, work McMahon says. “This real advantage of a research university like VCU. and learn. These can range is the real advantage of We have an obligation to see that what has been from investigating health a research university care accessibility and the demonstrated as effective is communicated quickly like VCU. We have an potential uses of new medobligation to see that and accurately to our students and clinicians ications and technologies what has been demonin all of our VCU classrooms and clinics.” to the place of spirituality strated as effective is and ethics in health care communicated quickly – Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D., assistant dean for research service. But regardless of and accurately to our at VCU’s School of Allied Health Professions the focus, McMahon says students and clinicians success is tied to an investment not only in forward-thinking in all of our VCU classrooms and clinics.” faculty, but also research infrastructure — everything from It all starts with that spark, he stresses, that initial review hiring statisticians, grant writers and librarians to building betand critical questioning of the current state of knowledge. ter access to databases, laboratories and information technology. “Give me a great research question,” McMahon says, A full-time professor in the Department of Rehabilitation “one which, when answered, can really make a difference in Counseling, McMahon brings an educator’s stance to his posihealth care, and we can put together a team to help you find tion as assistant dean for research. So, while seeking funding the answer.” for the school’s research endeavors remains the priority, he says To illustrate, here’s a look at two of the school’s junior he gains satisfaction from teaching and mentoring faculty in researchers, the questions they’re trying to answer and the the “art of grant architecture, preparation and submission.” findings that may be within their grasps.

Dusing examines methods of movement in infants For Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and director and founder of the department’s Motor Development Lab, it’s all about movement. Watching an infant play, it’s easy to consider the act clumsy, as he sways, stumbles and tips. But those sways are, in fact, the product of a very essential strategy called postural control. The infant tests different movements to see what allows him to sit upright, what helps him reach for that rattle. The brain is capable of logging these trials and errors to devise new methods of using muscles to manipulate how the body moves. But what happens when an infant has difficulty controlling his posture? How soon can such difficulties be spotted? What types of environmental factors impact postural control and motor development? And what can researchers do to help infants reach their fullest potential? 18

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Through funding from an A.D. Williams award through VCU and a career development award from the Comprehensive Opportunities for Rehabilitation Research Training program funded by the National Institutes of Health, these are some of the questions Dusing has been able to ask in her research at the Motor Development Lab. Dusing is currently testing the theory that infants born pre-term, or with developmental delays or disabilities like cerebral palsy, tend to rely on a small set of repetitive movements to control posture rather than trying new strategies. She hypothesizes that these repetitive movements reduce the infant’s ability to manipulate objects, learn from their environment, interact with their parents and navigate the world around them. “If we can help infants learn to control posture at a younger age, we may be able to prevent some learning challenges,” Spring 2012


Dusing says. “Improving an infant or young child’s motor skills will likely advance all aspects of their development.” According to Dusing, there isn’t much research dealing with postural control in the first year of life, so “spotting a lack of variability in postural control in the first six months of life will allow us to provide intervention when the brain and body are the most adaptable.” By comparing center-of-pressure measurements of at-risk infants with typically developing infants, Dusing can examine the variety of postural control strategies and the average force exerted by a body in various positions. This work is leading to interventions designed to improve postural control, encourage a variety of movement strategies and promote learning through exploration of the world around the infant. “We envision intervention as physical therapists and parents working together to help infants move with a wider variety of postural control strategies so they can learn what works best for them,” Dusing says.

DeShazo develops technologies for health care and learning

Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, works with an infant on postural control strategies at the department’s Motor Development Lab, which she founded and directs.

Research support inspires discovery VCU’s stated quest to cement its legacy as a premier urban, public research university hinges on every school’s ability to secure private funding to fuel the pursuit of discovery across disciplines, and as Brian McMahon, Ph.D., assistant dean for research at VCU’s School of Allied Health Professions, concludes, “There is plenty of energy, excitement and momentum around the generation of new knowledge in the School of Allied Health Professions these days, and our best years are ahead.” That excitement and momentum, while certainly effective in competing for funding through grant and other private sources, has also helped spur philanthropic support earmarked for research, which augments funding for new laboratories and equipment, provides seed money for promising research endeavors and helps investigators meet matching fund requirements for grants. Most importantly, however, private support provides the School of Allied Health Professions the means to hire senior-level scientists to lead the charge of discovery and help sustain the energy and excitement that McMahon describes. To learn more about the impact philanthropic support and planned giving has on the School of Allied Health Professions, see “The importance of a chair” on Page 10 and “Honor the past, reach for the future” on Page 14.


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Jonathan DeShazo, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the be as simple as adding educational components to existing Department of Health Administration, has a bit of a split models of popular games like Sudoku or hangman, where research personality. As associate director of the Biomedical a player earns extra points or turns by answering an educaInformatics Core within VCU’s Center for Clinical and tional question directly. Translational Research, he spends much of his time building Games can function in classroom learning, too, DeShazo information technologies and studying how well these technolosays, and he’s in the process of building and testing a rolegies function on a user level so that playing game for his health care better data is available to patients information technology manage“The basic goal is to develop and practitioners, which can result ment class that allows students to technologies and provide data and in better health care decisions. get a better feel for the ins and consulting services to researchers so they At the same time, DeShazo outs of information technology describes himself as a gamer, in the health care system. Tied can do better research and make more and when he’s not teaching or to Facebook and structured like rapid contributions to their field.” working with the CCTR, he’s the popular games FarmVille and – Jon DeShazo, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor devising ways to integrate video Mafia Wars, DeShazo’s game in the Department of Health Administration games into the classroom and asks users to start out as an IT into patients’ lives. help desk technician. Then, using DeShazo contributed to the technology portion of VCU’s the concepts taught in the classroom, users complete more largest-ever grant proposal, a $20 million Clinical and complicated jobs that allow them to move up the ranks, with Translational Science Award, and part of that money has the goal of securing the position of chief information officer. gone into his medical informatics research through the What video games offer, DeShazo says, is a level of fun that CCTR. This research primarily involves the development of simultaneously allows for learning to take place, regardless of three distinct technologies that can have significant impacts whether that learner is a student applying a classroom concept on how researchers assemble, study and share information. or a patient looking to learn more about their health habits. The electronic data capture system, for example, helps Andy Bates is a contributing writer researchers perform surveys and electronic case reports to for VCU Allied Health. build their own collections of data. The cohort identification tool functions as a self-service site that allows researchers to determine potential pools of patients treated at VCU based on whatever criteria their clinical trials may require. Similarly, all of these wide-ranging forms of information can be housed in a clinical data warehouse, which DeShazo says is more comprehensive and research-centered than traditional electronic medical records systems. “The basic goal is to develop technologies and provide data and consulting services to researchers so they can do better research and make more rapid contributions to their field,” DeShazo says. In the coming year, one focus of his work at the CCTR will be to determine how these technologies can help VCU and other institutions and health systems share information and collaborate on studies. Another goal is to continue to move VCU Medical Center’s patient portal system forward so that patients can update family histories, be alerted to potential trials and generally make better decisions about their health. This is where part of DeShazo’s video game interest comes in. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jon DeShazo, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the Department of Health DeShazo works to design video games for adult users aimed Administration, uses role-playing video games, like the one pictured behind him, at improving nutritional information and diabetes manageto help teach concepts and provide a fun learning atmosphere in his health care information technology management class. ment skills. Often, DeShazo says, instilling these skills can

