Volume 47 | August 2021
artwork by Rebecca Zee, MD, Division of Urology
Surgical Notes
A monthly newsletter from VCU Department of Surgery
VCU Medical Center Named Best Hospital in Richmond Metro Area 11 Years in a Row
From VCU Health News:

"U.S. News & World Report has recognized VCU Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in the Richmond metro area for the 11th year in a row, according to its newest "Best Hospitals" rankings. VCU Medical Center, central Virginia's only comprehensive academic medical center and largest safety net provider, also placed among the top three hospitals in Virginia for 2021-22."

Congratulations to VCU Medical Center and especially those teams recognized as "high-performing" in the following programs: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery; orthopedics and urology.

U.S. News designates “high-performing” adult specialty areas as close to ranking among top 50 in the country. Full story
The Cottrell Surgical Innovation Suite Set to Open in October
Be a part of history —

The Cottrell Innovation Suite will continue the VCU Department of Surgery’s long-standing tradition of excellence in research, innovation, surgical education, and surgical testing. The location is Sanger Hall, 9th floor, 1101 East Marshall Street, where Drs. Lower and Hume made history 50 years ago. VCU News: "50 years after Virginia’s first heart transplant, $1M gift breathes new life into historic lab."

This project is being funded by philanthropic dollars, and a gift of $10,000 which can be paid over five years will include you in this history and put your name on the donor wall.

Please call Joy Malkin at 859-948-6277 or email joy.sanders@vcuhealth.org for more information.

Surgery Innovation Suite architectural rendering
Welcome New Faculty: Carlos A. Puig, MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Carlos Puig, MD, our new assistant clinical professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery!

Dr. Puig comes to us from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, after graduating from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine’s General Surgery Residency Program in 2018, and more recently, from the Thoracic Surgery Fellowship Program at Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.

Originally from Ecuador, Dr. Puig’s educational interests include minimally invasive thoracic surgery including robotic surgery, and foregut surgery. He was awarded the American Association of Thoracic Surgery Robotics Fellowship Award which he completed this year. He is board certified by the American College of Surgeons, a member of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), and the Association of Academic Surgery (AAS). 
National Medical Honor Society
Congratulations to Brian Q. Le, MD on his nomination to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA) at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Le is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Program Director of VCU Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Residency Program

“Your AΩA Chapter chose you from among your peers due to your high academic achievement and demonstration of leadership, professionalism, research, teaching, and service. This is a great honor and a reflection of your accomplishments.”

Learn more from Alpha Omega Alpha website
Merit Award Funds Research Through April 2026
Mohammed Quader, MD, Cardiothoracic surgeon
Congratulations to Mohammed Quader, MD and team on receiving the VAMC Merit Award for his research study "Reduction of Cardiac Injury in DCD Hearts with Prolonged Ischemic Period: Role of MPTP Opening and Calpain Activation."

Dr. Quader, PI for the study, is the Richard R. Lower, MD Endowed Professor in Cardiovascular Surgery, and Interim Chair at the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at VCU School of Medicine, and the Surgical Director for Heart Transplantation at VCU Health.

Awarded by the McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center Office of Research and Development, the grant will ensure funding through April of 2026.
Diana Otoya, MD Presents at Vascular Surgery Conference
Congratulations to Diana Otoya, MD, research resident in the General Surgery Residency Program, on her upcoming presentation at the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting in San Diego, August 18 – 21.

The Society for the Vascular Surgery (SVS) describes this presentation as "Studies have identified racial disparity as a confounding variable in hemodialysis access outcomes. These physicians studied a VA hospital dialysis access database based on racial demographics found in similar AVG functional outcomes regardless of race."

Recognition for and many thanks to co-authors and faculty mentors Kedar Lavingia, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Michael Amendola, MD, Professor of Surgery, and Marc Posner, MD, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, VCU School of Medicine.
Publication News: Annals of Vascular Surgery
Congratulations Sally Boyd, MD on your second publication in one year!
A. Omar Abubaker Recognized at Faculty Convocation 2021
Congratulations to Professor A. Omar Abubaker, DMD, PhD, on being recognized with the VCU Distinguished Service Award at the 39th Annual Faculty Convocation scheduled for September 2, 2021.

Dr. Abubaker, professor, and S. Elmer Bear Endowed Chair in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at the VCU School of Dentistry.

In October 2020, Dr. Abubaker and his wife Rebecca made a lead gift, establishing the Adam Abubaker Memorial Lectureship in the VCU School of Medicine. With the goal to raise a minimum of $100,000 to fully endow the lectureship, it will highlight topics related to addiction medicine including prevention, treatment and improving the health of the community, as well as enhancing understanding of addiction and substance use disorders.
Mack Drake, MD Global Health Seminar Guest Speaker
VCU Program for Global Surgery and the Global Surgery Student Alliance at VCU held their monthly Global Health Seminar Series on August 11.

