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VOL. 4 • NO. 1 SPring 2010

Rural Focused, Global Minded

Bi-Annual Newsletter for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Alumni & Friends

VCOM Breaks Ground For New Carolinas Campus In Spartanburg, SC

Hospital Day



White Coat Ceremony


Student Organizations


Alumni & Student News

COVER: Ground breaking Ceremony for VCOM’s new Carolinas campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. See article on page 4.

The Dean’s Corner Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O. Dean and Executive Vice President


t a time when 16 percent of Americans are without healthcare (an estimated 40 million), the VCOM Mission to improve the health of those most in need has never been more necessary, and it is the population of Appalachia that may be experiencing some of the greatest healthcare needs. We cannot look to a burdened government to meet all of these needs under our current economy. Yet, at the government’s side are the country’s medical schools, prepared to bear part of the load, as they have always been a resource for healthcare outreach. Of those medical schools, VCOM provides free care to thousands of patients in Appalachia each year through our work in the free clinics, outreach health fairs and missions, and in our academic clinic. On a global scale, VCOM provides clinics in El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic that offer free healthcare to patients who are destitute of options, and who have been without healthcare their entire lives. With the college commitment to this mission, VCOM has attracted students who are committed to the same values. The VCOM students and faculty actively participate in providing altruistic care throughout this region. The result is that VCOM students are some of the most intelligent and most compassionate students; they advance forth to serve the world and brighten the future of healthcare. The college’s new post-baccalaureate educational program is a dynamic curriculum that prepares students to enter the medical curriculum. The new class is a dedicated one, and we are hopeful that many will join next year’s class. For now, they are not only progressing well in the academic arena, but they have provided outreach to the community and will join our medical mission in the spring.



Volume 4 • No. 1

Pamplin College and VCOM Launch Dual

Degree Program


VCOM’s Carolinas Campus


Sixth Annual Research Day




12 International & Appalachian Outreach


Faculty & Staff News


Student Organizations

30 Class Notes: Alumni & Student News


More VCOM News

Upcoming Events

VCOM View is the bi-annual newsletter produced by the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to keep faculty, staff, friends, and supporters of VCOM informed of the most recent events and changes at the college. E D I T O R I A L S TA F F Creative Director/Managing Editor: Cindy Shepard Rawlins Graphic Designer/Submissions Editor: Sarah Ikerman Editorial Advisory Board: Diane Sutphin, Ward Stevens Contributors:

In 2009, VCOM was listed as one of the top schools for primary care. Of three graduated classes from VCOM, approximately 60 percent entered residency programs in family medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and internal medicine. As 2010 approaches, our first class will finish residency and many will return to Southwest and Southside Virginia to take their place within communities. As we mark these young physicians returning to provide care to one of the most underserved regions in the country, we will see VCOM’s mission materialize. I hope you enjoy this publication featuring the many commendable accomplishments of the VCOM faculty, staff, and students. I invite each of you to visit our college campus in the upcoming year.

Don Bivins, M.D. Ben Bring, Class of 2012 Shaadi Elswaifi, Ph.D. Nicholas Fusella, Class of 2012 Jennifer Grant, Class of 2012 William P. King Matt LoJacono James Mahaney, Ph.D. Chris Mathew, Class of 2012 Lauren Mientkiewicz, Class of 2012 Hara Misra, Ph.D.

Jessica Muller James Palmieri, Ph.D. Anjni Patel, Class of 2012 Candace Prince, Class of 2012 Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O. Amanda Stevens, Class of 2012 Mehul Suthar, Class of 2012 Dean Sutphin, Ph.D. Diane Sutphin Jan Willcox, D.O. Sarah Zalud-Cerrato

Thank you to all not listed here who have contributed photos and content.

E-mail submission to: Or mail to: Editor - VCOM View Newsletter, 2265 Kraft Drive, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060 ©2010 Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. All rights reserved. VCOM is certified by the State Council of Higher Education to operate in Virginia.


Pamplin College and VCOM Launch Dual Degree Program


irginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has joined with VCOM to launch a cooperative dual-degree program that allows students to earn both the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Business Administration degrees.

“A business education is particularly valuable for physicians seeking positions as hospital or other healthcare administrators or those seeking to manage their own practice.” —Richard E. Sorensen, Dean, Pamplin College of Business

“After medical school, many osteopathic physicians go directly into private practice for which a certain amount of business education is needed,” says Pamplin Dean Richard E. Sorensen. “A business education is particularly valuable for physicians seeking positions as hospital or other healthcare administrators or those seeking to manage their own practice.” Steve Skripak, Pamplin associate dean of graduate programs, says the program expects to admit three to five VCOM students a year, whom will be selected jointly by VCOM and MBA administrators. Admitted students must meet academic benchmarks for admission to the dual-degree program, he says, and would have passed their first round of medical board exams. MBA core courses would comprise 27 of the required 48-credit hour curriculum. In addition, Skripak says, students would take a three-credit course in entrepreneurial leadership, “as many will essentially become

entrepreneurs by opening their own practices.” Hara Misra, VCOM’s associate vice president for research and graduate studies, said, “Students would take a combination of existing core MBA courses and some specialized business courses developed by VCOM, and 12 credits of free electives from courses in the Pamplin College or from within an approved set of VCOM courses.” VCOM and Virginia Tech have had a collaborative agreement in research and student services since 2002, when the osteopathic medical school was first established in Blacksburg. “This joint venture between VCOM and the Pamplin College of Business is a natural evolution of our now seven-year collaboration and provides students with the benefits of two strong academic programs,” says VCOM President Jim Wolfe. “Our MBA program continues to grow,” Skripak says. “The joint program can bring us highly qualified students who, as health professionals, will bring a new and different perspective into the classroom to the benefit of all students in the program.” ■

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


VCOM Carolinas Campus to Open in Fall 2011


n February 25, 2010, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine broke ground for its branch campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Several hundred civic leaders, government officials, and members of the community gathered at the ceremony to join VCOM administration and faculty near the historic smokestack at the old Spartan Mills site. The campus, opening in the fall of 2011, will offer all four years of osteopathic medical education to 150 medical students per year, totaling a four-year student body of 600 students. Construction is underway on the three-story, 65,000 square-foot facility on its 18.69-acre campus. Progress can be viewed on a webcam on VCOM’s website.


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1

Educational Alliances Spartanburg, South Carolina is a town with many colleges and universities: Wofford College, VCOM’s partner institution; University of South Carolina Upstate; and Converse College, a private women’s college. There are two community colleges as well: Spartanburg Community College

and Spartanburg Methodist College. The VCOM Carolinas Campus will partner with Spartanburg Regional and Wofford College to provide academic and medical education experiences for students. Wofford College will provide VCOM


students with access to an enhanced campus experience, granting them admittance to performances and athletics competitions, in addition to the use of Wofford dining and library facilities, said Dr. David S. Wood, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Wofford. “This strategic alliance will allow VCOM students, faculty and staff to participate in educational, recreational, social and cultural activities on the Wofford College campus,” Wood said. “This cooperation capitalizes on the strategic locations of Wofford, Spartanburg Regional and now VCOM. This is a win-win for all parties, including the City of Spartanburg.” Wofford students will be able to

observe VCOM classes. “This will be an exciting opportunity for pre-med students,” he said.