Spring 2012


Global reach

School of Allied Health Professions alumni translate their skills into worldwide care Health issues know no borders. And neither do the efforts of alumni of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions. Those who are compelled to take their skills and expertise to far corners of the earth say that working abroad places an entirely new perspective on the interconnectivity of all mankind and the need for global health care efforts. Following are a few of the thoughts alumni shared from their experiences.

ed omes easy to only be concern “Itwithbecwha but t directly affects us;

Carolyn Hawley, Ph.D., at a colloquium held Nov. 8, 2011, gathering collaborators from Jerusalem

’06/HRS) – Carolyn Hawley, Ph.D. (Ph.D. principal and ing nsel Cou on itati artment of Rehabil ance the assistant professor in VCU’s Dep enh to ks wor ican Resilience Project, which asing incre investigator for the Israeli/Amer for ns mea a as e ienc and application of resil ic mat trau global scientific knowledge base and ative withstand and recoup from neg Award) the capacit y of individuals to tives Initia or Maj hips ners onal Part events (par t of VCU’s Internati

Across the world, we have the sam e desire to protect and provide for our children. One of the strengths of the VCU nurse anesthesia program is that students are exposed to a wide vari ety of facilities, equipment and anesthe tic techniques. This aspect of the prog ram was very helpful in preparing me for the conditions I faced in Belize.

– Nickie Damico, CRNA (B.S. ’97; M.S.N.A. ’99/NA) assistant professor of professional practice in the VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia who served on the Plast ic Surgeries Team in Belize for the World Pediatric Project

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go all the way back to the second grade, when I chose Australia as the country that I wanted to give a report on. I had to take an international exam to get my Australian nuclear medicine certification and I can honestly say that there would have been no way I could have passed that exam without my education from VCU and its nuclear medicine program.

in Aly Cooper hiking through Lancheng Park n Taiwa ship, Town eng Touch


people who are ‘differfrom. I find it comforting working with orces our sameness. I ent,’ or from somewhere else, as it reinf ort of the VCU comcannot emphasize enough how the supp orks I initially developed munity has been key. Through the netw with various knowledge at VCU, I have colleagues and mentors on and utilize. and opportunities that I continue to call

ngly enough, I think my desire “toInteresti live and work abroad may

r health is a global matter. Whethe girls we realize it or not, women and cted around the world who are affe e have by domestic and sexual violenc here us a profound impact on each of al in the U.S. and it will take a glob ur. effort in order for change to occ . ’11/G) – Aly Cooper (M.S.W. ’09; Cert who ker wor al soci al a gerontologic with lives in Taiwan and volunteers an on, dati Foun e Hop of the Garden women, organization that works with experienced children and youth who have tion and sexual assault and/or exploita domestic violence

s occurring

e and issue The world has become a very small plac “some we cannot be isolated that t effec e rippl a where else have

Kristen Hurst with a you

ng patient in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

– Kristen Hurst (B.S. ’04/RS) a nuclear medicine technologist who lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and is dually accredited in the U.S. and Australia

Nickie Damico with a patient at Southern Regional Medical Center in Dangriga, Belize

Spring 2012


cult By seeing a family make a diffi “dec to l ntia pote the had that n isio

Health is a global issue because there “are many diseases and conditio

ns that are preventable if the proper resources are available. That said, when in Haiti, I don’t have access to all of the medical supplies and equipment available in the U.S.; however, I have learned to be more creative and make do with the materials that are available. It’s amazing how many activities can be done with a chair!

s, I was jeopardize their children’s live and challenged to assess my values g with overall outlook on life. Workin universality them also reminded me of the … in making difficult life decisions. the box It forced me to think outside of be approto offer intervention that would blish priate across cultures and to esta rier. rapport despite a language bar

Melanie Gray, D.P.T., with a young patient on her trip to Jacmel, Haiti, in 2011

– Melanie Gray (D.P.T. ’05/PT) a physical therapist who participated in two international medical trips, including Tagacaba, Brazil, in 2008, and Jacmel, Haiti, in 2011

sharing The sharing of health care is the wlkno e hav I l, iona fess of life. As a pro rected redi be can that s urce edge and reso erund in ems syst care lth to move the hea my is This . ard forw s ntrie developed cou ersion in calling and my obligation. Imm rs living othe of s nce erie the real-life exp me es mak ld wor the of in other parts calling is God t wha of re continually awa . blem pro this ress me to do to add CLS) – Tim Randolph, Ph.D. (M.S. ’87/ s Loui t Sain er, associate professor and research ry rato Labo ical Clin of ent artm Universit y, Dep h World Science, and founder of Randolp stry promini l ona nati inter an Ministries Inc., ners with 24 gram and organization that part ratory services Haitian clinics to improve labo

separation procedure

ing program at MCV Hospitals and working with other clinical pastoral education supervisors at the hospital, as well as throughout Virginia, in general, I realized that there was a great need for a dynamic CPE development in the Philippines. I thought that it was important for CPE leaders to be highly competent in organizing, sustaining, guiding and journeying. These were all part of my education and what I learned and experienced at the VCU School of Allied Health Professions.

