VCU School of Medicine

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Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Medicine
Official VCU seal.png
Established 1838
Type Public university
Dean Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D.
Academic staff 1,175 full time faculty
Students 759 - M.D.
165 - Masters
281 - Ph. D.
123 - Certificate
Location United States Richmond, Virginia, USA
37°32′25″N 77°25′45″W / 37.540341°N 77.429152°W / 37.540341; -77.429152Coordinates: 37°32′25″N 77°25′45″W / 37.540341°N 77.429152°W / 37.540341; -77.429152
Campus MCV Campus
Website VCU School of Medicine

The Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is the largest and oldest continuously operating medical school in Virginia. The school traces its beginnings to the 1838 opening of the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College, which in 1854 became an independent institution known as the Medical College of Virginia. In 1968, MCV joined with the Richmond Professional Institute to form Virginia Commonwealth University.[1] The School of Medicine is one of five schools within the VCU Medical Center.

Located on VCU's MCV Campus in Richmond, Virginia, the School of Medicine's mission is a balance of teaching, research and patient care.[2] The medical school offers dozens of master's, doctoral and interdisciplinary programs in addition to the M.D. degree, postdoctoral research and residency training opportunities.[3] Some of these programs connect VCU to universities in Italy,[4] Spain,[5] India[6] and England.[7] Closer to home, third- and fourth-year School of Medicine students may elect to train at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia,[8] and the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond gives faculty and students an incubator to grow bioscience companies and research programs.

The School of Medicine's 715 faculty represent more than 200 specialty areas[9] and more than a third of the faculty are women.[10] With more than 300 basic science investigators, the School of Medicine accounts for more than half of VCU's sponsored research awards and more than 85 percent of the university's National Institutes of Health funding.[11]

The medical school provides educational expertise and clinical services to the patients of the VCU Medical Center. The medical center offers virtually every form of contemporary medical service including the region's only Level 1 Trauma Center, a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit, a comprehensive organ transplantation center, a research and rehabilitation center, a comprehensive children's mental health facility, a comprehensive burn care center, a teaching hospital with 779 beds, and a 650-physician practice plan that provides a full array of ambulatory care services in 62 clinics.[12]


Ranked in America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report,[13] the VCU Medical Center comprises nearly 200 specialty areas including internationally noted, multidisciplinary centers for cancer, cardiology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, rehabilitation and organ transplantation. The medical center's programs in women's health, kidney disease, physical medicine and rehabilitation, drug and alcohol abuse, and community health have international repute. VCU Medical Center also has received international recognition for early diagnosis and treatment of chest pain and strokes, head trauma and spinal cord injury research, burn and wound healing, neonatal intensive care, and genetic research.[12] In addition, VCU faculty staff the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center and VCU faculty serve as national Veterans Administration directors for rehabilitation medicine, radiation oncology, primary care and residency education.[14]


Undergraduate medical education (M.D.)[edit]

The VCU School of Medicine offers the first-professional Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) that develops students' clinical skills, professionalism and critical thinking. The program for the M.D. degree is divided into four phases, each of one year's duration. Medicine I, occupying the first year (mid-August to early June), emphasizes normal human structure, function, growth and development. Medicine II, occupying the second year (August to June), stresses the abnormal. Medicine III occupies the third year (July to July) and consists of clinical education and training. Medicine IV, lasting from August to mid-May, consists of approximately one-third required clinical education and training and approximately two-thirds electives at the VCU Medical Center and at approved medical schools elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. Elective opportunities also are offered in M-I and M-II.

VCU School of Medicine students begin their clinical exposure in the first month of medical school in the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course. This longitudinal experience runs throughout the first two years, when students attend small group sessions to learn clinical skills and pair clinical experience in a private primary care physician's office. This course gives the student the opportunity to learn the clinical relevance of basic science material and to work with a primary care role model. The course provides a fundamental understanding of the skills necessary for all clinical disciplines.[15]

Combined Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

VCU's Department of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Medicine offers a Master of Public Health degree in conjunction with students' medical training. The M.D./M.P.H. program is designed for medical students who wish to pursue a public health or research career. Graduates are trained in both clinical and preventive, population-oriented medicine.[16]

Combined Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

VCU's M.D./Ph.D. program trains physician-scientists for careers that bridge basic and clinical science. Students complete the first two years of medical school and, after taking the first part of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, enter a Ph.D.-granting department or program as a graduate student. After completion of doctoral degree requirements, students move to the clinical year of medical school. These students are exempt from the major part of the fourth year of medical school.[17]

Combined Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.)

The five-year medicine and health administration dual-degree program, co-sponsored by the VCU Department of Health Administration, provides students the expertise for management and leadership competency in complex health care organizations.[18]

Combined Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.)

Medical students seeking research experience may choose the basic science track in one of the master's-level programs within the VCU School of Medicine. The research-intensive program builds on the core of disciplinary material in the medical school curriculum in the first two years of training, with additional exposure to specialized areas in basic science disciplines.[19]

Graduate Medical Education[edit]

Graduate Medical Education offers specialty training opportunities for medical and dental graduates in more than 70 programs. The programs are accredited by either the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the American Dental Association.[20]

Graduate programs[edit]

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal

The Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal admits students into the first year of their Ph.D. training in six departments: anatomy and neurobiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, human and molecular genetics, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology and toxicology, or physiology and biophysics. In addition, the portal admits students into the first year of three interdisciplinary training programs in neuroscience, molecular biology and genetics and interdisciplinary biomedical sciences.

Students seeking a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences typically come from diverse backgrounds with varying experience and interests. Students spend their first year rotating in laboratories and taking courses selected from any department to complement or explore their research interests. At the end of the first year, students select a dissertation adviser and enter their department for their Ph.D. research.[21]

Other Ph.D. programs

The VCU School of Medicine departments listed below have individual Ph.D. admissions committees with their own acceptance criteria and curricula. Courses and laboratories in these departments are also available to Ph.D. students who entered via the BSDP.

Master's programs[edit]

Master's training in the School of Medicine includes:

Premedical Graduate Certificate Program

The Premedical Graduate Certificate Program is a one-year, intensive graduate-level program for students to enhance their qualifications for admission into professional school, including medical, dental and veterinary school. Students who complete the certificate program also have an opportunity to continue to a Master of Science or Ph.D. program within the VCU School of Medicine.[24]


Basic science and public health departments[25]

Clinical departments[25]


Critical Care Hospital

The Critical Care Hospital — a 15-level, 367,000-square-foot (34,100 m2) facility — opened in October 2008 and it increased critical care capacity with intensive care units for surgical trauma, neonatal, burn center, cardiac, neuroscience, medical respiratory and oncology patients. It also includes new operating rooms, expanded emergency care,[26] private NICU rooms and specialized floors including the Evans-Haynes Burn Center, Massey Cancer Center and Pauley Heart Center.

The $184 million Critical Care Hospital houses 232 adult patient beds, increasing the medical center’s ratio of private to semi-private beds from 37 percent to 70 percent.[27]

The private rooms provide specialized features, such as built-in, ready-access dialysis portals to reduce the need for transferring patients to other units, therefore lessening exposure to infection and risk of injury.

The James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical Education Center

The $158.6 million The James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical Education Center was built through a public-private partnership, with $70 million provided by funds from the commonwealth of Virginia and approved by former Gov. Tim Kaine and the General Assembly. VCU and private funds supported the remaining cost.[28] The building is named for James and Frances McGlothlin who donated $25 million to the project on April 11, 2011.[29] The facility will allow the school to increase class size from 200 to 250 students per class.

The 200,000-square-foot, 12-story building is be located at the corner of 12th and Marshall streets.[30] Construction began in fall 2010 and was completed in spring 2013.

The facility was built to meet the United States Green Building Council’s criteria for LEED Silver certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the council’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high-performing buildings. The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, Architects LLC.[29][31]

Molecular Medicine Research Building

The eight-story, 125,000-square-foot (11,600 m2) Molecular Medicine Research Building was completed in 2009[32] and houses 48 principal investigators and their staffs. The research facility includes a 75-seat auditorium with teleconference facilities, a multipurpose seminar space and state-of-the-art research labs.