Medical Education Partners The growing number of students from the Carolinas region, coupled with Spartanburg Regional’s well-respected residency program, made Spartanburg a good choice to locate VCOM’s new campus. Spartanburg Regional has been a clinical education partner with VCOM since 2003. “Spartanburg Regional, a teaching hospital, lays claim to South Carolina’s only residency program to achieve dual accreditation for both the allopathic and osteopathic wings of medicine. Spartanburg Regional quickly became a highly rated and favorite training

site for regional osteopathic students,” said Dr. Otis Baughman, Director of the Spartanburg Regional Family Medicine Program. “That excellence and reputation made Spartanburg Regional a natural partner in VCOM’s expansion plans.” VCOM partners with South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia community-based hospitals and physicians to provide on-site clinical rotation instruction for its third and fourth-year medical students. “Physicians like to practice in academic settings due to the academic rigor,” Baughman said. “VCOM brings a major medical academic institution to Spartanburg making us an even greater draw to outstanding physicians of all specialties.” ■

Spartanburg Regional Hosts Reception Spartanburg Regional hospital hosted a reception in celebration of the ground breaking of VCOM’s new campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The event was held at Spartanburg’s Piedmont Club with members of the community and city officials in attendance. Clockwise from top left: 1. Spartanburg mayor, Junie White with Dean and Senior Vice President of Wofford College, David Woods. 2. VCOM Chairman John Rocovich, Jr., Sue Ellen Rocovich, and Spartanburg Regional President/CEO Ingo Angermeier. 3. Nancy Wolfe speaks with Sam Lionberger of Lionberger Construction Company. 4. VCOM President James Wolfe with Ingo Angermeier.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Nobel Laureate Speaks at


he 6th Annual Via Research Recognition Day was held on Friday, October 16th 2009 and showcased nearly 80 poster presentations featuring student and faculty research at VCOM and Ferid Murad, M.D., other Virginia Universities. 1998 Nobel Laureate Over 400 people attended this year’s event, with standing room only at the start of the conference.

The Rocovich Gold Medal award is made annually to a distinguished scientist who has

made a major

impact on science and/or public

policy toward the understanding of human disease.


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Ferid Murad, M.D., 1998 Nobel Laureate in Physiology of Medicine, awarded for his discovery concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Professor Murad is Director Emeritus of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, Director of the IMM Center for Cell Signaling, Regent Professor and John S. Dunn Sr. Distinguished Chair in Physiology and Medicine, Texas Nobel Scholar at the University of Texas at Houston, and Director of the UT Health Science Center at Houston Program in Intracellular Signaling. Dr. Murad was awarded the Rocovich Gold Medal which is sponsored by the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in honor of Mr. John G. Rocovich, Jr., J.D., Founder

and Chair of VCOM’s Board of Directors. The Rocovich Gold Medal award is made annually to a distinguished scientist who has made a major impact on science and/or public policy toward the understanding of human disease. The award consists of a gold medal, an engraved plaque and expenses to present a keynote lecture at the Via Annual Research Recognition Day on the VCOM campus. This year’s program also included invited luncheon speaker Charles J. Smutny III, D.O., F.A.A.O., Residency Director of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine at North Shore University Hospital at Plainview, New York. Platform speakers included Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger, VCOM Dean and Executive Vice President Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, Virginia Tech Computer Science Professor Edward Fox, Virginia Tech Team Physician Dr. Greg Beato, VCOM’s Associate Dean of Clinical Research Dr. Gunnar Brolinson, VCOM Pharmacology Professor Beverly Rzigalinski, Dr. Mark Whiting of Radford University, VCOM Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Hong Zhu, Professor and Head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Dr. Stefan Duma, VCOM Assistant Anatomy Professor Terry Hrubec, as well as Dr. Kathryn Hosig, VCOM Associate Professor of

Sixth Annual Research Day Preventative Medicine and Public Health. Research Day presented a unique opportunity for students and faculty presenters to gain valuable experience in conducting research and presenting it to a panel of judges while providing a platform for collaborative research. In the poster competition, projects were judged in Biomedical and Clinical Research categories for both faculty and student groups. This year’s 1st and 2nd place poster winners in the Biomedical Student Research category were Justin Lemkul and Bonny Whalen, and the 1st and 2nd place winners in the Clinical Student Research category were Aaron Conway and Megan Friedman. Each student was awarded a $200 cash prize and was provided the opportunity to give a 15minute oral presentation at Research Day to showcase their findings in a platform lecture. The 1st and 2nd place winners in the Biomedical Faculty Research category were Dr. Hong Zhu and Dr. Terry Hrubec, and the 1st and 2nd place winners in the Clinical Faculty Research category were Dr. Jonathan Tait and Dr. Joy Palmer. Each of the faculty winners received a $500 voucher redeemable for research supplies and equipment. The Via Annual Research Recognition Day continues to grow and VCOM looks forward to continuing to provide a forum for sharing translational

studies and identifying new and exciting collaborative research opportunities at future Research Recognition Day events. ■

Above: Ferid Murad, M.D. with a group of students who entered posters into the contest during research day.

Mr. John G. Rocovich, Jr., J.D., presents the Rocovich Gold Medal to Ferid Murad, M.D. From left: James F. Wolfe, Ph.D., Ferid Murad, M.D., Hara Misra, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Students Explore Residency Options


he Annual Fall Residency Fair/Hospital Day was held at the VCOM Institute for Biomechanical and Sports Medicine Research (VCOM II), November 13, 2009. First, second, third and fourth year students were in attendance at this event. There were a wide variety of vendors eagerly waiting to share information with our student doctors. This event is held to give students an opportunity to learn more about the different choices they have in residencies, as well as a great opportunity for networking and reuniting with fellow classmates and alumni. â–


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1


Annual AARP Meeting Held at VCOM


he January monthly meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Blacksburg Chapter was hosted by VCOM at the new VCOM II building. Over 100 area AARP members attended a pizza party. After the party and brief business meeting, the main program began with remarks by President James Wolfe and Dean Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O., Richard Williams, M.D., faculty gerontologist at VCOM, spoke on “Improving Health Care for Seniors in the New River Valley.” After the presentation, several members enjoyed a tour of the Simulation and Technology Center and the main campus building. ■

Above: Dean Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O. addresses the local members of the AARP (shown at left).

Right: Richard Williams, M.D., speaks about improving health care for seniors in the New River Valley.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


The Inaugural Post-Baccalaureate Class of 2010

VCOM Graduates It’s First Post-Bac Class


n July 27, 2009 the Edward Via College of and formed a Relay for Life team in order to benefit the Osteopathic Medicine opened its doors to its American Cancer Society. In order to help raise money for inaugural post-baccalaureate class. The class the society, the class started preparations on a haunted house consisted of 25 students that came to Blacksburg from varied project for elementary school children. The haunted house regions of the United States and the program is located on was held on October 30, 2009 at the Blacksburg Public the first floor of the Knollwood building. Library, where the Relay for Life team The goal of the post-baccalaureate program raised over $200 from donations by The goal is “to provide a is “to provide a post-graduate educational those who attended the event. As part post-graduate educational opportunity for individuals who want to of VCOM’s mission, post-bac students pursue a career in osteopathic medicine.” who are interested in medical mission opportunity for individuals The first semester of the program was trips have the opportunity to travel to an who want to pursue comprised of five classes ranging from underserved part of the world and work biochemistry and histology/embryology to at clinics in hopes of medically bettering a career in osteopathic medical terminology and a critical thinking the global community. Some postmedicine.” class in pathology. The fifth class was an bac students participated in a medical introductory class to medical research mission trip took place in April 2010. where the students learned the basics of how to properly compose a National Institute of Health research proposal. The post-baccalaureate students enjoyed an extended The post-baccalaureate students and faculty both believe holiday vacation between the two semesters. Most of the these preliminary classes will provide a great foundation for students traveled home to spend time with their families and students who choose to pursue an education in an osteopathic friends. Upon their return to VCOM, the students studied medical school. microbiology, immunology, anatomy, physiology and part two of their medical terminology course. The second semester was The post-baccalaureate students have also found time to both intriguing and challenging: it provided an even stronger make an impact in the greater medical community. At foundation for students who choose to pursue careers in the the beginning of the year, the students banded together field of medicine. ■