Sister Pat Eck, left, with several colleagues

in South Africa

Right after my clinical pastoral education “residenc y with the patient counsel

– Lucio B. Mutia, Th.D. (Cert. ’87/PC) president of Philippine Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and Practice Inc. and executive director of its CPE program

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le are suffering in another part of the globe. In my experience, the most significant difference in providing health care, particularly in Peru and South Africa, is the level of true basic need and the difference relatively small amounts of money make. Healt h care becomes dealing with the basic needs of food, shelter and water, preventing childhood diseases with basic nutrition and hand-washing, and managing infectious diseases.

clinic in Haiti Tim Randolph, Ph.D., at work in a mobile


Jessica Lynn with a twin after a surgical

Our world is so small now. We know imme “diate ly when peop

– Jessica Lynn (M.S. ’11/OT) an occupational therapist for d at VCU, Children’s Hospital of Richmon recently who ter, Cen apy Bon Air Ther from the worked with conjoined twins e surgically Dominican Republic who wer s at CHoR eon surg c iatri ped by d rate sepa

– Sister Pat Eck, C.B.S. (M.H.A. ’81/HA) congregation leader for Sisters of Bon Secou rs of Paris who has worked in Ireland, France, Peru and South Africa, and 2011 recipient of the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, a papal award that represents the highest honor given to a memb er of a religious community by the Vatican

Full conversations available online Lucio Mutia, Th.D., at a clinical pastoral education convention in the Philippines

For additional insights and to review full transcripts of conversations with these School of Allied Health Professions alumni, visit Thank you to Bill Gray, a member of the MCV Foundation board of trustees, who inspired this piece with his daughter Melanie Gray’s experience in Haiti. Her story was so interesting that we wanted to share how Melanie and other alumni are making an impact throughout the world with their knowledge and skills. We thank Bill for promoting this idea and for his service on the MCV Foundation board.

Spring 2012


Opportunity VCU

A lifelong gift

Opportunity VCU, alumni generosity spark new student scholarships By Tom Myrick Universities and tuition costs are not immune from difficult economic times. As the cost of higher education continues to rise, the amount of state funds allocated to help cover these expenses continue to decrease. In fiscal year 2010, for example, Virginia Commonwealth University received $25.4 million less in state support than it did in fiscal year 2000, despite enrolling nearly 9,000 more students. One of the many challenges VCU faces in dealing with these financial changes is finding funding for new student scholarships — a key component to attracting the best and brightest students to the university. As a result, the VCU and

MCV Alumni Associations launched the Opportunity VCU campaign in 2009, an initiative to raise $50 million for scholarships and fellowships across all academic units. Among those who have answered the challenge to participate in Opportunity VCU are three special stories, each with its own connection to the university and eagerness to help students. Thanks to their efforts and generosity, VCU students have new scholarships: the Marion Cotter King Memorial Gerontology Scholarship, the Kathryn Lawrence Dragas Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Lewis and Violet Childers Memorial Scholarship in Physical Therapy.

Marion Cotter King

Memorial Gerontology Scholarship The inspiration for this newly created gerontology scholarship, Marion Cotter King refused to let advancing age get in the way of her enthusiasm for life. “My mother was very fun-loving,” says James Cotter, Ph.D., associate professor of gerontology in the VCU School of Allied Health Professions. “She traveled to 44 countries and six of the seven continents. She traveled even into her late 80s. She would get taken to the cruise ships in a wheelchair, but once she was on it, she would get up and dance the night away.” After her first husband passed away, King raised their two children (Cotter and his younger sister, Patricia Duggan) on her own, supporting her family as a single mom at a time when few women worked outside the home. “She was ahead of her time,” Cotter says.


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But pursuing adventures and seeing the world always remained a key part of King’s life. “Her love of life, her interest in life and the world: Those are the things about my mom that have inspired me,” Cotter says. It is that zest and eagerness that motivated Cotter and Duggan to start the Marion Cotter King Memorial Gerontology Scholarship in their mother’s honor. With its focus on students interested in elder recreation and leisure, the scholarship will allow others to get the same fulfillment out of their golden years that King herself enjoyed. “Scholarship is the first line of encouraging education,” Cotter says. “Scholarships such as these also help VCU as a whole. If it’s a choice between VCU and somewhere else, and we are able to provide a little bit of support, that could be a deciding factor in attracting a bright student.” Indeed, King’s connection to VCU goes beyond just her son — three of her grandchildren have attended the university as well, including Evan Cotter (B.F.A. ’03), Drew Cotter (B.S. ’06) and Margaret Cotter, who is currently studying in Turkey as a Boren Scholar. “I think [Margaret] got some of her grandmother’s travel bug,” Cotter says.

Kathryn Lawrence Dragas Memorial Scholarship Fund

For many graduates of the Department of Occupational Therapy, one of the lasting memories of the program is the friendships that working in such a close-knit atmosphere provides. The long days of classes and the numerous collaborative projects create a unique bond between students of the OT program. “I’ve gone to several universities, and what amazed me about VCU’s occupational therapy program was the sense of community and interpersonal relationships it had,” Fiona Bessey-Bushnell (M.S.O.T. ’01/ OT) says. “It was a nurturing environment, and we all helped each other out.” Not only do these connections help students while they are in the program (“You really have to collaborate if you are going to get through school,” Bessey-Bushnell says), the sense of fellowship also continues long after graduation. It was that unity that led three occupational therapy graduates — BesseyBushnell, Cassie Lorie (M.S.O.T. ’01/OT) and Selena Isabelle (M.S.O.T. ’01/OT) — to create the Kathryn Lawrence Dragas Memorial Scholarship to honor their friend and former classmate, Kathryn Dragas, after she passed away in December 2009. Lorie initially proposed the idea, and the three graduates, with the help of Kathryn’s husband, William Dragas, and her brother, John Lawrence, did the legwork to get the scholarship off the ground, pulling the occupational therapy class together to work toward this common goal. “Kathryn was always very giving of herself,” BesseyBushnell says. “She was always willing to help out and support others. She was always an excellent student as well, so honoring her with a scholarship just made sense.” While the scholarship is available to anyone applying to the occupational therapy program, preference will be given to those pursuing a career

in pediatrics — a particular interest of Kathryn’s, as she earned a number of advanced certifications in that area after graduating from VCU. “Unfortunately, I never got to meet her, but it sounds like Kathryn and I were a lot alike,” Jessica Lynn, the scholarship’s inaugural recipient, says. “We had a lot of the same interests professionally, and a lot of the same personality traits. I couldn’t put into words how special it was to receive a scholarship named for someone so highly thought of.” In addition to extending Dragas’ legacy, the scholarship also ensures that the kinship shared by OT students will only continue to grow. “This scholarship has really given me a better connection with [Kathryn’s] classmates,” Jenny Bonano, the scholarship’s second recipient, says. “People like Fiona and everyone else I’ve met with have been really supportive and are great resources for me as a student. Meeting them also helps me understand who Kathryn was as a person, as well as learn how the OT program has developed over the years. It’s been wonderful.” “The scholarship is about helping others with funds, but it’s also an opportunity for healing,” BesseyBushnell says. “It was therapeutic to meet and talk to the recipients. Plus, some of our class had lost touch, and it was a chance for us to renew those connections again. Kathryn would have been very pleased with that.”

