Volume 44 | May 2021
Surgical Notes
A monthly newsletter from the Department of Surgery
Celebrating National Nurses Month!
Did you know May is Nurses Month? Nurses Week has evolved to a month-long celebration in order "to recognize the vast contributions and positive impact of America's 4 million registered nurses."

Thank you to our nurses, today, this month, and every day.
Hume-Lee Transplant Surgeon Performs 1st Complete Robotic Central Hepatectomy in Virginia
Amit Sharma, MD, MPhil, Associate Professor, Division of Transplant Surgery
Congratulations Dr. Sharma on being the first surgeon in Central Virginia to complete a robotic segment 4 central liver resection.

"This is a testament to the ability of our excellent operating room staff and anesthesia teams at VCU Health," Dr. Sharma added, "it was a segment 4A and B anatomical resection for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma; [the procedure] went really well."

Dr. Sharma is Surgical Director, Hepato-biliary Services at VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center and an Associate Professor at the Division of Transplant Surgery, VCU School of Medicine on the MCV Campus.

We're thrilled to join the Hume-Lee Transplant Center surgery team and Dr. Sharma in celebrating this achievement — Excellent work!
National Medical Honor Society Members
Dr. Nina Wickramaratne, rising PGY-5 and Dr. Yahya Alwatari, rising PGY-4 resident-physicians in the General Surgery Residency Program have been selected to join the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society, VCU MCV Brown-Sequard Chapter.

From the society's website: "Election to Alpha Omega Alpha is an honor signifying a lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research, and community service. A lifelong honor, membership in the society confers recognition for a physician's dedication to the professionalism and art of healing."
Nina Wickramaratne, MD
Dr. Yahya Alwatari PGY3
Yahya Alwatari, MBBCh
Oral & Maxillofacial Residency Program Announces Clinical Positions for Graduating Chiefs
Dr. Lauren Kaplan will be joining Commonwealth Oral and Facial Surgery in Richmond, VA
Dr. Mark Gardner will be joining Virginia Oral and Facial Surgery in Richmond, VA
Dr. Christopher Ray will be joining Eastern Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Tulsa, OK
General Surgery Program Chiefs Secure Fellowship Positions
Plastic Surgery Resident Abstract Accepted for SESPRS 64th Annual Scientific Meeting
Best of luck Emily Andersen, MD on your upcoming poster presentation in the Glancy Competition for this year's Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons Scientific Meeting. The title of the poster is "The Impact of Breast Volume and Other Risk Factors on Development of Mastectomy Skin Flap Necrosis in Immediate Breast Reconstruction."

The Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (SESPRS) meeting will be held at The Westin Resort and Spa in Hilton Head, SC, June 13–17.

Dr. Andersen is a rising PGY-4 in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency Program. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Emily grew up in Southern California and completed her undergraduate degree at University of Pennsylvania and medical school at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
General Surgery Resident Receives Children's Hospital Foundation Grant
Travis Sullivan, MD, General Surgery Research Resident and Alia Iqbal O'Mera, MD, Assistant Professor, VCU Department of Pediatrics received a grand from the 2021 Children's Hospital Foundation Pilot Grant Program to fund their study, "Towards Safer Sedation in Critically Ill Infants and Toddlers: a preclinical investigation of two sedation strategies during global inflammation." Amount of grant award is $7,299.

Dr. Sullivan, PI, is an aspiring pediatric surgeon with an interest in adult trauma and critical care and a resident fellow with the American College of Surgeons.

About the CHF Pilot Grant Program: The purpose of the Fund is to support new people and new ideas and to help increase the visibility of CHoR's research mission.
Publication News: Annals of Vascular Surgery
Congratulations to general surgery resident Sally Boyd, MD, PGY-3 on the publication of your paper in the Annals of Vascular Surgery. Titled “Frailty Measurement and Implications for Cerebrovascular Disease Management in a Veteran-Based Population” the study is co-authored with Wayne Tse, MD, PGY-3, Kedar Lavingia, MD, Assistant Professor, and Michael Amendola, MD, Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery.