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White Coat Ceremony Celebrates Achievements of the Class of 2013


William G. Anderson, D.O., giving an inspirational speech to the Class of 2013.

he Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (VCOM’s) seventh White Coat Ceremony was held in November at Burruss Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech. Over 1,500 faculty, family members, and guests were part of the ceremony as one hundred ninety three (193) students from the Class of 2013 were cloaked in their white coats. A reception was held at the new VCOM II Building (Biomechanical and Sports Medicine Research Institute) located across the street from the main VCOM Building. During the ceremony, each first year student was cloaked by two faculty

members with his/her first white coat. Students also received the “Humanism in Medicine” pin, donated by the Arnold Gold Foundation, and a stethoscope engraved with their name, donated by the Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (VOMA). William G. Anderson, D.O. was the inspirational keynote speaker who shared advice about a medical career and the significance of the humanistic care of patients, the central theme to the White Coat Ceremony. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) on stage and in the audience and the osteopathic medical students recited the Osteopathic Oath. ■

Class of 2013 wearing their white coats for the fist time.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •



Christmas in El Salvador


rom December 27, 2009 through January 2, 2010, a VCOM mission team of 28 students, faculty and staff traveled to El Salvador to provide medical care to almost 200 children in orphanages in San Salvador and the surrounding area. Since the trip took place so close to the Christmas holiday, the team organized Christmas parties for the children at each orphanage and distributed clothing, shoes, school supplies, toiletry items, food and small gifts to each child. Shoe sizes were provided for each child prior to the trip, and the appropriate shoes were selected from among 40,000 pairs donated by Foot Levelers in 2009. VCOM partnered with local elementary schools to donate the school supplies. Over 600 students and faculty at Elliston Lafayette Elementary School, Harding Avenue Elementary School, and Kipps Elementary (Continued)

Above: A VCOM student examines a young boy at an orphanage during the mission trip. Left: Patrick Hickey, Class of 2012 and a fellow student checking a young patient.


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1


School donated a van load of school supplies, t-shirts, and socks. Megan Marshall, principal of Harding Avenue Elementary school, said her students were “very enthusiastic about this project because it is helping other children, like themselves, in another part of the world. We are excited to be contributing!” Prior to the trip, VCOM students packed the supplies into orange VCOM backpacks and gave one to each child in El Salvador. Other donors for the mission trip include Stellar One Bank, the VCOM Pediatrics club, the VCOM UAAO club, friends at Cornell University, and VCOM students and faculty. These generous donors helped ensure that each child received age-appropriate clothing, small toys, and healthy, nutritious food at the Christmas parties. ■

Jonas Rawlins, Class of 2013, walks with a child from an orphanage during the mission trip to El Salvador.

Providing OB/GYN and Primary Care in Honduras


eaving Blacksburg buried under a foot of snow and overcoming the challenges of travel delays created by a winter storm, the mission team stepped off the plane in Honduras in sunny, 80-degree weather eager to embrace the challenges of the week. Team members included two third-year VCOM students completing their one-month underserved care rotation in Honduras, two second-year students, eleven firstyear students, three VCOM spouses serving as volunteers, one non-VCOM volunteer, one staff member, Dr. Jan Willcox, and Dr. David Harden. The group was met in Honduras by local VCOM faculty physician Dr. Xiomara Erazo, who joined the mission team for the week. The home base was the Baxter Institute, and, as always, the team enjoyed the remarkable hospitality of Baxter Institute staff, the delicious traditional food, and beautiful a cappella singing of Baxter students. Baxter President Howard Norton and

his wife Jane extended a very warm welcome to the mission team and assisted with housing logistics. On Monday and Tuesday, the mission team, which included many members of the VCOM OB/GYN club, focused on women’s health for residents of the surrounding community in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The team worked from the James Moody Adams Clinic at Baxter Institute to provide free well women exams and pap smears with follow up. The team also provided general medical care and osteopathic manipulative therapy at the clinic. In addition, each student completed a four-hour rotation shadowing a physician in the maternity ward at San Felipe Hospital in Tegucigalpa, and had an opportunity to view Honduran labor and delivery protocol, including observing live births and C-sections. During the latter half of the week, the team traveled as far as 78 kilometers from Baxter Institute to, high Continued on page 14

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


International Outreach

Sarah Colvin, Class of 2013 with a child at the temporary clinic in Telucigalpa, Honduras.

HONDURAN OB/GYN continued from page 13

altitudes in remote mountain villages where they provided general medical care, osteopathic manipulative therapy, dental care, and vitamin supplements. Beans, rice and clothing were provided to the village with the greatest need. By the week’s end, over 350 patients were seen in the villages of Guajire, Campamento, and San Juancito. Each of these villages were visited by a VCOM medical team after the catastrophic floods of November 2008, and many were revisited again in May 2009. Through regular visits, VCOM has begun to establish continuity of care in these villages. The February 2010 mission team had an opportunity to track significant improvements that are being made in the lives and health of villagers as well as in the villages themselves. While working in the clinic and at the villages, the team enjoyed the benefit of several bilingual and medically talented VCOM students who assisted with exams and translation. In addition, five highly competent translators from Baxter joined the


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1

team. Dr. Xiomara Erazo and the experienced staff at the Baxter Institute clinic arrived early to each village to prepare the mission site and organize the waiting patients; in addition, they generously provided supplies and local resources to the mission team. VCOM spouses and other volunteers improved the efficiency of triage, engaged children in games, and provided photography and other general support to the mission team. Our excellent drivers from the Baxter Institute navigated the challenges of traffic, mountainous paths, road construction, and other less than adequate road conditions to deliver the team safely to and from the mission site each day. VCOM faculty physicians provided after-hours osteopathic manipulative therapy training for students who were

Mei Lawing, Class of 2013 speaks with a Honduran child while doing a general health screening.

eager to learn and demonstrate their knowledge. VCOM students embraced opportunities to fulfill the VCOM mission of providing compassionate medical care to the underserved and had a smile and a hug for every patient. The team used an osteopathic approach, considering the whole patient in providing care, including environmental, social, and physical elements as well as financial challenges, meeting needs with medical treatment and osteopathic manipulative therapy. Conditions treated included dermatological problems, stroke, high blood pressure, and other conditions common in developing areas. As always, the team found that the warm, resilient Honduran people gave much more back than the team could provide to them. â–