“Scholarship is the first line of encouraging education. So any help that comes to these students takes some of the pressure off them a little bit.” – James Cotter, Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU Department of Gerontology

Spring 2012


Opportunity VCU


Lewis and Violet Childers

Memorial Scholarship in Physical Therapy Janet Showalter (B.S. ’58/PT) knows firsthand the important role that outside support can play in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. Encountering a neighbor who was often restricted to a wheelchair due to rheumatoid arthritis, Showalter learned the benefits of physical therapy at a young age and quickly set her sights on a career in the field. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a physical therapist,” Showalter says. “But there just wasn’t much knowledge out there about what a woman could do [in medicine] besides being a nurse.” In addition to the lack of opportunities, financial concerns also threatened to derail Showalter’s dream. Though money was tight within her family, Showalter’s parents recognized her desire and commitment, and found a way to support her through her studies at Mary Washington College and, later, the Medical College of Virginia. “I know they worked very hard to be able to get the finances together to send me to school,” Showalter says. “They were wonderful parents and I really wanted to find a way to honor them.” In the end, Showalter decided on a fitting tribute to the parents who had stood behind her: by providing

the same support they had offered her to others. The Lewis and Violet Childers Memorial Scholarship, created by Showalter and her husband, Lee, will assist physical therapy students facing significant personal challenges, such as financial need. “A lot of times, there’s a person who is qualified [to attend school for physical therapy], but he or she just doesn’t have the finances available to them to be able to follow that dream,” Showalter says. “I just don’t think there are enough scholarships for physical therapy students.” Showalter’s daughter, Sarah Mays (B.S. ’84/PT), believes her grandparents would be pleased to have their names associated with the scholarship. “I’m really happy for my mom to be able to honor her parents this way,” Mays says. “They would be thrilled to be able to encourage students to get an education. It makes for a nice circle of completion — they were able to put money together to get her through school, so she now is able to help others.” A graduate from VCU’s physical therapy program as well, Mays and her mother shared the unique experience of being classmates during her junior year, when Showalter and a friend audited a handful of classes at VCU. “It was very special,” Mays says. “We were in the old South Hospital, and Mom had a chair right behind me. She makes the most awesome fudge, and would bring it in for everyone in the class to eat during breaks. She was just like a mom to everyone in the class.”

To support student scholarships in the VCU School of Allied Health Professions, contact Jessica Gurganus, assistant dean for development and external affairs, at (804) 828-3269 or, or make an online gift at


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Tom Myrick (M.A. ’05; M.S. ’07) is a contributing writer for VCU Allied Health.

The latest updates on scholarships, awards and research news from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions

VCU marks inauguration of its fifth president, Michael Rao, Ph.D. In front of a packed Siegel Center audience that included Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, faculty, staff, students, alumni and visitors, VCU Rector Thomas G. Snead Jr. (B.S. ’76) and Beverly J. Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the presidential medallion to Michael Rao, Ph.D., installing Rao as VCU’s fifth president on Oct. 14, 2011. While the inauguration made Rao’s presidential appointment official, his two years on campus following his nine-year tenure as president of Central Michigan University have already left an indelible impression at VCU, sparking what McDonnell could only describe as infectious enthusiasm. In addressing the crowd, Rao demonstrated that spirit in responding to Duncan’s challenge to build on VCU’s status as one of the nation’s leading urban, public research universities. “We will find the answers our state, our nation and the world so desperately need,” Rao said at the ceremony. “It won’t be about lofty abstractions. It will be about the immediate and intense needs of people.”

VCU officially welcomes Michael Rao, Ph.D., president, VCU and VCU Health System, with a formal ceremony.

Already, Rao has made his mark in those areas, launching in 2011 the university’s new strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, which emphasizes academic excellence, research that enhances quality of life and contributions to the economic and cultural vitality of the community. Similarly, Rao has guided VCU and the VCU Health System to top designations by the Carnegie Foundation as well as U.S. News & World Report.

Patient safety inspires department chair to give

Clinical laboratory sciences celebrates 85 years

Michael D. Fallacaro, D.N.S., CRNA, chair of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, established an endowment this past fall for a new student scholarship focused on patient safety. “As nurse anesthetists, we are given a very special gift — the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of others,” Fallacaro says. “We’ve had students who’ve gone above and beyond to comfort individuals in times of need or students make really extraordinary saves in the operating room. We’ve had students come up with scholarly projects and develop more robust systems to contribute to patient safety.” While benefitting graduate students who embody this spirit of giving, Fallcaro hopes the scholarship will also inspire others to make contributions to the specialty, one that he says has given so much to him. To make a gift to the fund, please contact Jessica Gurganus, assistant dean for development, at (804) 828-3269 or jfgurganus@vcu.

In 2011, the School of Allied Health Professions’ departments of Physical Therapy, Gerontology and Radiation Sciences celebrated their departmental founding dates. This year, the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences — founded as the School of Medical Technology in 1927 — joins the celebration, announcing its reunion event to be held in conjunction with Reunion Weekend. The School of Allied Health Professions invites clinical laboratory sciences alumni and friends to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences on Friday, April 20, 2012, at the Virginia Historical Society. For more information, contact department Chair Teresa Nadder, Ph.D. (B.S. ’78/MET; M.S. ’89/MET; Ph.D. ’98), at (804) 828-9469 or

Spring 2012




Gift honors Roice Luke, founder of M.S.H.A. program

A new scholarship bears the name of retired professor Roice Luke, Ph.D.

Just a few years after joining the Department of Health Administration as chair in 1982, Roice Luke, Ph.D., put the university on the cutting edge of education by founding the M.S.H.A. program. Begun in 1988, the program offers a unique curriculum that combines online course work with six on-campus sessions and was one of the first to incorporate the use of the Internet into higher education instruction.

