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Virginia Commonwealth University (School of Medicine)

Welcome to Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine. We take great pride in our heritage and our accomplishments. From our beginnings in 1838 to today, as part of a thriving urban comprehensive academic health center, we have maintained a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and health care. Our tradition of excellence provides a foundation for innovation as we move into the 21st Century.

We house the nation's second oldest transplant program, and we are internationally known for our head injury, drug abuse, and burn injury research. Sixty-six of our physicians are listed in "The Best Doctors in America." Our family medicine, gynecology and rehabilitation programs have been ranked nationally, and U.S. News and World Report recently ranked our neurology, neurosurgery, pulmonary care, and digestive tract services among the top in the country. Our trauma unit has been named one of the top 20 centers in the nation, and our division of geriatric medicine has been ranked second only to Harvard. We invite you to learn more about our history, our programs, and our accomplishments in Purpose, Profiles, and Programs.

Whether you are a potential applicant to medical school or one of our 22 graduate degree programs or your interest is in residency training or postdoctoral research training, we have something to offer.

For the better part of two centuries, the medical school's mission has been a balance of teaching, research, and patient care. In more recent times, the School of Medicine has defined its mission as "the constant improvement of the quality of health care for citizens of Virginia using innovative, scholarly activity to create new knowledge, to provide better systems of medical education, and to develop more effective health care methods."

Our medical students continue to perform well on national board exams and placement through the national residency program. Among members of the Class of 2006, 96 percent passed Step 2 Clinical Knowledge of the USMLE on the first attempt compared to 94 percent nationally. The average score for our students was 226 compared to 220 nationally. For the Step 2 Clinical Skills test, 99 percent of the class passed. Comparative national data are not available. The School is still collecting results from Step 1 of the USMLE for the Class of 2007. An analysis of those scores should be available by September 1.

The strength of our graduating class this past year is further supported by our continued success in having VCU’s graduating medical students match at one of their top three preferred residency sites. Based on a survey of our students, over 80 percent of VCU students were matched to one of their top three residency sites as part of the National Match Day in March 2006. Comparative national data are no longer available.

The School’s biggest asset remains its faculty, with over 760 full-time positions. Over the last year, the School has placed a renewed emphasis on bringing average faculty salaries to the median of AAMC peer institutions and rewarding faculty achievements by making greater use of variable salary options and bonuses. In 2005-06, the School also launched a new professionalism program for its faculty, which has been nationally recognized by the AAMC as a model for medical schools nationwide. Faculty affairs will continue to be an area of emphasis for the School over the coming year.

Over the past decade, the School has focused largely on its educational mission and clinical services. As a result, while the School has gained national recognition for producing first class physicians, since the late 1980s, it has not keep pace with its peers in enhancing its research capabilities. The lack of attention to the research enterprise has affected both VCU’s reputation and the School’s rankings among other medical schools in the nation. With the adoption of the 2005 Research Strategic Plan, the Board of Visitors placed renewed focus on the School’s research mission and the integral role it must play in supporting both the long-term educational and clinical missions of the VCU Health System.

This year has been a significant one for the School as it ramps up its research activities. In terms of its physical structures, the School welcomed the opening of the Goodwin Laboratory addition to the Massey Cancer Center in May 2006. The new facility provides 60,000 a.s.f. of research space and once fully occupied will accommodate up to 250 researchers. Despite the new facility, the amount and quality of space remains a top concern for the School. To help alleviate the pressure, the School has accelerated the planning of Medical Sciences Building II (MSB II), which is now scheduled to open in September 2008. The Dean has also committed to continued upgrades in Sanger Hall, completing the planning this year for the renovation of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease research space.

Clinical service continues to be a central part of the School’s mission. For the fourth consecutive time, the physicians’ practice plan (MCV Physicians) ended the year with a positive bottom line estimated at $3.8 million for FY 2006. Preliminary data indicate that charges and collections have grown by at least seven percent over the last year and that physician productivity as measured in work RVUs (relative value units) has increased about 2.4 percent. Overall, MCV Physicians estimates it collected $102 million in payments in FY 2006 compared to $96.4 million in FY 2005.

The medical school faculty continues to improve the lives of Virginians through countless hours of community service in the Commonwealth. In addition to the indigent care they provide, the School’s faculty provides expertise and support for civic, educational, and clinical organizations throughout the region and the state. Although most of the faculty’s service occurs within the boundaries of Virginia, numerous faculty members have volunteered when opportunities and needs have arisen elsewhere in the United States or in the world. Efforts this year’s to respond to crises in Louisiana, Mississippi, Pakistan, and elsewhere around the world are a testament to the faculty’s commitment to service.

Consistent with the University’s goal to establish more of a presence internationally, the School of Medicine has continued to expand its relationships with several of VCU’s international “partner” universities – most notably with the University of Messina (Italy), the University of Cordoba (Italy), All India Institute of Medicine, and the University of Western England. The School has applied for federal funding to support translational research training in reproductive biology for junior scientists from throughout Latin America. The program would provide support for up to two years of study at the University of Chile and up to three years of post-doctoral training at VCU. In addition to School-wide efforts, numerous individual faculty members continue to serve as visiting faculty at international institutions, consult with international and multinational corporations, and collaborate with researchers across the globe.

School name:Virginia Commonwealth UniversitySchool of Medicine
Address:1101 E. Marshall Street
Zip & city:VA 23298-0565 Virginia
Phone:804 828-9629

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School of Medicine Medical School Location

School of Medicine Courses


The first year of medical school, from mid-August to early June, focuses on the normal human structure, function, growth, and development.


1. Foundations of Clinical Medicine :

2. Medical Bioethics
3. Population Medicine
4. Medical Biochemistry
5. Human Genetics
6. Gross & Developmental Anatomy
7. Physiology
8. Histology
9. Behavioral Sciences
10. Immunology
11. Neurosciences


The second year, from early August to late May, emphasizes the pathologic manifestations in the treatment of diseases.


1. Foundations of Clinical Medicine
2. Medical Bioethics
3. Pharmacology
4. Pathogenesis
5. Microbiology
6. Hematology/Oncology
7. Endocrine
8. Renal
9. Respiratory
10. Cardiovascular
11. Behavioral Sciences II
12. Central Nervous System
13. Women's Health
14. Gastrointestinal
15. Musculoskeletal

YEAR THREE : M-3 Clerkships

During the third year, students receive clinical training by rotating through the various hospitals and ambulatory services. This rich clinical experience is supplemented by didactic presentations on practice related topics.


1. Internal Medicine
2. Surgery
3. Pediatrics
5. Psychiatry
6. Neurology
7. Family Practice

YEAR FOUR : M-4 Curriculum

The School of Medicine, in an effort to serve best the needs and goals of the individual student, offers M-4 students the option of choosing electives during the majority of their senior year. The elective curriculum has been arranged primarily to allow those students who have definite goals to pursue them logically without adherence to a required curriculum. At the same time, it allows those who have not yet defined their goals an adequate assortment of electives with which to explore career options. Where standard elective choices seem too limiting, students are encouraged to approach individual faculty members to develop courses that more closely approach individual needs. A member of the M-4 Committee is available to advise each student and to approve of each student's program.

The year is divided into nine four-week periods. The required rotations which must be served at the Medical College of Virginia Campus are an acting internship, and completion of the Update of Basic Sciences and Clinical Medicine and Step 2 Board Review courses.

All students are required to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step I at the end of M-2 and Step II in the fall of M-4. Students are not required to pass the USMLE in order to be promoted or to graduate.

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