Responding to Haitian Earthquake


COM carried out a mission trip within days following the Haiti earthquake. Ironically, a mission trip already planned for February 1 -7, 2010 had been dedicated to Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness training. After the disaster, VCOM shifted the focus from “training” to “response.” The 38 member medical mission team made life more bearable and in some cases provided life changing treatment for victims. Many Haitians had been airlifted and transported by land to hospitals along the Haitian and Dominican border which is where VCOM concentrated services. Those participating in the trip treated patients recovering from broken bones, severe lacerations, and amputations required to address crush wounds. The VCOM mission relief team left Punta Cana Dominican Republic at 4 a.m. Monday, February 1, 2010 for a 10 hour chartered bus ride to Jimani, Dominican Republic. Then, the team redirected efforts to Barahona where many of the patients had been transferred. Fortunately, a good samaritan donated space in her home to the team for sleeping and preparing for each day. It was fortunate to locate a benevolent individual who had a large secured home that could accommodate the 38 member team at the location of the team’s work. This disaster relief trip served victims suffering trauma and anxiety from a severe earthquake and assisted medical refugees in a foreign country. Students gained experience in acquiring approvals to provide medical relief in

a foreign country and in responding coordinating efforts with the Haitian consulate to track the medical care and location of their citizens. Also, much was learned from cross cultural experience and participating in medical professional and patient interactions using English, Spanish and Creole. Student debriefing activities provided an extended time to reflect on accomplishments and to gain insights for future disaster response. Those contributing to the VCOM mission trip are important partners in all that was accomplished. The Dominican Government and related agencies, hospitals and care centers were very cooperative in providing approvals and entry into centers where VCOM provided care for Haitians. These approvals were invaluable in working through entry with officials at hospitals and make-shift treatment sites. Partnerships established with these agencies led to offers to work together for long term assistance in the region. In addition, the Punta Cana Foundation was instrumental in arranging mission transportation, carrying out internal relations incountry, and providing financial assistance, housing and a security agent. VCOM offers its heartfelt thanks for the support of VCOM family and friends who contributed to the mission trip in numerous ways. The funds raised during the fund drive are devoted to the mission trip and follow up care of Haitian victims and their families. The fund drive continues as the college looks to provide long-term assistance. ■

Injured children and adults awaiting care.

Dr. Amato, student doctor Austin Nabet, and Charles Johndro examining an injured lady.

An emergency response “taxi” transporting the VCOM team.

Dr. Powers encourages an injured Haitian.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Faculty/Staff News

VCOM welcomes its new members, as well as noting the accomplishments of the outstanding faculty and staff. Share your news (and photos) of awards, scholarships, grants, honors, publications, marriages, births, or other special recognitions, by sending a note to Delmas Bolin, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M. was quoted in the November edition of Oprah for comments on topical pain relievers. He was also team physician for the 2009 Division III National Football Championship held in Salem, December 19, 2009. Dr. Bolin placed 3rd in Roanoke/ Salem Region for Bedside Manner Award in Our Health Magazine. In January 2010 Dr. Bolin spoke at Virginia Academy of Family Physicians Winter Meeting on The Unusual Problems Lurking Behind Common Musculoskeletal Diagnosis. Dr. Bolin also served as a case panelist for the Southeastern Section American College of Sports Medicine Meeting, February, 2010 in Greenville, South Carolina. Kathy Dalton is the new administrative Assistant to Departments of OB-GYN and Surgery. “I began work at VCOM on November 1st, 2009. I worked the previous 14 years at Tetra/United Pet Group of Blacksburg in customer service and sales support.


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I have been married 34 years to my husband, Erby Dalton, who is in retail management, and have two grown sons, Josh and Justin, and a daughterin-law who works as an RN in the OB Department at Carilion NRV Medical Center. We moved to Willis (Floyd Co.) from Carroll County about 15 years ago, and love the beautiful countryside and the old farming communities, where everyone says “hello”. No home is a home without a pet, so I contribute to that by having two cats: Callie Lou and Claire.

program is provided through the Mini-Medical School approach to educating children and their families.

My hobbies are photo editing/digital scrapbooking, reading, crocheting, genealogy, and music. I play the piano (have a B.S. in Music Education) and enjoy playing piano duos with a friend for charity functions, churches, nursing homes, etc. I have also recently taken up lessons on the cello, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

Dr. Hayes was raised in Grayling, Michigan and pursued his undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University from 19691973, graduating with a high honors B.S. in biology. After graduation, he attended Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSU-COM), and then went on to a rotating osteopathic internship at Botsford General Hospital where he was selected as the Most Outstanding Intern. After his internship, Dr. Hayes completed residency training at Michigan State University Affiliated Hospitals in Lansing, Michigan (an ACGME program with individual AOA approval), serving as chief resident during his final year. Following residency training, he returned to MSU-COM as an assistant professor and served as a faculty member for 25 years with promotion to full professor with tenure. During his career at MSUCOM, Dr. Hayes completed an M.P.H. degree in health services

I am glad to be at VCOM, and getting to know and work with some very nice and caring people.” Linda Frasca, M.D., received a grant from the American Medical Association Foundation for Better Health to help Southwest Virginia high school freshmen understand the true anatomical and physiological effects of drugs, alcohol, and smoking. The

Oliver Hayes, D.O., is serving as Director of Medical Education and is assuming the role of Director of Student Medical Education for Montgomery Regional Hospital.


management at the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health. Additionally, Dr. Hayes worked to establish a dually accredited residency, which has been in existence for past 25 years. Dr. Hayes has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters, as well as received national teaching awards. Dr. Hayes is serving as the director of medical education at Montgomery Regional Hospital and a faculty member at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. He and his wife, Deborah, have recently relocated to the Blacksburg area from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hayes enjoys exercise, reading, and playing golf (though not very well by his statement) in his spare time.

increase the occurrence of birth defects in an animal model system, and she is now working to identify the impurities that cause these defects. This is a joint research project involving researchers at VCOM and Virginia Tech. Zhenquan Jia, Ph.D., assistant professor, Division of Biomedical Sciences, received a three-year NIH grant for $229,050 to investigate the “molecular mechanisms of genistein in the prevention of inflammatory cytokine.” Zhenquan would also like to announce that, at 7:31 p.m. on Saturday, October 17th, 2009, baby boy George Jia was born. He weighed eight pounds, 13 ounces.

Meredith N. (Georges) Hilmandolar, Administrative Director of Graduate Medical Education, was married on September 26, 2009 in Suffolk, Virginia to Jesse Hilmandolar. Theresa Hrubec, D.V.M., Ph.D., received a two-year grant of $413,167 from the National Institutes of Health to study the link between birth defects and impurities in tap water. Dr. Hrubec has identified several sources of tap water that

Yunbo Li, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, received a 2-year AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research) grant of $165,000 to investigate “Enhancement of Doxorubicin Therapy via Protecting against Chronic Heart Failure by a Unique Nutraceutical”. Li was also awarded a new grant from the American Institute for Cancer Research to study the ability of the unique nutraceutical, 2H-1,2-dithiole3-thione, to enhance doxorubicin anticancer therapy. This nutraceutical shows promise for protecting patients from negative side effects of

doxorubicin treatment, which could increase the effectiveness of the anti-cancer treatment. On January 21, 2010, James Mahaney, Ph.D., presented a seminar entitled “Physical Mechanism of Calcium Transport Regulation in the Heart” to the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes in Baltimore. The seminar was hosted by his long time collaborator, Dr. Nazareno Paolocci, M.D., Ph.D. During the trip they worked out the details of a new collaborative grant they plan to submit. Jim Powers, D.O., F.A.C.E.P. served as a faculty member and guest lecturer for the 30th Annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk, Virginia, November 2009 and presented a lecture entitled “Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers.” Dr. Powers was also appointed as the Operational Medical Director of Christiansburg Rescue Squad, and the physician member of the WVEMS PI (Western Virginia Emergency Medical Services Process Improvement) committee. In the fall he was awarded “Life Member” status of the Virginia Tech Volunteer Rescue Squad. In October, 2009 Dr. Powers status was upgraded from a locally approved

Continued on page 18

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Faculty & Staff News


Meet VCOM’s New Pediatric Faculty Members


he Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), welcomes two new faculty members: Drs. Breann Bailey and Hope Tobey. Newborns to 18-year-olds are seen at their practice, Academic Primary Care Associates, in Blacksburg. Both are active advisors in the VCOM Pediatrics club. Dr. Bailey graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg with a degree in Biochemistry. Originally from Beckley, West Virginia, Dr. Bailey returned to her home state to attend medical school at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and then traveled south to Greenville,

Jim Powers, D.O. continued from page 17

to a federally approved and deployable “Medical Officer” with the Virginia-1 Disaster Management Assistance Team (DMAT). The (DMAT) team is a major component of the National Disaster Medical System which is the federal disaster response system. The NDMS and DMAT teams are under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO).