“We were the pioneers for this, particularly at VCU,” he says. “The university offers a number of similar programs now and their roots all come back to our M.S.H.A. program.” Now, Luke who retired from VCU in October, hopes that the scholarship created in his honor will encourage similar innovation and growth in future students. Endowed by alumnus Tim Stack (M.H.A. ’77/HA) and other donors, the Roice Luke Scholarship will be awarded to students in the M.S.H.A. program. Luke was particularly honored at the role Stack played in the creation of the scholarship. Though Stack graduated five years prior to Luke’s arrival, the two worked closely when Stack, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, served as the Department of Health Administration’s alumni association president in 1992-93. The respect between the two men, however, is certainly reciprocal. “Dr. Luke has been very instrumental to my success in the health field,” Stack says. “My family and I have been blessed with a great job and a great career thanks to the training I received from special folks in the department like Dr. Luke. So when the chance came up to be a part of this scholarship, I was glad to help out.” To learn more about the Roice Luke Scholarship, contact Jessica Gurganus, assistant dean for development, at (804) 828-3269 or Or to make a gift online, go to /give/healthadmin.

options sooner and understand the requirements for being accepted into a program and what the educational demands are once they’re enrolled.” The summer program increases participant awareness of the profession of physical therapy as a career option and gives high schoolers, especially underrepresented and disadvantaged students, an opportunity to experience a higher-education learning environment. Co-sponsored free dental clinic creates smiles

The First People’s Dental Clinic 2011 took place Oct. 22-23 at the Rappahannock Tribe Cultural Center on the land of the Rappahannock Indians. This groundbreaking collaboration between the departments of Gerontology and Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach (formerly the Division of Dental Hygiene) at VCU and the Rappahannock Tribe was funded by VCU’s Council for Community Engagement. The First People’s Dental Clinic 2011 was hosted by the Rappahannock Tribe and was open to all 11 tribes in Virginia. Participants in the clinic hailed from nine of the tribes as well as two tribes from North Carolina and one tribe from Canada. Services offered included hygiene, fluoride treatment, restorative treatment, extractions and referrals to VCU for oral surgery. The clinic was staffed by approximately 75 volunteers from VCU’s Department of Gerontology, School of Dentistry and Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach. In sum, approximately 200 procedures were performed with more than $19,600 worth of services rendered over the course of the two-day clinic.

High school students explore PT profession

Area high school students practice their physical therapy skills at the department’s two-week Summer Career Exploration Program.


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The Department of Physical Therapy hosted its first Summer Career Exploration Program in July 2011. The two-week exploration program for 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders from Richmond Public Schools and surrounding county schools provided 16 participants with interactive lectures and hands-on labs at VCU. “Most people don’t know about PT until they go to college,” says Cheryl Ford-Smith, PT, D.P.T., M.S., NCS, associate professor and chair of the Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee in the physical therapy department. “Since PT programs are so competitive, students need to know about their career

VANA presents a check to members of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia. Front row (from left): Michael D. Fallacaro, chairman, VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia; Danny Frasca, VANA District 5 Winter Workshop chairman; Jan Setnor, VANA president 2010-11. Second row (from left): Elizabeth Howell; Tom Kinnehan; Sharon Richardson. Third row (from left): Suzanne Wright; Steve Laubacher; Kevin Baker; Nino Bianchi.

VANA establishes nurse anesthesia scholarship

The Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the VANA District 5 Winter Workshop Committee presented the VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia and its chairman, Michael D. Fallacaro, D.N.S., CRNA, with a $15,000 check at the 2011 VANA District 5 Winter Workshop. The donation established the District 5/VANA Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to students in the D.N.A.P. clinical doctorate nurse anesthesia program who are either CRNAs or SRNAs, and who are accepting a job in Virginia upon graduation. The scholarship recipient will be required to attend the VANA midyear assembly and/or VANA Lobby Day and will be required to speak at a VANA meeting or write an article in the Monitor, the VANA newsletter. In addition to this founding donation, the VANA District 5 Winter Workshop committee has pledged to contribute a portion of the annual meeting’s proceeds to perpetuate this scholarship. The first scholarship was awarded at the 2012 VANA District 5 Winter Workshop. Event helps aging adults navigate ‘new normal’

Some of the approximately 75 volunteers from VCU’s Department of Gerontology, School of Dentistry and the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach pose at the First People’s Dental Clinic at the Rappahannock Tribe Cultural Center.

Modern Aging: Navigating the New Normal took place Oct. 29, 2011, at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center. The Department of Gerontology and the Section of Geriatric Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine along with Lift Caregiving worked

Spring 2012




Lynn Robbins (left), marketing manager for Lift Caregiving, and Naima Wares-Akers, a student in the Certificate in Aging Studies program, participate in the Modern Aging event, which partnered older adults and caregivers with age-related services.

together to produce this event, which partnered older adults and caregivers with aging-related goods and services from throughout Richmond, Va. More than 50 vendors participated in the event and more than 200 older adults and caregivers were guests of the opportunity fair and the educational seminars, which included topics ranging from dealing with dementia to weathering work. For information to help family caregivers find products, service providers, advice and meaningful support, go to the Lift Caregiving website at President taps grad student for national post

President Barack Obama appointed Jack Martin Brandt to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Brandt, who is pursuing a master’s in rehabilitation counseling at VCU, serves as the disability policy

specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at the university. In this role, Brandt focuses on developing and promoting evidence-based and person-centered practices to improve outcomes in self-advocacy for people with intellectual and development disabilities. Brandt also serves on the VCU Integration Advisory Commission and the Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council.  Since it was established in 1966 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities has sought to serve and improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the promotion of policies and programs that embrace selfdetermination and independence. Grant spurs rehabilitation counseling recruitment

The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling received a long-term training grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration. The project “Recruiting and training rehabilitation counselors qualified to work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing” is designed to recruit people who already have strong sign language skills to become qualified rehabilitation counselors committed to working for state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Because the program is designed for distance learners, it can meet the needs of trainees in remote or rural areas where access to a traditional oncampus training program is not possible. This project uses a hybrid approach to instruction; some of the required courses combine online education with one-week experiences on campus at VCU and at the Helen Keller National Center in New York for intensive skill development. This project is funded for $100,000 per year for five years.

Academy highlights dean’s military service A part of a series of stories about fellows who served in the armed forces, the Academy of Nurses website featured a story about retired colonel and School of Allied Health Professions Dean Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D. An academy fellow since 1989, Drain served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps for 27 years before entering the field of higher education. The dean also served as keynote speaker at VCU’s Veterans Day lunch celebration, capping the conclusion of Military Services Appreciation Week this past November. Read more about Drain on the academy’s website at /in-the-spotlight.


