Volume 22 | March 1, 2019
Surgical Notes
From the Chair
As you will see below, February has been a busy month for everyone. One of the most exciting successes is undoubtedly the roll-out of our new website.

We also have many events coming up over the next few months. I hope each and every one of you will take time to attend and support each other and the many organizations we as a department endorse.

Thanks for all you do,
Vigneshwar Kasirajan, MD
Surgery Has a New Look!
With a new platform and format from the School of Medicine, Surgery recently rolled out its new website which was immediately met with accolades and recognition. Even the Dean had great things to say!

We thank Cathy Nelson, web manager for Surgery, for her incredibly hard work these past few months as we've worked to stand up such a fabulous site. Additional thanks to Joe Morris and Amanda Jabri for their pictures and guidance as well!

To check out the new look, go to www.surgery.vcu.edu .
Updates from the Mangino Lab
Dr. Martin Mangino and team won the single institutional slot for submission to the NIH Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams for this year. As such, they will submit a 5 year application to study the molecular mechanisms of surgical critical illness and septic shock.

The multidisciplinary team, led by the Department of Surgery (Mangino, PI) consists of Dorne Yager (Surgery), Berry Fowler (Medicine-Pulmonary, Critical care, Co-PI), Don Brophy (Pharmacy), Rebecca Heise (Bioengineering), Stefano Toldo (Medicine-Cardiology), Masoud Manjili (Massey-Immunology), and Angela Reynolds (Mathematics). The application is renewable for a total of 10 years with a direct cost budget of $1,000,000 per year. Even if the program grant is not funded, multiple R01 applications from each team will be ready for submission later as traditional investigator initiated project grants. The Department of Surgery will continue to serve as a nucleus for inter-department and inter-school collaborations in big science to solve challenging problems in the surgical treatment of challenging diseases like multiple organ failure and sepsis in the ICU. 

Additionally, Dr. Mangino submitted a new NIH R01 grant entitled, "Role of metabolic cell swelling in hypovolemic shock."
VCU ABSITE High Scorers & Honor Roll
Congratulations are due to the following General Surgery residents for scoring greater than the 80th percentile on the American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam:

Yahya Alwatari

Hae Sung Kang

Daniel Galvez Lima
Matthew George

Saba Kurtom
William Rothstein
Wayne Tse
Nina Wickramaratne*

* denotes high score
How Augmented Reality Helped Surgeons Save Student's Life
"Walking through campus in 2017, Fredericksburg college student Aldrin Castillo didn’t pay much attention to his fatigue and slight chest pain.

A year earlier, Aldrin had undergone emergency heart surgery to remove two tumors that were blocking some of his blood flow, but he wasn’t overly concerned about his new symptoms because, he said, they were quite mild compared to what he had experienced in the past.

What Aldrin didn’t realize was that there was a new tumor growing from his heart’s left atrium, and this time it was developing into a much more serious situation than before. The tumor was extending into a hard-to-access part of his heart and was beginning to affect the electrical system responsible for keeping his heart beating.

Around the same time Aldrin was experiencing some of his new symptoms, about 60 miles south of him on the MCV Campus at VCU Health, a pharmacy researcher and a surgeon talked casually over lunch about an idea that would help to save Aldrin’s life..."

To continue reading, click here .
ATLS Global Symposium - Global Trauma Education
Basil Asay, Assistant Director for the Center for Trauma & Critical Care Education , has been invited to serve on a panel of experts during the ATLS Global Symposium 's discussion on Global Trauma Education. There, he and several other experts from the field will explore the challenges faced and opportunities afforded in developing global education for a diverse array of learners and resources.

The discussion will be held on Saturday March 23rd at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel beginning at 1:10 PM. More information about the event can be found here .

Congratulations, Basil!
Resident Update
General Surgery Resident Ashley Rosenberg, MD led a surgical skills workshop for medical students at the University of Rwanda where she taught students about suturing methods and chest tube insertion.

Additionally, Dr. Rosenberg was selected to represent Richmond, Virginia on the Partnership2Gether Medical Delegation to Israel. Ashley joined other physicians from the Southeastern United States and participated in a week-long program visiting hospitals and forming collaborations with Israeli Physicians. 

Congratulations, Ashley!
Association of Program Directors in Surgery
Congratulations to Dr. Rahul Anand , Associate Professor with the Division of Acute Care Surgical Services and General Surgery Residency Director on his recent appointment to the Board of Directors for the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS).

Dr. Anand will join program directors from across the nation in discussing a wide range of topics surrounding post-graduate medical education while promoting continued research into and support of surgical education and program directors across the country.

Well done, Dr. Anand!
SUFU Winter 2019 Meeting
Urology resident Andrea Balthazar, MD (PGY4) presented her research at the 2019 Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU) Winter Meeting in Miami where her poster, titled "An External Compress-Release Protocol Induces Dynamic Elasticity in a Working Porcine Bladder Model," won the basic science essay competition.

The award included a $1500 prize check to be used as Dr. Balthazar chooses. Dr. Adam Klausner , Professor and Associate Chair for Clinical Research, serves as her research mentor.