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Breann Bailey, M.D.

Hope Tobey, D.O.

South Carolina to complete her residency in pediatrics. After a residency, she remained in Greenville as full-time faculty for the pediatric residency program and worked in the pediatric emergency room. Dr. Bailey happily returns to the New River Valley as VCOM faculty. Dr. Tobey grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and obtained her

Renee Prater, D.V.M., Ph.D., received a grant from the Egyptian Education and Cultural Bureau to study the biochemical effects of specific plants on induced liver toxicity. Dr. Prater also received an award from the Virginia Tech Fralin Life Sciences Institute to investigate how maternal malnutrition influences fetal development leading to adult obesity and atherosclerosis. This latter project is a collaborative study with researchers from the Virginia Tech College of

undergraduate education at Messiah College followed by medical school at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). She completed a rotating osteopathic internship at the heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center where she was recognized as intern of the year by both the pediatrics and internal medicine departments. She then went to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital to complete her pediatric residency. Following residency she relocated to Christiansburg, Virginia . On September 1st she, joined the clinical faculty at VCOM with her clinical pediatric practice at Academic Primary Care Associates. In her free time, Hope enjoys outdoor activities and gardening. ■

Engineering and the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical and Applied Technology. Beverly A. Rzigalinski, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology at VCOM has had a successful year obtaining new funding for her research on development and use of nanoparticles to promote human health and disease prevention, treatment of disease, and recovery from traumatic injury.


Dr. Rzigalinski received a U.S. Patent: US7534453 Cerium oxide nanoparticles and use in enhancing cell survivability. Rzigalinski, BA; Seal, S., Bailey, D., Patil, S. Issued May 19, 2009. Dr. Rzigalinski also received an STTR grant from the National Science Foundation titled Nanomaterial Constructs with Controlled Catalytic Activity, in Collaboration with Dr. Kathleen Meehan (VT) and Middle Way Photonics, Amhearst, Massachusetts. Dr. Rzigalinski is a participant in a project funded by Middle Wave Photonics to develop and characterize novel nanoparticles for various applications, and involves collaboration with researchers in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. The purpose of these grants is to move potential therapeutics, like cerium oxide nanoparticles, from lab bench to bedside. Dr. Rzigalinski was also awarded a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for the study of cerium oxide nanoparticles in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, which involves collaboration with researchers at Lousiana State University. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Virginia, Dr. Rzigalinski was awarded a grant from the Commonwealth Health Research Board to develop quantum dot/ photofrin conjugates for the treatment of cancer.

Susan Sweet was selected as a public member for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) for a three-year term starting in 2010. Soheila Yadrandji, M.D. submitted an abstract poster "Estraintestinal Hepatobiliary Infection by Isospora Belli in an Immunocompetent Patient: Report of First and Second Case and Review of Literature” and was entered into the 6th Annual Research Day at VCOM. The poster was recognized at the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology’s Annual Meeting held, March 20-26, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

Visit the website at for more information about VCOM’s outstanding faculty and staff.

Sports Medicine D.O.s Achieve Olympic Recognition


unnar Brolinson, D.O., Associate Dean for Clinical Research and Chair of the Sports Medicine Program at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), was a member of the medical team for the 2010 Olympic Games, in Vancouver, Canada. AOA member Phil Arnold, D.O., is another osteopathic sports medicine expert. Dr. Arnold, who was a 2005 VCOM Sports Medicine Fellow, serves as attending physician for the U.S. Ski Team and just completed his seventh World Cup tour with the team as their physician. He also served as attending physician to the U.S. Olympics Ski Team in Vancouver. Congratulations to Gunnar and Phil! ■

Gunnar Brolinson, D.O.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Faculty & Staff News


VCOM Recognizes Faculty & Staff for Five Years of Service


t the VCOM holiday party, hosted by John and Sue Ellen Rocovich held in the VCOM II conference facilities, anniversary gifts were awarded to faculty and staff members who have completed five years of service to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Top right: Rhoda Meyers, Selen Olgun, M.D. Below: Del Bolin, M.D., Gary Brewer, Linda Frasca, M.D., Robby Hudson and Bea Jones. Not shown is Beverly Rzigalinski, Ph.D.

VCOM wishes to thank these individuals for their hard work and dedication to bringing professionalism and excellence to osteopathic medical education, as well as developing world-class research programs to help fulfill the mission of improving health care. ■



COM faculty, staff and students traveled to the annual American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) awards banquet in Bethesda, Maryland. VCOM received a first place in AACOM’s Communications Awards in the category of Best Program in Public Education or Community Service: VCOM Pediatrics Themed Mission Trip to 5 Orphanages in El Salvador. ■


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Left to right: Shaadi Elswaifi, Ph.D., Alexa Rosypal, Ph.D., and Jim Palmieri, Ph.D.

VCOM Widens the Career Path Towards Medicine for Minority Students in North Carolina


n October 22, 2009, as the fall colors in Appalachia reached their peak, Dr. Jim Palmieri and Dr. Shaadi Elswaifi traveled to Johnson C. Smith University ( JCSU), a cozy campus located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. This historically black-minority school was established in 1867 as the Biddle Memorial Institute and later changed to Biddle University. Presently known as JCSU, the small and quaint campus has made a large national footprint represented by its many alumni who have achieved national prominence in civil rights, sports, and politics. Dr. Alexa Rosypal, a Ph.D. graduate of Virginia Tech and a collaborator with the VCOM Department of Microbiology, Infectious, and Emerging Diseases, is an assistant professor of biology and presently the premedical advisor to 1500 students at JCSU. Although this fall afternoon was ideal for outdoor activities, the lecture hall was filled with students interested in hearing Dr. Palmieri and Dr. Elswaifi talk about the preparation of university undergraduate students for osteopathic medical school. During the hour–long seminar, Dr. Palmieri and Dr. Elswaifi co-presented topics that

included history of osteopathic medicine, VCOM’s focus on Appalachian and medical missions outreach programs, medical response to minority and underserved populations, and various academic programs. The academic focus of their presentation addressed the bioterrorism and disaster response preparedness program, the post- baccalaureate program, and infectious disease research at VCOM. Even though the presentation lasted one hour, students remained for an additional 45 minutes to interact with Dr. Palmieri and Dr. Elswaifi. Students showed immense interest in VCOM’s post-baccalaureate program, medical missions and outreach programs, and the general medical school application and admissions process. As the two doctors departed from the National Science and Mathematics Department building at JCSU, Dr. Alexa Rosypal commented on how quietly and attentively the students were reflecting their immense interest in admission to osteopathic medical school. ■