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Nurse anesthesia alumnae Lukeythia Bastardi, D.N.A.P., and Jill Schroeder, D.N.A.P., demonstrate how to use the Baricity Educational Spinal Trainer device.

BEST device lands nurse anesthesia alumnae on cover of national journal Two recent graduates of the School of Allied Health cadavers to teach nurse anesthesia students about the Professions were featured on the August 2011 cover science of regional anesthesia. of the American Association of “This is a fantastic tool to teach Nurse Anesthetists Journal. nurse anesthesia students because “It really illustrates that Lukeythia Bastardi, D.N.A.P., it gives them a chance to really see ‘seeing is believing.’” and Jill Schroeder, D.N.A.P., how anesthetics travel through the are pictured demonstrating the body,” says Howell. “It really illus– Elizabeth Howell, assistant professor and director of professional development Baricity Educational Spinal trates that ‘seeing is believing.’” in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia Trainer, a device they helped Bastardi, Schroeder and and co-developer of the device develop with Elizabeth Howell, Howell were the sole developers assistant professor and director of the BEST device. The tool of professional development in the Department is already being used by student registered nurse of Nurse Anesthesia. anesthetists at the annual Regional Anesthesia The BEST device allows the user to inject dyed Workshop, which is hosted by VCU’s Department local anesthetics into the spinal canal and visualize of Nurse Anesthesia. Currently the patent is pendthe movement throughout the space surrounding ing, and VCU is seeking a commercialization partner the spinal cord. The device will be used on human to license this tool.

Spring 2012


News Clinical laboratory scientist makes top jobs list

A career in clinical laboratory science was selected among “The 50 Best Careers of 2011” by U.S. News & World Report. Described as the “unsung heroes of the health care industry,” clinical laboratory scientists were among the high-opportunity professions chosen based on job growth projection, salary data and other factors including job satisfaction. The report indicated that job growth is expected to be faster than average for clinical laboratory personnel, rising approximately 16 percent between 2008 and 2018.

News spent four days working at a nursing home in Cartago, facilitating group exercises, making modifications to assistive devices and working one on one with several patients and area health care providers. “By the end of the trip, we had helped about 100 patients and made many friends,” says Lindsay Derenthal, a physical therapy student. “It was an extremely rewarding trip for all involved.” When the students returned to the U.S., they gave a presentation to classmates, faculty members and special guests, followed by a luncheon hosted by Dean Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D.

Service-learning takes students to Costa Rica

In January 2012, 15 physical therapy students and one nursing student traveled to Costa Rica for a 12-day service-learning trip. As the trip was coordinated through International Service Learning, the students were accompanied by two Costa Rican PTs during their travels. Prior to the trip, faculty member Lisa Donegan Shoaf, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D. (B.S. ’81/PT; Ph.D. ’02; D.P.T. ’09/PT), and alumna Melanie Gray, D.P.T. (D.P.T. ’05/PT), spoke with the students about their experiences with service-learning trips and how to prepare and what to expect. The group flew into San Jose and stayed in a hotel in Cartago. They spent the first three days working out of a community center in Tuccirrique, screening patients, providing manual techniques as appropriate and providing home exercise programs. The team also

Gerontology launches fundraising campaign

The Department of Gerontology has launched a threeyear plan to raise funds toward an endowed professorship. Last year started a new chapter in gerontology and aging services as the first wave of the baby boom population turned 65. Your assistance is needed so that the department and the school can strategically grow to respond to the demand of the aging population. Members of the aging services community, alumni and community partners have already stepped forward to show their support. As a result of fundraising activities, special events and generous leadership gifts, the campaign has raised more than $15,000 toward its goal. For more information on making a gift to the Department of Gerontology, please call (804) 828-1565 or visit

M.H.A. Class of 1964 honors alumnus Dick Kraus

Members of the Master of Health Administration Class of 1964, along with faculty, staff and students of the Department of Health Administration gathered at the Grant House in April 2011 to posthumously honor Richard Kraus (M.H.A. ’64/HA) by unveiling and hanging a portrait of him that his classmate Ed Smith (M.H.A. ’64/HA) had restored. Kraus, who passed away in 2006, served as CEO of Chippenham Medical Center in Richmond, Va., from 1987-94. During his career, he also worked at Richmond Memorial Hospital and held several executive-level positions at Chippenham’s parent company, HCA. Dedicated to his alma mater through many deeds, Kraus was active with the department, serving as executive-inresidence and as preceptor to 11 M.H.A. students.

Members of the Master of Health Administration Class of 1964 commemorate classmate Richard Kraus, who passed away in 2006, with an unveiling of his restored portrait.

New faculty members Ben Darter, PT, Ph.D., has joined the Department of Physical Therapy to teach cardiopulmonary physical therapy and exercise physiology to students in the doctoral program. Darter earned an M.S. in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College in New York and a Ph.D. in Physical Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa. Most recently, he was a research physical therapist at Brooke Army Medical Center’s military performance lab, Center for the Intrepid, at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio. During this time, Darter was an adjunct professor in the U.S. Army-Baylor University’s doctoral program in physical therapy. Kelli W. Gary, Ph.D., OTR/L, joined the faculty in the

Department of Occupational Therapy as an assistant professor in July 2011. She was a predoctoral fellow in VCU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and completed her Ph.D. in the School of Allied Health Professions’ health related sciences program in 2008. Gary serves as program director for Project Empowerment, a grant funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research through the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her research and practice background is in the area of traumatic brain injury. Don Gehring, J.D., joined the Department of Health

Administration as an affiliate professor in June 2011. He has a long and distinguished career in health

policy and government relations, and served VCU in this capacity for many years before a recent move to become director of government relations at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Carole Ivey, Ph.D., OTR/L, joined the Department of Occupational Therapy as an assistant professor in July 2011. Having served as an adjunct faculty member for several years, she quickly assumed responsibility for teaching in both the entry-level master’s and professional doctorate programs. Ivey has an extensive background in pediatric occupational therapy practice and a strong interest in team-building and leadership research. Patrick Liverpool, Ph.D., joined the Department of Health

Administration as an adjunct faculty member. He previously served as vice provost at Virginia Tech and business school dean at Delaware State University. He teaches Health Care Organization and Leadership. A. Ray Pentecost III, Dr.P.H., FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, joined

the Department of Health Administration as an affiliate professor. Pentecost is on the forefront of health care architecture and design, and has extensive teaching and research experience in these areas. He is the director of health care architecture at the Norfolk, Va., architecture firm Clark Nexsen.