The VCU Molecular Medicine Research Building (MMRB)

The Molecular Medicine Research Building was awarded the architectural award Project of the Year in 2010. The Richmond Real Estate Group, a group of real estate professionals, present the annual award and recognized the building as an exemplary project in downtown Richmond.[33]

Sanger Hall

Opened in 1968, Sanger Hall is a 12 story mid-rise structure located at the corner of Broad, Marshall, and 11th Street. Named for Dr. William T. Sanger, the third President of MCV, Sanger currently houses the School of Medicine’s administrative offices, a number of departmental offices and wet labs, as well classrooms and large lecture halls.[34]

Sanger Hall

West Hospital

West Hospital is an art deco inspired structure that opened as a clinical care facility in 1941. The 18 story structure now houses both School of Medicine and School of Allied Health Professions units.

Egyptian Building

The Egyptian Building, a National Historic Landmark, is an Egyptian Revival style building completed in 1845. It was the first permanent home of the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College which became the VCU School of Medicine. The building currently houses a large lecture hall, smaller classroom and simulation facilities, and an academic unit.

Notable research and achievements[edit]

  • 1947 – First civilian burn unit in the country was established at MCV under the direction of Dr. Everett Evans.
  • 1955 – MCV graduates its first African-American student, Jean Harris.
  • 1956 – Dr. David Hume, a pioneer transplant surgeon, is appointed chairman and professor of surgery. Hume performed the world's first kidney transplant while still at Harvard and performed Virginia's first kidney transplant.
  • 1968 – The first heart transplant at MCV is performed by Dr. Richard R. Lower — the ninth nationally and the 16th worldwide.
  • 1980 – Alumnus Baruj Benacerraf wins the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.
  • 1998 – Surgeons perform what is believed to be the country's first living donor liver transplant between unrelated adults. A year later, the world's first stranger-to-stranger unrelated living donor transplant is performed at MCV Hospitals.
  • 2006 – Cardiac surgery team at VCU's Pauley Heart Center performs the first artificial heart implant on the East Coast.[35]

Notable faculty[edit]

The school's faculty includes internationally recognized physicians — four of whom have been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Robert Balster, Ph.D.
  • Clive Baumgarten, Ph.D.
  • David X. Cifu, M.D.
  • James Bennett, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Linda Costanzo, Ph.D., 2004 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award[36]
  • Steven Grant, M.D.
  • David Hume, M.D.
  • Kenneth Kendler, M.D.
  • Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, Ph.D.
  • Richard Lower, M.D.
  • John Povlishock, Ph.D.
  • Joseph Ornato, M.D.
  • Bruce Rubin, M.D.
  • Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D.
  • Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Norbert F. Voelkel, M.D.
  • Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., 2010 Maxwell Finland Award[37]
  • Steven Woolf, M.D.
  • Harold Young, M.D.

Notable alumni[edit]

In 1918, Innis Steinmetz, class of 1920, became the first woman to enter the medical school, and 30 years later, the college admitted its first black student, Jean Harris. She later became Virginia's Secretary of Health and Human Resources.[38]

Other notable alumni include:[39]

  • Patch Adams, M.D. '71
  • Mark J. Kransdorf, M.D. '80
  • Myron "Mike" Levine, M.D. '67
  • James H. Meador-Woodruff, M.D. '84
  • Hunter H. McGuire, Jr., M.D. '84
  • Baruj Benacerraf, M.D. '45, 1980 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine[40]
  • David L. Cochran, Ph.D. '82
  • Eugene S. Medlock, Ph.D. '80
  • Robert S. Moreland, Ph.D. '82
  • Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D. '86, Ph.D. '87
  • Percy Wootton, M.D. '57, past president, American Medical Association[41]
  • Stephen Yang, M.D. '84, thoracic surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital


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External links[edit]