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Student Organizations

Student organizations are a very important part of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. The service performed by members benefit not only the community and the region, but also the members as they gain valuable knowledge, skills, and experience. Submit club news and photos to

Welcome Back Social


n August 14th, 2009 VCOM’s Class of 2012 hosted the first ever “Welcome Back Social” at Virginia Tech’s Old Dominion Ball Room in Squires Hall. With over 125 students and faculty members present, the social was a huge success and provided a great way to meet fellow classmates, faculty and alumni. Many clubs and groups donated great door prizes ranging from mugs, books, and water bottles to laptop bags. With DJ Dolce, Edi Berbic, Class of 2012 running the music, as well as great food, and drinks, the night turned into a huge dance and a night to remember. The idea for the social started with Class of 2012 President Cris Mathew, who had heard, how other schools held similar events at the beginning


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of the year. “With VCOM being a relatively new school, I thought it would be a great idea to create ways for students, faculty and alumni to reconnect before the school year kicked into high gear.” It is his hope that this event will continue to be hosted by the uprising secondyear class, and will become a VCOM tradition that provides students, faculty, and alumni from all over the country an opportunity to return and reconnect, network with the VCOM family. The Class of 2013 officers will now be taking the lead for this event. ■


Second Annual 80’s Night


he Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) sponsored the second annual 80’s Night on November 11, 2009 at Top of the Stairs in downtown Blacksburg. The party helped raise money for the SOMA Winter Gala. The night was a success with over 100 students showing up to support SOMA. The night was filled with great ‘80’s music and attire! ■

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Student Organizations


Winter Gala/ Masquerade Ball 2010


he Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) held the 2010 Winter Gala at the Virginia Tech Inn, on January 9, 2010. The theme for the event was a masquerade ball. This year’s Gala brought over 350 students and faculty together, which was the largest Gala turn out thus far! SOMA would like to thank everyone that attended. ■

Holiday Extravaganza Proceeds Benefit Mission to El Salvador


n December 4th, 2009, the Pediatrics Club, collaborating with Student Advocate Association (SAA), Undergraduate American Academy of Osteopathics (UAAO), and American Medical Association (AMA), sponsored the VCOM Holiday Extravaganza, a charity dinner and silent auction to raise toys and funds for the Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital (CCCH) and the UAAO and Pediatric Club sponsored mission trip to El Salvador. The week before the event, a giving tree was set up in VCOM’s lobby to raise supplies and toys for the hospital and mission trip. VCOM students and faculty chose tags off the tree and brought toys, supplies, and/or monetary


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donations in exchange for a ticket to enter a raffle for a Nintendo Wii. The event offered a night of holiday fun and entertainment to VCOM students, staff and families. Due South Barbeque, a VCOM family owned restaurant, catered the event, and entertainment was provided by Virginia Tech’s female a cappella group, The Sensations, and the Blacksburg Master Singers. Guests were encouraged to wear their most spirited holiday attire, with a prize awarded to the most creative. Winners included a VCOM first year student, Mark Krom, and second-year student, Ben Bring. A silent auction was held at the event to raise money for the CCCH. Prizes included donations from local Blacksburg and Christiansburg businesses, as well as from VCOM clubs. Some of the fun auction prizes included a “Girls Night In” basket donated by the OB/GYN Club and a golf package donated by the Sports Medicine Club. The UAAO graciously agreed to match up to $500 of the

Back row: David Chestek, Beau Burwell, Jonathan Smeltzer, David Landis, John Gamble, Chris Wright, Kurt Schubert, Martin Rudolph, Matt McCarthy, Michael Stebbins. Front row: Jaime Dillard, Ben Bring, Zeke Adewale, Adam Robinson Not pictured: Ryan Witcher, Sawaya Lekoshare

VCOM Ham Soccer Team Attains Victory


uring the fall semester of 2009, a group of second-year VCOM students participated in the Virginia Tech nine on nine intramural soccer leagues. After pool play, the group qualified for the men’s intermediate bracket, which had a total of 38 teams. After several tough matches leading to the finals, team VCOM Ham played a formidable opponent of undergraduate Virginia Tech students. At the end of regulation the score was tied 1-1 and the game was sent into overtime. The championship game was highlighted by a "golden goal" in overtime, which resulted in a 2-1 VCOM Ham victory. ■

earnings from the event to be donated towards the VCOM mission trip to El Salvador. The VCOM Holiday Extravaganza raised a total of $2,000 and 60 toys for the CCCH, and $1,900 and 56 toys for the VCOM medical mission

trip to El Salvador. The Pediatrics Club hopes that the VCOM Holiday Extravaganza will be just as successful in future years. ■

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Student Organizations


ASIG Clinical Skills Workshop


n February 13, 2010, the Anesthesiology Special Interest Group (ASIG) hosted the Anesthesiology Skills Workshop in Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital with even more clinical skills than before. The event began with Dr. Peggy Allen, a pediatric anesthesiologist, who discussed the unique care required for pediatric patients. Following the presentation, small groups of students had the opportunity to directly work with anesthesiologists in the PreAnesthesia Preparation Area (PAPA). The physicians not only presented various procedures, but, also provided

students a chance to practice hands on. The physician guided workshops included intravenous (IV) placement, spinal epidurals, ultrasound guided IV catheters, laryngoscopy, intubation, laryngeal mask airways, fiber-optic intubation, and more. With the opportunity to sharpen skills taught in class as well as learn more advanced techniques, students look forward to future workshops. Special thanks go to the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists Southwest District 5, Dr. Maxine Lee, and Dr. Richard Wyeth for arranging the event in Roanoke. â–

Left: Students practice intubating on a mannequin during the skills workshop. Bottom right: An instructor demonstrates an intubation technique for students who attended the event.

Student Organizations - send us your latest photos and event info! E-mail to:


VCOM View • Vol. 4 No.1

Second Annual Mr. VCOM Pageant


he Student Interest Group in Neurology has continued volunteer service at LakeviewBlueridge, the center for traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. A cookiedecorating party for Halloween and a pet therapy session was held last fall. In conjunction with SOMA, the 2nd annual Mr. VCOM pageant was held

in February. The event was a fundraiser for the Mental Health Association of the New River Valley. The executive director of the organization, Patrick Halpern, attended. The clubs were able to donate $1000 to the Mental Health Association. The proceeds will go towards their Pro Bono Counseling Program, which provides medication for uninsured patients

in the community. A total of 12 VCOM students entered the pageant, and second-year, Ryan Witcher, was crowned Mr. VCOM 2010. ■

Health Screening Fair


n January 2010, club members teamed with VCOM students from the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) to conduct a Health Screening Fair at the Radford Church of God in Christ. More than 50 patients were examined and provided health education and disease prevention information. Stations included blood pressure evaluations, body mass index measurements and obesity counseling, glucose screening and diabetes education, cancer risk factor screening and education, and an assessment of musculoskeletal health. In addition to screening, each patient was also provided educational information on how to prevent and care for conditions including hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cancer and musculoskeletal disorders including osteoporosis.

