Discovery Series comes to Richmond

Panel discussion focuses on innovation and patient care

Each year, the MCV Foundation sponsors a Discovery Series in Williamsburg, Va., providing guests with immediate access to the latest exciting work of VCU Health scholars, researchers and clinicians. Last October’s event, the sixth in the series and the first in Richmond, highlighted innovative treatments and patient care.

More than 100 invited guests attended the inaugural Discovery Series RVA, an intimate occasion held at the Country Club of Virginia that included a welcome reception, program and discussion, strolling supper, and question-and-answer session.

Dr. Peter Buckley, dean of the VCU School of Medicine and interim senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and interim CEO of VCU Health System, moderated the discussion, “The Doctor Is In: A Panel of Experts from VCU Health Discuss Innovative Treatments and Patient Care.” The multidisciplinary panel included VCU faculty Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen, professor, Department of Internal Medicine, and chair, Division of Cardiology; Dr. Kelly Gwathmey, assistant professor, Department of Neurology; Dr. Jordana Kron, associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Dr. Kandace McGuire, associate professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology; Dr. Saïd Sebti, professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, associate director for basic research, Massey Cancer Center; and Dr. Gordon Smith, chair and professor, Department of Neurology.

From left: Panelists Dr. Kandace McGuire, Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen and Dr. Kelly Gwathmey

From left: Panelists Dr. Kandace McGuire, Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen and Dr. Kelly Gwathmey

From left: Judy Brown, Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen and Carrie Mills

From left: Judy Brown, Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen and Carrie Mills

The theme of the night was interdisciplinary collaboration, which Kron described as critical “both for scientific advancement and for patient-focused, family-focused clinical care.” Kron works with an interdisciplinary team of physicians in VCU Health’s sarcoidosis clinic. “The future of medicine,” she noted, “is teamwork to find new therapies for diseases and then bring those treatments to patients and their caregivers in a compassionate way.”

A highlight of the event, Kron and Ellenbogen each discussed innovations in the treatment of heart disease. Kron, a recent recipient of the American Heart Association’s Collaborative Sciences Award and a Pauley Pilot Research Grant, discussed what VCU Health is doing to address sarcoidosis, a debilitating systemic condition that can affect the heart and nervous system. Ellenbogen, a highly sought-after clinician, researcher and educator, described how VCU Health has developed a national reputation in the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation. “It was a great opportunity to share the knowledge and drive of the Pauley Heart Center faculty with the public,” Ellenbogen said of his participation.

“Bringing the Discovery Series home to Richmond was very exciting, and significant,” Kron added. “VCU plays such an important role both in downtown Richmond and in the surrounding communities, but sometimes people that live locally may not know all of the cutting-edge research and amazing patient care that is going on right here.”