The formal presentation of the paper was given by Dr. Boyd at the 2021 Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society – 45th Annual Symposium in Sun Valley, Idaho. 
Dr. Anand 2021 Program Chair at First Hybrid APDS Meeting
Rahul J. Anand, MD, Professor and General Surgery Residency Program Director was this year's Program Chair for the first-ever hybrid meeting of The Association of Program Directors in Surgery, held April 26–29.

Presentations from "Boston and beyond" proved the new hybrid format allows for both a COVID-safe meeting and provides both in-person and live-streaming presentations to attendees around the country. APDS promoted the program as " . . all APDS content will be available concurrently to both live audiences in Boston and those using the live streaming option." Good job!
ASCR Announces 2021 Fellows at Annual Scientific Meeting
Congratulations to Nicole Wieghard, MD, FACS, FASCR, Assistant Professor, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and Associate Director, General Surgery Residency Program on being named as a 2021 Fellow of the American Society of Colorectal Surgeons.

General Surgery Residency Program Chiefs ABS Board Certified
Becker's Virtual Roundtable
Tina Hamlet, MA, Association Administrator for the Division of Urology and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has been invited to attend Becker's 11th Annual Meeting to participate in a virtual roundtable, "Preventing Complications in the OR: Best Practices to Minimize SSC and Optimize Clinical Outcomes."

Invitation-only, "the goal of these roundtables is to provide a collaborative environment for healthcare executives like yourself to come together and share experiences, best practices, and insights with one another in an interactive forum."

Tina will get to network with high profile industry peers through small-group video discussions and have the opportunity to be involved and weigh-in on some of the newest ideas and trends in healthcare.

Call For Abstracts: Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Symposium
Submission Deadline: June 4, 2021


  • Abstract submission from all disciplines involved in trauma care are encouraged, including physicians, nursing staff, and pre-hospital providers. 
  • Original research and quality/performance improvement projects are eligible for submission. 
  • Submissions must be done using the online form with an attached word document containing the abstract.
  • Those accepted for presentation will be asked to submit an electronic poster (single PowerPoint slide, 16:0 or 5:4 ratio only)

For more information and to submit your abstract:
Publication News and Abstract Accepted
Congratulations to Leslie Coots, FNP, et. al., on the upcoming publication in the October issue of Nurse Leader: “Finding the Yes Through a Thousand Points of No: Quality Improvement in an Academic Medical Center” Authors: Lesley Coots, DNP, FNP-BC, FNP-C, CCRN, Jeanette Amery, DNP, AGACNP-BC, Christine Schaeffer, DNP, ACCNS-AG, CEN, TCRN, Pamela Parsons, Ph.D., GNP-BC, FNAP, Shelly Smith, DNP, ANP-BC 

In addition to Leslie, FNP with Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we’re recognizing co-authors Jeanette Amery, NP in Transplant Surgery, Christine Schaeffer, PhD, Nurse Clinician for Nursing Administration, and Pam Parsons and Shelly Smith both at VCU School of Nursing.
Poster Presentation:
More congratulations to Leslie on her poster accepted for presentation at the 2021 Joint Annual Meeting of the Virginia and Metro DC Chapters of the American College of Surgeons, May 22, 2021, Virtual Poster Session.

Titled: “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS): Impact and Outcomes in an Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Population.” Authors: Lesley Coots, DNP, APRN-C; Shelly Smith, DNP, APRN-C; Debra Shockey, DNP, APRN-C; Michael Feldman, MD; Daniel Luppens, MD
Vascular Specialist Online Publishes Central Virginia VA Study
Vascular Specialist Online posted a write-up of the recent study presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery by Wayne Tse, MD, PGY-3, general surgery resident.

Titled "Higher frailty scores linked to increased postoperative complications and mortality in veterans undergoing EVAR for AAA" the study is co-authored by Kedar Lavingia, MD, and Michael Amendola, MD, Division of Vascular Surgery, and Central Virginia VA Health Care System (formerly, McGuire VA Medical Center)
Surgery Faculty In the News:
Jose Trevino, MD: Surgical Oncology
Dr. Trevino, Surgeon-in-Chief at Massey Cancer Center and Chair of the Division of Surgical Oncology appeared on The VFoundation's podcast to discuss funding for researchers, precision medicine, and the future of immunotherapy.