A similar outreach event was held in March 2010 and focused on the Spanish speaking population in and around Roanoke. In addition to community outreach activities, the Hispanic Community Medical Outreach (HCMO) also organizes social activities including salsa dancing and culturally focused potlucks, to bring awareness about the Hispanic culture. The HCMO club is dedicated to continuing the support of VCOM’s international and Appalachian outreach activities and developing activities that allow student physicians the opportunity to practice their Spanish skills, and in the process better prepare for and more effectively communicate with Spanish speaking patients. ■

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Student Organizations


VRHA - Providing Health Care to the Underserved


wo thousand and nine was a productive year for the Virginia Rural Health Club. VRHA members participated in a Remote Area Mission (RAM) in Wise, Virginia, in July. The club worked another RAM in Grundy, Virginia, in October. Checking vital signs, screening blood sugars, providing osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMM), and educating patients on diet, exercise, and diabetic wellness were just some of the services members provided. At the Grundy RAM alone, over 130 patients were treated with OMM!

Rehabilitation Projects Planned by PM&R Club


he PM&R Club (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) is a great addition to our osteopathic education here at VCOM. Third year student, Jason Williams initiated the club this past fall with help from PM&R physicians, Dr. Ethan Coliver and Dr. Jonathan Tait. Student interest has been outstanding, with over 20 members joining within the first month. PM&R is an ideal outlet for students interested in integrating their osteopathic training into daily practice. Currently, the club is brainstorming ideas to get involved with rehabilitation projects in our community, as well as, beginning to offer shadowing and educational opportunities to its members. The club enjoyed the National PM&R Osteopathic Conference that was held in Annapolis, Maryland this spring. The conference was a great experience for students to meet physicians and students from around the country, and learn about how to prepare for a career in the field. Students interested in PM&R are welcome to come to our next meeting! Dr. Tait and Dr. Coliver will be giving EMG and neuro exam demonstrations!■


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In October, many second year members were trained to give seasonal flu shots by VRHA advisor, Dr. Linda Frasca. Not only were members certified to give the injection, they were also able to provide vaccinations to VCOM first year, second year, and Post-Baccalaureate students. Over 180 vaccinations were given to VCOM students at Academic Primary Care Associates later in the month. VRHA members spread holiday cheer to Montgomery County residents in need by volunteering at the annual Montgomery County Christmas Store. All together, members spent 57 hours at the store stocking shelves, bagging gifts and canned goods, and helping shoppers make sure Christmas would be a memorable one. Plans are underway for 2010 to be just as eventful as 2 009 has been. VRHA organized a health fair at a local church in March, 2010, and the club also participated in RAM events in Lexington and Wise, Virginia in the spring and summer. ■


VCOM Students Win Awards at the Annual AOA Convention


everal VCOM faculty, staff, students and alumni enjoyed attending the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Convention in New Orleans the first week of November, 2009. VCOM had a college display and Dean Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O. hosted a hospitality suite. The fall, 2010 AOA convention will be in San Francisco, California. ■

Above: Proudly displaying their awards, Jessica Naff, and Thamiris Palacios, Class of 2011, stand with Teresa A. Hubka, D.O., President of AOA at the convention in New Orleans.

From left: Diane Sutphin, Director of Alumni & Development, Daniel Cannone and Josh Prince, Class of 2011 enjoy their time at the VCOM suite after the a day of meetings.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Class Notes

VCOM is proud of the accomplishments of over 561 alumni and 740 current osteopathic medical students. Share your news of a new residency, awards, scholarships, grants, honors, publications, marriages, births, or other special recognitions, and photos by sending a note to

ALUMNI Class of 2007

Heidi Leftwich, D.O., presented an oral presentation of her research at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine entitled “Efficacy of Isolated Intracardiac Echogenic Focus as a Marker for Down Syndrome”.

Heidi Leftwich, D.O.

Aaron Coray, D.O., family medicine resident, with his family in Indiana. Eli is the oldest, born one week before Aaron started medical school in 2003. Nathan was born 13 months later during his 2nd year of medical school and Paige was born near the end of fourth year. Last of all, Miles was born six months ago during Aaron’s last year of residency in Indiana. The family will be moving to Utah this summer. In September, Scott Fell, D.O., was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Also, Dr. Fell has been accepted into the family medicine residency program at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, which began summer of 2010.

Scott Fell, D.O.


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Jason Romesburg, D.O., presented two scientific education exhibits at the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, December 2009. The titles/citations of his exhibits were as follows: Romesburg JW, Williams DW, Tims JS. Surgical Approaches Jason Romesburg, D.O. to Orbital Pathology with Imaging Correlation and Anatomical Review. Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting; Chicago, IL, December 2009. Romesburg JW, Requarth JA, Oliphant M. Pelvic Vascular Anatomy and the Aberrant Obturator Artery: Detection of an Important Vascular Variant in Pelvic Trauma with CECT. Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting; Chicago, IL, December 2009.


Alumni Stay In Touch James F. Wolfe, Ph.D., President and Diane J. Sutphin, Director of Alumni & Development, draw the winning names of alumni who returned and updated contact information.

Upon graduation and after Robert Scalise, D.O.’s, promotion to Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, Dr. Scalise was assigned to the San Diego Naval Hospital in San Diego as an intern for one year. The next assignment was the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida, where Scalise completed the course for qualification as a Naval Flight Surgeon and was Robert C. Scalise, D.O. awarded “Wings of Gold” in April, 2009. Dr. Scalise was then assigned as the Flight Surgeon to the Naval Air Station in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete in Greece. Currently, Scalise is assigned to San Diego.

Kristy Kazempfar, D.O. Class of 2007

James MacNeal, D.O. Class of 2008

First Drawing Winner!

Second Drawing Winner!


s of May 29, 2010, VCOM has over 600 alumni who need to be updated as the campus evolves, as well as when fellow alumni are recognized for accomplishments and/or reach other milestones (awards, marriages, births, etc.). Alumni may be interested in upcoming events related to the osteopathic profession – both here at VCOM and elsewhere. News can be sent via Facebook ( vcomalumni) and/or to

Matthew Wall, D.O., has been featured in three publications over the past year: 1.Suboxone Toxicity-Evaluation/ Treatment ( co-authored with Dr. Tim Wiegland, Maine Medical Center & Norther New England Poison Control Center. 2. An Interesting Case Study on Matthew Wall, D.O. Clozapine Induced Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, American Osteopathic Family Physician Journal. 3. The use of Phenobarbital in the Treatment of Acute Alcohol Withdrawl Syndrome: A Pilot Study Examining Clinical Outcomes Including Incidence of Nosocomial Pneumonia, Need for Mechanical Ventilation, Length of Hospital Stay, and Utilization of Nursing Resources.

Stay connected.

