Faculty and Staff Features for May 2017

Susan DiGiovanni, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, School of Medicine

Susan DiGiovanni, M.D.
Susan DiGiovanni, M.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University recently appointed Susan DiGiovanni, M.D., as associate dean for graduate medical education in the School of Medicine and designated institutional official for VCU Health System. DiGiovanni had served in an interim role since 2015.

An alumna of the School of Medicine, DiGiovanni earned her medical degree in 1984 and completed her internal medicine and clinical nephrology training at VCU. She then joined a private practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she was awarded for her work in the practice’s internal medicine training program. DiGiovanni then worked at the National Institutes of Health, where she published research in journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and the American Journal of Physiology. She returned to VCU in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.

DiGiovanni has been actively involved in the design and implementation of the new medical school curriculum and led the school in a successful eight-year Liaison Committee on Medical Education reaccreditation in 2016.

“Dr. DiGiovanni is a tireless advocate for medical education who is committed to continued innovations in our medical training,” said VCU School of Medicine Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D. “I’m grateful to Dr. Clive Baumgarten and the other colleagues on the search committee as well as the many other colleagues on the interview panel who strongly endorsed Dr. DiGiovanni for this position.”



Alex Valadka, M.D., chair, Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine

Alex Valadka, M.D.
Alex Valadka, M.D.

Valadka has been named president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The association announced his appointment during the 85th AANS Annual Scientific Meeting.

In addition to serving as professor and chair of the VCU School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery, Valadka is a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He has also served as AANS treasurer and as chair of the Washington Committee for Neurosurgery. Prior to joining VCU, Valadka served as chair and CEO of the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, Texas, the largest and most comprehensive neuroscience program in Central Texas.

Valadka has a strong clinical and research interest in neurotrauma and critical care as evidenced by his research funding and publications. He has been an investigator and co-investigator on 18 research grants, including serving as initiating investigator on a $33.7-million Department of Defense research consortium on mild traumatic brain injury. He is author or co-author on more than 100 scientific papers, as well as dozens of book chapters. He co-edited the textbook “Neurotrauma: Evidence-based Answers to Common Questions.”