Patricia Lange, MD: Pediatric Surgery
Dr. Lange was featured in a TV spot during WTVR Channel 6 Virginia This Morning to share the importance of Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU being named a Level 1 Children's Surgery Center.

Vinay Kumaran, MD: Transplant Surgery
For National Donate Life Month, Dr. Kumaran, Associate Professor and Surgical Director of Living Donor Liver Transplantation at Hume-Lee Transplant Center was interviewed for the podcast, "Healthy with VCU Health" to discuss the benefits and relatively low risks of being a living liver donor.

Amelia Grover, MD: Surgical Oncology
Dr. Grover was the guest speaker at Massey Cancer Center's Facebook Live event "Adrenal Tumors Q & A" last month. She led a discussion on adrenal tumors and her work as director of Massey's Multidisciplinary Endocrine Tumor Program.
Employee Shout-OUT: Meet Mary Pope, RN
“Throughout Mary Pope’s time with the Division of Pediatric Surgery she has shown her dedication to taking care of patients. Mary was particularly accommodating to address challenges associated with COVID-19. During clinics Mary helps facilitate patient management to minimize delays and ensure they receive follow-up after surgery.

Mary has the invaluable capability to put patients at ease and show them true compassion. Many families, community providers, and team members have expressed appreciation for her professionalism, efficiency, and ability to collaborate with others.

Mary continues to demonstrate her commitment to VCU Health and most importantly patients.

Thank you for all you do Mary!” 
Application Process for KL2 Program at Wright Center Now Open
The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research
KL2 award provides talented junior faculty investigators a mentored, research-intensive experience in a multidisciplinary setting. It enables the development of future leaders in clinical and translational research. Learn more

A letter of intent (recommended) is due May 10, and full applications are due July 12. Applications from women and underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged.

For questions about the KL2 Program, contact Rob DiRenzo: direnzor@vcu.edu or call (804) 628-9395
Monthly Wellness Note: May 2021
Wednesday, May 12th – 11 am
A Pandemic and Your Pantry
(Presented by VCU HR and Stony Point Women’s Health)
Join VCU Health registered dietitian, Dana Henderson, and learn how eating healthy and ways to handle stress help you live your best life through a pandemic.
Register: Talent@VCU
Friday, May 14th – 12 pm
Deep Stretch with Jess
(Presented by VCU HR and VCU Recreational Sports)
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.
Register: Talent@VCU
Tuesday, May 18th – 12 pm
Vinyasa Yoga with Casey
(Presented by VCU HR and VCU Recreational Sports)
Move through a variety of yoga poses in a balanced and systemic way connecting the breath with movement. This class will improve body awareness, mental focus, muscular tension, range of motion at the joints, and an overall sensation of a more balanced life.
Register: Talent@VCU
Thursday, May 20th – 12 pm
Money’s Not Free
(Presented by VCU HR, VCUHS HR, and Virginia Credit Union)
Learn helpful tips on how to reduce your debt through specific examples and strategies.
Register: Talent@VCU
Thursday, May 27th – 12 pm
High Intensity Interval Training with Rachel
(Presented by VCU HR and VCU Recreational Sports)
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
Shining Knight Gala
Saturday, May 8 at 7:00 pm
Free Online Event —

SAVE THE DATE: May 25 — A Path to Discovery Expo 2021
DIRE Expo May 25
Presented by the Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Committee, "A Path to Discovery" is a chance to engage with high school students and their parents to the healthcare field.

More information is coming!

Be Sure to Join Us!

Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Virtual Symposium: July 8–9
The VCU Health Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education and Division of Acute Care Surgical Services invite you to attend the virtual 21st Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Symposium – Critical Decisions, Optimal Outcomes.

The 21st Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Symposium: Trauma Care – Critical Decisions, Optimal Outcomes is a multidisciplinary conference designed to inform attendees about current clinical challenges in trauma care throughout the continuum and about current concepts and strategies for the resuscitation of critically ill patients across a range of environments, from pre-hospital settings to advance tertiary care centers. Learn more
Research Open Forum
Monthly, 2nd Mondays
4:00 - 5:00 PM

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