Students from physical therapy and nursing visit community centers, like the one pictured here, throughout Costa Rica as part of a 12-day service-learning trip.


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Spring 2012


Class notes

Class notes

Keep in touch! Let us know about your accomplishments by submitting your news to or online at Or, mail your news to Virginia Commonwealth University, MCV Alumni Association of VCU, P.O. Box 980156, Richmond, VA 23298-0156.

Lisa Perkins (B.S. ’08/CLS; M.S. ’08/CLS) joined the VCU Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences as a faculty member and laboratory instructor. Carrie Owen Plietz (M.H.A. ’00/HA) was named CEO of the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., and was featured on the Modern Healthcare list of 2011 Up and Comers. Lisa Webb* (M.S. ’06/RC; Cert. ’06/G) joined the VCU Office of Special Services for Students as director. Mei Zhao, Ph.D. (Ph.D. ’04/HSOR), was promoted to director of the M.H.A. program at the University of North Florida.



Richard Bracken* (M.H.A. ’77/HA), chairman and CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, was listed No. 34 in the August edition of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.

Kurt Bell* (B.S. ’95; M.S.H.A. ’04/HA) was appointed to the Capacity Task Force of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council. Bell is pharmacy operations manager for Virginia Baptist Hospital and Centra Health.

Chris Durrer* (B.S. ’73; M.H.A. ’77/HA), was recognized in the Aug. 22, 2011, issue of Biz Sense magazine, an online publication serving Richmond, Va., for his participation in a VCU course in sustainability for local businesspeople. Jeff Harrison, Ph.D. (M.H.A. ’77/HA; Ph.D. ’02/HA), was promoted to chair of the Department of Public Health at the University of North Florida. Wick Lyne (M.H.A. ’71/HA) returned to the classroom to speak to an Organizational Behavior class taught by Patrick Liverpool, Ph.D., adjunct professor in the Department of Health Administration. The focus was on motivation within the workplace through values and example setting. Wayne G. Terry, Ph.D., LFACHE (M.H.A. ’73/HA), received the 2010 Commitment to Excellence Award (Retiree) at the annual Air Force Awards banquet in Chicago during the American College of Healthcare Executives congress. Terry serves as the executive director of the Southside Area Health Education Center at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

1980s Chris Dadlez (M.H.A. ’80/HA), father of Greg Dadlez, M.H.A. Class of 2012, gave the keynote address at the Family Day Celebration this past fall for students leaving the Grant House for their residencies. Howard Kern (M.H.A. ’81/HA), president of Sentara Healthcare, was appointed to the Service Delivery and Payment Reform Task Force of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council. Lucien Roberts (M.H.A. ’87/HA) has joined Pulse Systems Inc. as vice president. Tracy Kemp Stallings (BS. ’85; M.S.H.A. ’95/HA) was selected as the Department of Health Administration’s 2011 Alumna of the Year. She serves as COO of Richmond’s HCA Johnston-Willis Hospital and was named chair of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.


Michael Blumberg* (M.S.H.A. ’98/HA) was appointed to the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. Blumberg is a managing partner at Virginia Adult and Pediatric Allergy and Asthma. Alan Dow, M.D. (M.S.H.A. ’95), associate professor in VCU’s Department of Internal Medicine, received the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation award in summer 2011. The Macy Faculty Scholar program honors faculty leaders dedicated to advancing education in medicine and nursing. Sara Larch (M.S.H.A. ’92/HA) joined Greenbranch Publishing as director of strategic sales. Robert Leek (M.S.H.A. ’90/HA) was named to the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. He is the senior physician liaison for Sentara Healthcare in Williamsburg, Va. Kimberly Sanford, M.D., MASCT, MT(ASCP) (B.S. ’91/MET; M.D. ’01; H.S. ’06), received a Mastership Designation from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, a prestigious honor that recognizes exceptional members who have made significant contributions to pathology and to the society. Sanford, assistant professor of pathology, associate medical director of transfusion medicine and medical director for an outpatient laboratory at the VCU Medical Center, is dedicated to teaching and research and advancing the field of pathology.

2000s Diandrea “Dee” Bailey, Ph.D., CRC (M.S. ’02/RC; Cert. ’03/PC), is a management and program analyst for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in Washington, D.C. She currently serves as the project officer for “Rehabilitation Counseling: Long Term Training through Distance Learning,” one of the department’s federal grants from the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Marilyn Tavenner* (B.S. ’83; M.H.A. ’89/HA) was nominated Nov. 23, 2011, by President Barack Obama to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tavenner previously served as principal deputy administrator and chief operating officer for the agency.

Steven Naleway (B.S. ’07/CLS), an M.S. student in VCU’s Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, received the Young Investigator Travel Award. He attended the 2012 Mass Spectrometry Applications to the Clinical Lab Conference in San Diego Jan. 14-18, based on an abstract for his poster “Establishing Analytical Run Acceptability Criteria for a 25-OH Vitamin D LC-MS/MS Assay for Use in a Clinical Laboratory Setting.”

Tim Tobin* (M.H.A. ’87/HA), CEO of Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Fredericksburg, Va., and his team celebrated the center’s selection as the 2011 Business of the Year by the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Preethy Nayar, Ph.D. (Ph.D. ’07/HSO), accepted the position of director of doctoral programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health.

VCU Allied Health

2010s Ryan Duffy (M.S. ’11/G) opened Alternative Fitness and Wellness in Richmond, Va., specializing in working with older adults in Chi Kung. Megan Stucke (M.S.W. ’11; Cert. ’11/G) is employed as the public guardianship coordinator with Jewish Family Services-Richmond, where she is responsible for the overall care and advocacy for 20 public guardianship individuals.