Congratulations, Winners! Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Class Notes


Two VCOM Alumni Serve Together in Afghanistan Captain Allen Maxey, D.O., Class of 2007, and Captain Troy W. Akers, D.O., Class of 2008, are proudly serving their country as physicians in the U.S. Army. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the two are based out of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in the Khost Providence of Eastern Afghanistan, a volatile and violent region on the Pakistani border. Dr. Maxey’s troop medical clinic is responsible for all outpatient needs and operates 24 hours-a-day. Daily sick call is held for FOB Salerno inhabitants and offers routine care and functions as a 24 hour emergency room. During the year-long deployment, Dr. Maxey has had over 5,000 patient encounters with cases ranging from routine, to emergency situations that required immediate surgical referral or evacuation from the country. Complex diagnoses are often made solely on clinical presentation and histories due to the austere environment and limited capabilities. On top of the duties in the clinic, Dr. Maxey and his medical team are responsible for trauma support at the combat support hospital located on the base and are responsible for seeing trauma patients during mass casualty attacks. The trauma care consists of stabilization of the injured individuals until definitive diagnosis or surgeries could be performed. This often requires emergent intubation, interossious access, ACLS, emergent bedside amputations, hemorrhage control, needle decompression with chest tube placement, and even declaring injured patients expectant. Dr. Troy W. Akers is the Flight Surgeon and Battalion Surgeon for Task Force Viper of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade – 3rd Infantry Division stationed out of Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. The unit arrived in Afghanistan in October 2009 and will serve in support of Operation Enduring Freedom until November 2010 or until the


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mission is complete. While deployed, Dr. Akers will serve as Chief, Aviation Medicine for FOB Salerno and the MEDEVAC Medical Director for all of RC East Afghanistan. As Chief of Aviation Medicine, Dr. Akers and assigned medics are responsible for over 520 aviators and crew members, covering all outpatient needs on a 24-hour- aday basis. The Aviation Clinic also ensures all aviators and crew members meet the stringent U.S. Army requirements needed to perform their jobs. Dr. Akers flies with MEDEVAC crews on point of injury missions and on critical care transports and is responsible for all training and certification of the flight medics. Dr. Akers also serves as a medical liaison, providing medical guidance on aviation missions. Like Dr. Maxey, Dr. Akers and his team provide care of trauma patients in the combat support hospital. Trauma patients are brought to the combat support hospital for injuries ranging from motor vehicle accidents to Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonations. ■

Class of 2008 Adam Bruckner, D.O., would like to announce the birth of daughter, Lillian Ruby Bruckner. She was born November 21, 2009 at 11:59 p.m.

Adrienne Robbins Hill, D.O., has been volunteering two mornings per week at free medical clinics for Hispanics and the homeless/underserved. Dr. Hill also wrote an article for MD News that was accepted and published on the Free Clinics. Adrienne Robbins Hill, D.O.

Adam Bruckner, D.O.

Melissa Bunnell, D.O., was chosen for the resident position on the AOA Bureau Communications earlier this year. Dr. Bunnell is one of ten residents chosen nationally to participate in the Training in Policy Studies through NYCOM.

Adrienne gave an oral presentation to the Society of Surgical Oncologists’ Annual Symposium in March 2010. Her poster presentation is entitled: “Survival and Health Related Quality of Life Following Cytoreductive Surgery for Peritoneal Carcinomatosis of Colonic Origin”. Jason Spangler, D.O., and his wife, would like to announce the birth of baby girl Paisley Lane Spangler, December 21, 2009.

Melissa Bunnell, D.O.

Class of 2009

Jason Spangler, D.O.

Lauren Good, D.O., was wed to Mr. Seth Douglas Sauer on September 12, 2009 at Pearisburg First Methodist Church in Pearisburg, Virginia. Dr. Good is now the step-mother Lauren Good Sauer, D.O. of four-year-old Anyssa Marie and two-year-old Kyler Seth. Lauren and Seth reside in Eatontown, New Jersey and Good is currently, in a pediatric residency at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey.

Katie TimminsNotaro, D.O., married Chris Notaro on October 24, 2009 in Raleigh, NC.

Katie Timmins-Notaro, D.O.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Class Notes


Class of 2010

Leslie Mae-Geen Ching, D.O., Class of 2010

Leslie Ching, D.O., Class of 2010, again was the winner in the 2009 AOA Bureau on Osteopathic History and Identity Essay Contest. The essay was entitled—“Dammit, He Cures Them”: The Historical Context of Early Osteopathy and Its Relevance for Osteopathic Medicine Today.

Dr. Ching is a Student Member of AOA Bureau on Osteopathic History and Identity, 2009-2010.

Janine Whitson-West, D.O., Class of 2010, co-authored the article "Unilateral Superficial Venous Thrombosis" with Dr. Joshua Coren at UMDNJ February, 2010.

Janine Whitson-West, D.O., Class of 2010

Class of 2011

Student doctor Ching also won the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity’s essay competition for a second year in a row. Ching was honored twice at the AOA’s 114th Annual Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition in New Orleans, by receiving a plaque and a $5,000 cash prize.

Terry Bentz, Class of 2011 has a new edition in the family: Madyson Rose Bentz, was born December 10th, 2009. At seven pounds and 12 ounces, and 20.5 inches long, Madyson is healthy and beautiful. In relationship to the experience, Terry says, “It was the absolute best day of my medical school career, hands down: I have the honor of knowing that the first baby I ever delivered was my own little princess-What a true blessing!”

Hillary Shemes, D.O., Class of 2010 and husband Chris Shemes welcomed baby boy Christopher Alexander Shemes into the world on November 21, 2009.


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Kylee Elizabeth Steinweg was born September 24, 2009, daughter to Brent Steinweg, Class of 2011 and Ashley Steinweg. Kylee is Brent and Ashley’s first child. Kylee weighed seven pounds, six ounces and was born at the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Class of 2012 Candace Prince, Class of 2012, won the Student D.O. of the Year award for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Amy Hughes Radzom, Class of 2012 was published in the following articles:

Amy Hughes Radzom, Class of 2012.

2009; 158(5):719-25.

Koontz JI, Haithcock D, Cumbea V, Waldron A, Stricker K, Hughes A, Nilsson K, Sun A, Piccini JP, Kraus WE, Pitt GS, Shah SH, Hranitzky P. “Rationale and design of the Duke Electrophysiology Genetic and Genomic Studies (EPGEN) biorepository.” American Heart Journal. Nov

Poynter JN, Radzom AH, Spector LG, Puumala S, Robison LL, Chen Z, Ross JA, Shu XO. “Family history of cancer and malignant germ cell tumors in children: A report from the Children’s Oncology Group.” Cancer Causes & Control. 2009 Oct 15.

The Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) hosted this year’s awards. The primary focus of this award is to acknowledge students’ Candace Prince, commitment to their school, Class of 2012. their community, and the osteopathic profession. All current osteopathic medical students are eligible for nomination. This is an esteemed award, and Candace will be entered into the national selection process and hopefully be selected as the National Student Doctor of the Year.

Students & Alumni send us your latest photos and event info! E-mail to:

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine •


Mark Your Calendar


August 5-8, 2010

September 26-30, 2010

October 24 – 28, 2010

The Virginia Academy of Family Physicians (VAFP) Conference is to be held at The Homestead, in Hot Springs, Virginia.

The American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOOG) Fall Conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois this year.

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA)/ American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) Annual Medical Conference & Exposition will be held in San Francisco, California.

September 24-26, 2010

The Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (VOMA) 2010 Fall CME Conference will be held at VCOM II in Blacksburg, Virginia.

October 23-27, 2010

The American College of Osteopathic Internist (ACOI) Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions will be held at Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California

November 5, 2010

The Annual Hospital Day for VCOM will be held at the VCOM II building in Blacksburg, Virginia

November 21, 2010

The White Coat Ceremony for VCOM’s Class of 2014 will be held at Burruss Hall, Blacksburg, Virginia. December 8-10, 2010

The Virginia Rural Health Association (VRHA) Annual Conference to be held in Staunton, Virginia. Send us your news, photos & updates! E-mail to:

Congratulations Class of 2010! VCOM’s fourth graduation was held at Burruss Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech May 29, 2010, with 157 students receiving their diploma.

Look for the article in the Fall 2010 issue of the VCOM View!

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VCOM View • Vol. 3 No. 2

VCOM Newsletter  

quarterly newsletter for Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine

VCOM Newsletter  

quarterly newsletter for Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine