Volume 28 | September 6, 2019
Surgical Notes
Surgery Leadership Announcement
As many of you have heard, our administrator, Paola Basar, has accepted a new position as the Chief of Staff for VCU Hospitals and Clinics

Under Paola’s outstanding leadership, we hosted our very first strategic retreat, implemented many new programs and initiatives and recently saw one of our most successful financial years to date including highest record of OR cases, clinic visits and wRVUs in the Department. 

Katie Golob will serve as interim administrator as we conduct a national search for Paola’s replacement. Katie joined VCU in 2017 from UVA where she served as the manager for neurosurgery, neurology, and psychiatry clinics and has since been the associate administrator for Acute Care Surgical Services at VCU. She has been instrumental in the growth and development of acute care surgery clinical services and programs. We look forward to her continued leadership.
Artist in Residence
Professor Sterling Hundley (VCUArts, Department of Communication Arts) is joining us as the new Department of Surgery Artist-in-Residence. This position was created to foster collaboration between the Arts and Surgery. Sterling will meet with a variety of faculty to observe and shadow in the OR, CSICU floors, as well as the ACC clinics. This will increase his visibility to the varied specialties within surgery. Eventually we are hoping to leverage this collaboration to develop and apply for extramural funding. 
Hundley writes, "Drawing is a universal language with the ability to communicate emotional complexity as well as document intimate observations. As a creative discipline, drawing can both chronicle the time in which we live, as well as give shape and form to ambitions, dreams and futures to come. Healthcare directly confronts the most challenging and difficult moments in an individual’s life. As a practice, medicine is a perpetually evolving discipline that demands dedication, innovation and creativity." Through this residency, Sterling, will be embedding within the daily routines of surgeons, nurses and their patients with the intention of documenting the human stories behind the discipline of medicine and healthcare.
Through ongoing dialogue and interaction with School of Medicine faculty, we are seeking to further explore the parallels between the scientific method and the creative process. The yield in identifying such a connection benefits creators through a deeper understanding of the need for empirical data and procedure, and healthcare workers through a deeper emotional connection to patients and their families. We believe that identifying commonalities between these language systems has the potential to significantly impact the relationship between the arts and sciences.

The drawing at the top of this newsletter is one of Mr. Hundley's amazing pieces.
Medical Society of Virginia Foundation's Salute to Service Award
Congratulations to Associate Professor, Sudha Jayaraman , MD (Acute Care Surgical Services) for being chosen as the recipient of the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation's Salute to Service Award for Service to the International Community. This award is presented to a clinician who dedicated his or her talents to advancing health across the globe.

Dr. Jayaraman was nominated by Dean Peter Buckley, MD (School of Medicine). He writes, "The basis for her nomination is her remarkable and impactful work in setting up the national emergency services of the underdeveloped country of Rwanda, her commitment to reducing disparities globally, and her mentorship of junior colleagues in promoting international volunteerism and global outreach."

Awards will be presented in October as part of the MSVF Annual Physician Gala. Congratulations, Dr. Jayaraman!
CRS Acupuncture Clinic
The Division of Colorectal Surgery is now offering acupuncture for GI, urology, and pelvic health diseases at their Stony Point 9109 location.

Anna Kutcher, NP with the division, will be managing this new opportunity. She was introduced to acupuncture and Eastern medicine during a high school year abroad in Beijing by her host mother who was both a surgeon and an acupuncturist. She went on to obtain a BA in Asian Studies with a focus on the history of Chinese medicine and a Master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest acupuncture school in the US. Her clinical work in graduate school included an integrative health clinic serving patients with HIV, and was an inspiration to work in integrative health settings. After several years of private practice, she became a nurse with a dream to work in mainstream health care and bring acupuncture to a wider patient population. She has both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in nursing from VCU, and is a current PhD student at UVA. Her nursing experience includes cardiology, cardiac surgery, hospice and palliative care. She is currently a nurse practitioner within the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. 

Clinics will be held on Thursdays on the 2nd floor surgical specialties suite beginning September 15th. For more information, click here .
Hume Lee Helps Opera Singer Perform Again
"Jolie Dunham felt like she’d lost her voice.

Over four years she had been hospitalized nearly 10 times, suffering from chronic pain. The exact cause and a solution eluded teams of doctors in her home state of New York and surrounding areas. Dunham, a high school vocal music teacher and a classically trained opera singer from Arlington, New York, can remember the exact day the pain began. And how it intensified over time. Her life of music and performance was virtually silenced.

“The pancreas pain took the joy away from everything,” Dunham said.

As she searched for answers, she became her own advocate — pushing health care teams for more tests, innovative solutions and, in some instances, to be believed that she was living with a debilitating condition. Eventually, she learned she was suffering from chronic pancreatitis. With her days filled with near constant pain, she spent nights researching possible treatments. Dunham even joined a support group on Facebook, where members implored her to call a surgeon in Richmond, Virginia, who could help — VCU Health’s Marlon Levy , M.D..."

To continue reading, click here .
Military Health System Research Symposium
Jad Khoraki, PhD, postdoctoral fellow with Surgery's Office of Research, Biomedicine, Innovation, and Technology (ORBIT) recently represented Surgery and the Mangino lab at the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) conference in Kissimmee, Florida where he presented two posters.