Can’t wait to see what’s happening with your fellow alumni and allied health professions faculty members? View expanded class notes online at www

Abbreviation key Allied health professions degrees are noted with year and department; other VCU degrees are designated by year. A single asterisk (*) identifies members of the MCV Alumni Association of VCU. Degrees B.S. Bachelor of Science Cert. Certificate D.N.A.P. Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice D.P.T. Doctor of Physical Therapy H.S. House Staff M.A. Master of Arts M.H.A. Master of Health Administration M.S. Master of Science M.S.H.A. Master of Science in Health Administration M.S.N.A. Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia M.S.O.T. Master of Science in Occupational Therapy O.T.D. Post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy Departments CLS Clinical Laboratory Sciences G Gerontology HA Health Administration HAE Health Administration Executive HCM Health Care Management HRS Health Related Sciences HSO Health Services Organization and Research MRA Medical Records Administration MET Medical Technology NA Nurse Anesthesia OT Occupational Therapy PC Patient Counseling PT Physical Therapy RC Rehabilitation Counseling RS Radiation Sciences

In Memoriam 1950s Martin Asarnow (B.S. ’52/PT), of San Lorenzo, Calif., March 26, 2011, at age 85. Elizabeth “Beth” Coltrain (B.S. ’59/AHP), of Richmond, Va., Nov. 11, 2011. E.L. Derring (M.H.A. ’58/HA), Feb. 20, 2011. Thomas Greyard Jr. (M.H.A. ’51/HA), of McDonald, N.C., May 29, 2011, at age 89. John Harlan Jr. (M.H.A. ’52/HA), Sept. 19, 2011. Thomas William Leggett (M.H.A. ’53/HA), May 2, 2011, at age 90. 1960s Patricia Small (B.S. ’63/MET), of Richmond, Va. 1970s Archie Bruns (M.H.A. ’73/HA), of Canby, Minn., May 5, 2011.

Faculty Robert Austin Lassiter Jr., professor emeritus, June 19, 2011, at age 85. Lassiter was a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling from 1972-83. A pioneer in the field of vocational rehabilitation, Lassiter was well known for his teaching and counseling, both regionally and nationally, for 35 years. In 1960, he was elected president of the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association, and was director of the North Carolina Easter Seals Society from 1961-64, where he constructed the first integrated Easter Seals Camp in the U.S. Lassiter is the author or senior editor of two books and many articles and publications. In his retirement, he founded the Chester Roundtable, a games and activity center for seniors in Chester, Va. Warren R. Rule, Ph.D., of Richmond, Va., July 3, 2011, at age 67. He was a professor emeritus in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and had authored more than 60 publications in the areas of rehabilitation, counseling and psychology. He was a licensed professional counselor who worked as a rehabilitation counselor and a mentor at university counseling centers.

Spring 2012



Stars T

he School of Allied Health Professions congratulates Panelpha “Penny” L. Kyler, Sc.D., OTR/L (B.S. ’72/ OT), one of Virginia Commonwealth University’s 2011 Alumni Stars. The VCU and MCV Alumni Associations honored Kyler at an October ceremony recognizing all 11 Alumni Stars — extraordinary alumni whose tremendous knowledge and experience shine in all areas of human endeavor, illuminating problems, creating solutions and strengthening the quality of our lives. The alumni associations praised Kyler for her career that’s expanded well beyond occupational therapy to encompass public health and the study of genetics. She works for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration in San Francisco, where she assists states receiving grants for implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the area of maternal infant and early childhood

School of Allied Health Professions Alumni Stars 1989-2008 1989 Altamont Dickerson Jr., D.Ed. (M.S. ’61/RC) 1989 Paul A. Gross, (M.H.A. ’64/HA) 1990 Kathy Kaplan, Ph.D. (M.S. ’84/OT) 1991 Thelma Bland Watson, Ph.D. (M.S. ’87/G) 1992 James A. Rothrock (M.S. ’78/RC) 1992 Denise Williams (M.H.A. ’77/HA) 1993 Charles Ben Bissell, Ph.D. (Cert. ’81/PC) 1994 Lou Oliver Brooks (B.F.A. ’77; B.S. ’82/PT) 1995 David W. Singley Jr. (M.H.A. ’85/HA) 1997 Richard C. Kraus* (M.H.A. ’64/HA) 1998 Russell W. Heath Jr. (M.S. ’85/MET) 1999 John J. Nagelhout, Ph.D. (Cert. ’75/NA) 2000 Elnora Allen (B.S. ’73/PT; M.S. ’87/PT) 2001 Cynthia Garris (B.S. ’72/OT)

evidence-based home-visiting services. Previously, she oversaw grants and contracts that focused on providing access to genetic education and providing resources and services for underserved and underrepresented communities as well as for health and public health professionals. Panelpha “Penny” Kyler, Sc.D., OTR/L “My career has had a trajectory that none of us anticipated,” she says. “The skills I learned as an occupational therapy student, including activity analysis, group dynamics and physical and social sciences, have proven to be the right mix for working in today’s fast-paced health care environment.”

April 20-22

Mark your calendars now for Reunion Weekend, April 20-22, 2012, part of Alumni Month. Don’t miss this opportunity to come back to campus, celebrate with your classmates and learn about the exciting things happening today at your alma mater! Events and activities will be planned across both VCU campuses and all alumni are encouraged to attend.

2005 Rebecca Perdue (B.S. ’62/CLS)

VCU Allied Health

U.S. News & World Report national rankings 1st in Nurse Anesthesia (for the ninth consecutive year) 5th in Health Administration 7th in Rehabilitation Counseling 15th in Occupational Therapy


For more information, call (804) 828-3900 or visit


By the numbers


2003 Robert B. Lantz* (Cert. ’64/PC) 2008 Cathy Saunders (B.S.W. ’76; M.S. ’82/G)


Recognizing allied health professions alumni for their professional accomplishments

The university’s Our Time. Right Now. marketing campaign, which ran earlier this year, features the top-ranked Department of Nurse Anesthesia in billboard and print ads.

19th in Physical Therapy Once every three years, U.S. News & World Report asks deans, other administrators and faculty members from approximately 110 institutions across the U.S. to rate the academic quality of nationally accredited peer programs. Though eight of the nine VCU School of Allied Health Professions’ departments are accredited (there is no accreditation for gerontology programs), categories do not exist for the departments of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Patient Counseling and Radiation Sciences.

Accredited programs Clinical laboratory sciences Health administration Nurse anesthesia Occupational therapy Patient counseling Physical therapy Radiation sciences Rehabilitation counseling

For more information about the VCU School of Allied Health Professions, visit Spring 2012


Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions 1200 East Broad Street P.O. Box 980233 Richmond, Virginia 23298-0233

Non-profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid RICHMOND, VA Permit No. 869

High honor With Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions Dean Cecil Drain, Ph.D. (left), in attendance, VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. (right), presents alumnus Richard M. Bracken (M.H.A. ’77/HA) with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the university’s highest form of recognition. Bracken, chairman and CEO of Nashville-based HCA Inc., received the award at the university’s December 2011 commencement ceremony.

School of Allied Health Professions Magazine - Spring 2012  

Spring 2012 issue of VCU School of Allied Health Professions magazine