Congratulations, Dr. Balthazar!
Virginia Stands to Lose Big
"Under a new policy adopted by the Richmond-based United Network for Organ Sharing at its December 3, 2018, board of directors meeting, patients on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s waiting lists for liver transplantation now face additional obstacles to receiving a lifesaving transplant. This news is not good: The patients who are transplant candidates in Virginia will endure longer waiting times, will need to be sicker before a liver is offered to them, and more of them are likely to die while waiting. Projections are that deaths on the wait-list will exceed 25 percent, or 1 in 4, within Virginia.

The situation is complex. UNOS, a not-for-profit private entity, is the only company that has held the federal contract from the Health Resources and Services Administration to administer the organ allocation system in the United States, and its contract was just renewed for five years. Specifically, UNOS holds the contract to operate the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, the federal entity whose sole purpose is to set and enforce the rules that govern how all donor organs — not just livers — are allocated and distributed nationwide.

Nationally, the liver transplant community has long been at odds as to agreeing on the best system for liver allocation and distribution. Given the scarcity of donor organs, and the life-and-death nature of their availability, this is hardly surprising..."

To continue reading this opinion piece written by our very own Dr. Marlon Levy , click here .

Publications from Urology
Dr. Tony Herndon (Endowed Professor, Urology) along with Urology resident Dr. Andrea Balthazar , recently published an article in Urologic Clinics of North America.

The title of their article is "Prenatal Urinary Tract Dilatation."

Their article discusses prenatal detection of urinary tract dilatation and the postnatal management and evaluation based on the UTD grading system risk assessment.

To read, click here .
Southeastern Surgical Society 2019
The Department of Surgery was well-represented at the 2019 Southeastern Surgical Congress meeting where two students and one resident presented their work.

Chief Resident, Dr. Woon Cho Kim presented "Acute Primary Aortoduodenal Fistula Presenting in a Trauma Patient." Dr. Rahul Anand , Associate Professor and Residency Program Director served as her mentor.

Medical student (M4) and future surgeon John Lucas presented "FAST Exam in Setting of Morbit Obesity," a gold medal finalist paper.

Finally, Nick Poulos (M4) presented, "High Speed Mechanism and Abnormal Prehospital Shock Index Predict Severe Injuries in Blunt Motor Vehicle Trauma." Both he and John Lucas were mentored by Dr. Stefan Leichtle , Assistant Professor with Acute Care Surgical Services.

Well done, team!
New Staff Member
Please join us in welcoming Grayson Page to the Department of Surgery!

With a Bachelor's in Business and Management Information Systems and Master's in Higher Education Administration, Grayson has over 15 years of experience in higher ed in a mix of technical and functional oriented roles. Prior to joining Surgery, he held several positions with the Virginia Community College System as well as the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Grayson will serve as a Business Analyst for Surgery Administration. His office is currently located on West 15.

Welcome Grayson!
Humera 2019 Meeting in Williamsburg
Don't forget to Register to attend the 2019 Humera Surgical Society meeting by March 25th! Registration information can be found by clicking here . The flyer below can be accessed here .
Updates from ORBIT
Did you know ORBIT offers Internal Funding Incentives?

These incentives are available for Advanced Practice Providers, Housestaff, and Faculty. Please review the chart to the right.

The Research Committee will meet on a quarterly basis to review all proposal submissions.

Please send your selected proposals to orbit@vcuhealth.org
Send Your Pictures!
In an effort to mix things up and officially retire the picture of Dr. Kasirajan in the OR, we are hoping to feature pictures and artwork from our faculty, staff, and trainees (or their families) in each month's newsletter from here out.

If you have a picture you would like featured, please email it to Jessica Carey . The pictures don't have to be from the OR - beautiful sunsets or travel experiences work too!
Surgery Staff Feature
Meet me, Jessica Carey! Most of you know me as the "newsletter lady," but my primary role within the department is as the HR Coordinator. In that role, I provide guidance and support to managers and employees alike as they navigate employment and HR issues within VCU and VCUHS.

Though I find my entire role fulfilling, I am most satisfied when I'm able to help an employee feel more engaged and valued in his or her own role with us.

Outside of work, you can find me either traveling or floating on our boat in Deltaville, Virginia. Wife to one and mom to two (one two-legged and one four-legged), I spend most days trying to keep my 7-year-old daughter alive while working my way through graduate school, all of which I survive with my bible and a bottle of wine.
Monthly Wellness Note
Your inbox is overflowing and your to-do list is miles long. Just the thought of sitting down and starting to chip your way through is almost too much to bear.

Here are four ways to give you a much-needed boost to get moving courtesy of the Commonwealth of Virginia's CommonHealth program.
Upcoming Events
2019 Bunts-Hackler Conference
March 22, 2019

Click here for more information and to register.
Can We Talk? A Colorectal Cancer Awareness Celebration
March 29, 2019
11:00 - 3:00PM

In addition to a talk by Dr. Jaime Bohl (Division Chair, Colorectal Surgery), there will be an array of engaging activities centered around education, nutrition, stress reduction and physical activity, including:

  • A giant interactive inflatable colon
  • A live DJ and dance performances
  • Q&A tables with doctors and other medical experts
  • Nutrition demonstrations
  • Stress reduction classes
  • Group exercise demonstrations
  • And much more!

This event is free and open to the public. 
2019 Virginia Bariatric Society
State Chapter Meeting
May 3 - 5, 2019
Kingsmill Resort & Spa

Click here for more information
Research Open Forum
Monthly, 2nd Mondays
4:00 - 5:00 PM
West 16 Conference Room (16-103)

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