The first poster was titled “Low Volume Resuscitation With Polyethylene Glycol-20k For Uncontrolled Severe Hemorrhagic Shock.” Authors: Jad Khoraki, Nina Wickramaratne, Ru Li, Martin Mangino.

The second was titled: “Polyethylene Glycol-20k Is Superior to Whole Blood and Hextend for Low Volume Resuscitation of Hemorrhagic Shock and Soft Tissue Injury: 24-hour Survival with Normal Neurological Assessment.” Authors: Jad Khoraki, Niluka Wickramaratne, Hae Sung Kang, H. Anna Xu, Ananya Seth; Kayla S Hopkins, Caitlin Archambault, Charles Blocher, Ru Li, Martin Mangino

Congratutulations Dr. Khoraki!
All I Knew Was I Had This Dream
"The Class of 2020's Armita Kabirpour was visiting her aunt in the hospital in Tehran, Iran, when suddenly the bedside monitors began beeping.

Doctors and nurses ran in, escorting Kabirpour outside. Her aunt had gone into cardiac arrest.

"They opened her chest right there," says Kabirpour, who was 15 at the time. "I saw blood all over the place. I was terrified."

Kabirpour's aunt had received a stent a few days earlier, but the device had twisted because it wasn't the correct size. Doctors rushed her back into surgery for an eight-hour procedure that ultimately saved her life.

I was really scared, but I was also very curious about what exactly they were doing to save her," Kabirpour says. "I was so relieved when they told us she would survive, then immediately began asking questions."

The cardiac surgeon, Daryoush Javidi, M.D., was happy to answer them all. It was the beginning of a mentorship and the start of Kabirpour's journey to Richmond..."

To continue reading this story about a former mentee of chair Vigneshwar Kasirajan, MD click here .
M2 Presents at Vascular Annual Meeting
Not everyone can scan vast fields of data and see the patterns hiding there. Fewer still can easily recognize how those patterns might change the lives of individual patients.

Yet the Class of 2022's James Dittman is one of those few. As he wrapped up his first year in the School of Medicine, Dittman had three data-driven posters accepted at the Vascular Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, in June.

Each of his abstracts highlighted discoveries made through examination of data sets: the detection of unsafe medical devices long before they would otherwise be recalled; the likelihood of fractures among given brands of bare metal stents; and an estimation of the prevalence of vascular disease in Latin American countries, designed to enable appropriate allocation of limited resources.

Dittman, president of the Vascular Surgery Interest Group at VCU, says he didn't expect to have all three posters accepted. “It was really only possible because I had so much mentorship at VCU.”

Michael Amendola, M'02, H'07, F'09, associate professor in the  Department of Surgery , serves as Dittman's primary mentor and adviser. He calls Dittman a one-in-a-thousand student..."

To continue reading, click here .
New Faculty
We announced many new faces in a recent new hire memo. Did you miss it? Click here !

Faculty :

  • Vinay Kumaran, MD, Transplant
  • Sarah Krzastek, MD, Urology
  • Rebecca Zee, MD, Pediatric Urology
  • Seung Duk Lee, MD, Transplant
  • Aamir Khan, MD, Transplant
  • Jason Sulkowski, MD, Pediatric
  • Daniel Newton, MD, Vascular
  • David Bruno, MD, Transplant

APPs :

  • Hailey Spinapont, CT
  • Dorothy Lester, ACSS
  • Whitney Crowder, ACSS
  • Stephanie Fazenbaker, Plastics


  • Mena Dous, MHA, Associate Administrator
  • Davis Roche, MHA Intern
  • Malerie Everhart, Cassie Crane, Candice Combs & Regan Gifford, Project Empower, IVPP
  • Ashley Iglesias & Sabian Gresham, Administrative Assistants, ACSS
Staff Feature
Meet Davis Roche, new MHA Intern with Surgery Administration. Davis, from Jacksonville, Florida, is a current VCU student in the Master's of Health Administration program with the School of Allied Health Professions. He will be working closely with Surgery administration on a variety of projects and administrative functions to provide real-life experience during his educational training.

As an intern, he hopes to gain valuable experience working in a large department and is very excited about the wealth of knowledge afforded to him in such a fast-paced environment.

Outside of work, you can find Davis golfing, going to the beach, and working out.

Welcome to the team, Davis!
Monthly Wellness Note
Think it’s too late to “re-invent” yourself? Think again! 

September is a perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging Month since it's typically a time when many people think about starting something new.

Please open the weekly wellnote from the CommonHealth Program for some exciting ideas to get you started! 
Upcoming Events
Richmond Heart Walk
October 5, 2019
Monroe Park

Join Senior Leaders from across the institution to include Dean Buckley and our very own chair, Dr. Kasirajan, as they walk to raise awareness for cardiovascular health.

Can't join? Donate!

For information about registering or to donate, click here .

This event is locally sponsored by VCU Health!
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 [email protected]
Department of Surgery | Virginia Commonwealth University | (804)828-7874 | [email protected]