This month’s guest speaker was Mack Drake, DO, assistant clinical professor in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and the title of his talk was “Honduras Global Surgery Experience.”

A plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Drake is the associate medical director of the Evans-Haynes Burn Center. He completed his fellowship in trauma and critical care at the university of Kentucky College of Medicine and his research interests involve trauma and burn frailty.
Congratulations General Surgery Class of 2021 — PASSED!
Please join VCU Surgery and program director Rahul J. Anand, MD in congratulating the 2021 general surgery graduates on passing their American Board of Surgery (ABS) written boards.

Also congratulations to Dr. Amit Sharma (Transplant) for also passing the exam and lastly, congratulations to Dr. Nina Wickramaratne, PGY5, who also passedtaking the exam one year early.

Dr. Anand emphasized — "Thank you to all the faculty for your help in the mentorship of all these wonderful people!"

Spotlight on Rebecca Zee, MD, Abstract Artist
We encourage everyone to go and see Dr. Zee's artwork now on display in Main Hospital. She has two pieces in the VCU Health Arts in Healthcare exhibition and they are hanging across from the cafeteria. This annual exhibit is part of the National Arts Program and was established to create workplace exhibitions where artistic expression of employees and their families are recognized. Learn more about the 16th Annual Exhibit

Dr. Zee is an assistant professor in the Division of Urology, and is a pediatric surgical urologist at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). We are truly inspired by your amazing talent Dr. Zee!
"Ann" by Rebecca Zee
"Sarah" by Rebecca Zee
Monthly Wellness Note: August 2021
Tuesday, August 17th – 12 pm
The New Normal: Life after COVID-19 and returning back to campus (Presented by VCU HR and Anthem EAP)

There are many emotions as things open up and we return to campus. In this timely session we will learn what to work on before coming back, what we have learned during the pandemic and what worked and what didn’t work, and tips for returning to the outside world. Register: Talent@VCU
Thursday, August 19th – 12 pm
Money Goals (Presented by VCU HR, VCUHS HR, and Virginia Credit Union)

Learn the basic concepts and practical strategies of how important money goals are and how they can help you grow personally and financially. Register: Talent@VCU
Friday, August 20th – 12:30 pm
Deep Stretch with Jess (Presented by VCU HR and VCU Dept of Recreation & Well-Being)

A slower 30-minute practice focused on active stretching of muscles and opening of connective tissue. Release built up tension, prevent injury, increase blood flow to muscles, and increase long-term flexibility. No equipment requirements, though a yoga mat is recommended. Register: Talent@VCU
Tuesday, August 24th – 12 pm
Take 10 for you! In-Person session and virtual available
College of Health Professions, 900 Leigh Street,
Multipurpose Room #1075
(Presented by VCU HR and CommonHealth)

Take a look at how we can improve our lives in just 10 minutes a day. We will address how small changes can add up to big improvements, and look at simple ways to get started on the road to a healthier you. Also get additional information on exercise, nutrition, stress management, and more to help improve our health and well-being. Register: Talent@VCU
Wednesday, August 25th – 12 pm
High Intensity Interval Training with Tanika (Presented by VCU HR and VCU Dept of Recreation & Well-Being)

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a training technique in which you give all-out, quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. Workouts are scalable to any fitness level with a focus on cardio and muscular strength/endurance. Register: Talent@VCU


VCU Health and Wellness Library, located in the Gateway Building, Group Floor, Room G-112 offers Meditate with Georgianne Ginder, MSC, CHWC, JSJ Certified Practitioner every Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1 pm. Free and open to all.

For more information contact ricasatakj@vcu.edu or call 828-2432.

VCU Health Intranet: Wellness resources
Committed to developing a culture of wellness and engagement that benefits our team members and ultimately, our community, VCU Health provides resources and information to help you take care of yourself.

American Association for Cancer Research, Virtual Conference:
October 6 – 8, 2021

Join the AACR 14th Annual Conference on the "Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved"

The conference advances the understanding of, and ultimately helps eliminate, the disparities that represent a major public health problem in our country.

Reflecting this transdisciplinary field, professionals from academic, industry, government, and the community are brought together to promote the exchange of novel ideas, discuss the latest findings in the field, and stimulate the development of new research on cancer health disparities. Jose Trevino, MD, Chair of the Division of Surgical Oncology, and Surgeon-in-Chief at VCU Massey Cancer Center is serving as a co-chair at this year's conference.

Got Research?

Join our research Open Forum — held on the 2nd Monday of every month from 4:00 – 5:00 pm

All are encouraged to attend!
Have a story to tell? Contact Us
Department of Surgery | Virginia Commonwealth University | (804)828-7874 | surgweb@vcu.edu