Message from Department Chair

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Message from Department Chair

Dear Friends,

The Spring 2024 edition of our Image of Excellence newsletter showcases what we do best - education, patient care, quality, and expertise. I encourage you to read our most impressive news.

We earned the elite ACR® Prostate Cancer MRI Center Designation, a first in Virginia. Our Interventional Radiology division introduced the Aliya™ Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) System, a promising new modality transforming cancer care at VCU Health. Dr. Lalwani was named Editor-in-chief of Abdominal Radiology in January 2024.

We’re also thrilled to welcome three highly experienced Radiologists to our Department, each with a connection to VCU: Drs. Robert Groves, Ravi Shamaiengar and Richard Szucs. Toward the end of this newsletter, you’ll see our educational mission come alive with the launch of the Mary Ann Turner Alumni Society Fund and impressive academic and research activities, including our new Pediatric Radiology fellowship.

Be well,

~ Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., FACR, FSAR, FSABI

A First in Virginia, VCU Health Earns ACR Prostate Cancer MRI Center Designation

VCU Health Radiology at Stony Point Earns ACR Prostate Cancer MRI Center Designation

American College of Radiology designated prostate cancer sealVCU Health Radiology at Stony Point received the elite designation as a Prostate Cancer MRI Center by the American College of Radiology® (ACR®). To date, VCU Health is the only health system to achieve accreditation in Virginia and one of only 65 medical facilities in the United States. The ACR Prostate Cancer MRI Center designation recognizes facilities that commit to practicing safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for prostate cancer. To receive this elite distinction, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in the body module and undergo a rigorous assessment of its MRI imaging protocol and infrastructure.

Interventional Radiology Transforms Cancer Care in Richmond With New Nonthermal Modality

The Interventional Radiology (IR) division conducted its first treatment with the Aliya™ Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) System; a new modality for the surgical, nonthermal ablation of soft tissues. It differs from existing thermal ablation in that it preserves surrounding healthy tissue and it has a broader application than other percutaneous cancer treatments. Currently, VCU Health is the only medical center in Richmond, Virginia and one of approximately 75 sites in the United States to offer this game-changing therapy.

Portrait of Brian Strife MD

The IR and Interventional Oncology teams trained with the technology for more than a year and, in recent months, Interventional Radiologist Brian Strife, M.D., performed the minimally invasive procedure on two different patients at VCU Health. The first patient had a solitary left lobe liver lesion, which was successfully treated with seven packets of electricity. The second patient had a single metastatic lesion in the chest. Both patients had an excellent treatment experience and are currently receiving follow-up care and imaging.

“The Aliya Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) System delivers high voltage, short duration electrical energy locally to alter the transmembrane potential of a cell, disrupting cellular homeostasis and inducing nonthermal programmed cell death,” according to Galvanize Therapeutics® website. The System uses a single 19-gauge needle and monopolar electrode to safely deliver consistent and targeted therapy. Galvanize’s clinical trial data suggest non-thermal cell death may release tumor antigens and stimulate an immune response.

Three Radiologists Make Richmond Magazine 2024 Top Docs List

Portraits of radiologists  greg vorona, malcolm sydnor and brian strife on black and yellow background

Richmond Magazine’s annual list of top doctors in the Richmond region included 440 top vote recipients selected by 1,444 professionals. VCU Health is prominently showcased with nearly 250 providers, including 3 Radiologists, selected for the final list. Gregory Vorona, M.D., Pediatric Imaging Specialist, and Malcolm Sydnor, M.D. and Brian Strife, M.D., both Interventional Radiologists, made the list. Dr Vorona is the top vote-getter in the Diagnostic Radiology category and Dr. Strife is the top vote-getter in the Interventional Radiology category.

Radiology Resident Wellness in the News

A recent study published in Academic Radiology by Dr. Lalwani, with second-year medical student Aashish Batheja, is the subject of a Radiology Business article, "Burnout remains high among radiology residents years after COVID-19 hit." According to Aashish Batheja and Dr. Lalwani, “Burnout among radiology residents remains high following the COVID-19 pandemic and is an important issue to address.”

Read the Radiology Business article, "Burnout remains high among radiology residents years after COVID-19 hit."

Dr. Lalwani New Editor-in-Chief of Abdominal Radiology

Neeraj Lalwani M.D. white lab coatNeeraj Lalwani, M.D., Professor of Radiology and the current Editor-in-Chief of Abdominal Radiology, transitioned into the role earlier this year. Dr. Lalwani served as the Associate Editor of Abdominal Radiology and has acted as special section guest editor and founding chair of the Society of Abdominal Radiology Benign Biliary Pathology Disease Focused Panel.

Welcome New Faculty

The Department Welcomes Back Three Radiologist as Faculty Members

Robert Groves, M.D., earned his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine, and his radiology residency and Cardiothoracic Imaging fellowship at Indiana University. After completing his fellowship, he served as an assistant professor of Cardiothoracic Imaging at VCU until 2019. He joins us remotely from Florida.

Ravi Shamaiengar, M.D., earned his medical degree from VCU, where he also completed an internship and residency in diagnostic radiology. He was the president of Tidewater Diagnostic Imaging in Hampton Roads, VA, and he has also provided radiological services at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center in Port Warwick, VA, and Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center in Columbia, MD.

Richard Szucs, M.D., resides in Richmond, VA, and has more than 42 years of experience in the medical field. He earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College and completed an internship at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. He is also a graduate of the radiology residency program at VCU.

Mary Ann Turner Alumni Society Fund

Mary Ann Turner Alumni Society Fund Launches, Brings Significant Support

In March, the Mary Ann Turner Alumni Society Fund launched honoring the 48-year career of Mary Ann Turner, M.D., longtime faculty member, mentor and teacher. The goal of the society is to engage and support current residents through connections with alumni, former fellows, and former faculty through support of the department and its mission of clinical care, research and education.

Highlighted as part of VCU Giving Day on April 24th, we are thrilled to announce 28 Radiology alumni joined the Society to date. We want to give special recognition to Dr. Linda & Joe Daniel for their tremendous support with a major commitment to the Mary Ann Turner Alumni Society Fund.

"VCU Radiology now has a designated Alumni Society, with the goal of promoting strong ongoing relationships between the Department, the residents and the alumni, and enhancing resident education. I am truly grateful and deeply honored to have the Alumni Society carry my name," Dr. Mary Ann Turner

We greatly appreciate the charitable support of all our donors. Please click on the button to find full donor list.

Thank You Donors

New Pediatric Radiology Fellowship

The VCU Department of Radiology Launches New Pediatric Radiology Fellowship

The VCU Department of Radiology has a new one-year ACGME-accredited fellowship in Pediatric Radiology at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. The mission of the new fellowship is to cultivate a rich learning environment that promotes learning clinical radiology skills and fosters personal and professional growth. Through a balanced curriculum that integrates clinical excellence with research and teaching, the Pediatric Radiology fellows will emerge as competent, caring, and innovative professionals ready to make significant contributions to pediatric healthcare. Learn more about the new Pediatric Radiology Fellowship.

Learning Without Limits

Pediatric Radiology Section Invited to Contribute to Leading Journal

Dr Randy Aviado portraitVCU Department of Radiology faculty and residents garnered international attention with five educational exhibits accepted at the Society of Pediatric Radiology (SPR) 2024 annual meeting in Miami, FL. The educational exhibit by Randy Aviado, D.O., (pictured here) Diagnostic Radiology resident and first-author, “Brain Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury (HII) in Preterm and Term Neonates," received an invitation to contribute to a review article in Pediatric Radiology, the official journal of the Society of Pediatric Radiology. This recognition acknowledges the efforts of Dr. Aviado and the mentorship and guidance of Assistant Professor Eman Mahdi, M.D. Overall, the active involvement of residents and medical students demonstrates their academic interest in Pediatric Radiology, and it highlights the commitment of faculty members to the Department's educational mission.

Read more about the work presented at the SPR annual meeting.

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