Faculty and Staff Features for March 2017

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Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of English, College of Humanities and Sciences

Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D.
Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D.

Stanciu received a $6,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment of the Humanities in support of her second book, “The Makings and Unmakings of Americans: Indians and Immigrants in American Literature and Culture, 1879-1924,” which is under contract with Yale University Press.

In “The Makings and Unmakings of Americans,” Stanciu will show how Native American and new immigrant writers and public intellectuals intervened in the debates over what it meant to be an American at the turn of the 20th century, debates which continue to resonate in contemporary discourses over national identity.

“While recent scholarship has considered, separately, the contributions of Native American and new immigrant writers and activists to either modernity or literary history, my study brings these seemingly dissonant voices of modernity into dialogue with each other and with the larger ramifications of the Americanization project for the first time,” she said. “The book builds on previously unexamined or underexamined archives of indigenous and new immigrant materials ranging from manuscripts and publications of Carlisle Indian School to the Society of American Indian papers, from Yiddish newspapers to the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey.”

Stanciu, who has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in indigenous and multiethnic literature and visual culture at VCU since 2011, has been the recipient of other national grants and fellowships in recent years, including a long-term fellowship at the Newberry Library, a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women, and the Reese Fellowship at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

Additionally, Stanciu has been named one of 20 scholars who will take part in the NEH Summer 2017 Institute at the Library of Congress, "On Native Grounds: Studies of Native American Histories and the Land.” The participants will explore emerging new perspectives and theoretical approaches to Native American and Indigenous Studies.

For a full list of the National Endowment for the Humanities awards to 208 humanities projects totaling $21.7 million, visit https://www.neh.gov/files/press-release/march17_grant_list.pdf.


Robert Louis Jesse, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, School of Medicine

Robert Louis Jesse, M.D., Ph.D.
Robert Louis Jesse, M.D., Ph.D.

Jesse was one of 18 health care professionals honored at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session March 19. The 2017 Distinguished Service Award Convocation Ceremony recognized not only physicians, but scientists and laypersons in health care who have made outstanding contributions to cardiovascular medicine.

Jesse and the others honored were nominated by peers and selected by the ACC awards committee. The ACC is a 52,000 member medical society with a mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. Though the ACC award identified him individually, Jesse said his accomplishments have been made possible through teamwork.

“This is less of a personal honor, but more a tribute to the great work done by the team at VCU, the cardiology team at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center and the great fellowship program we have,” he said. “It is an acknowledgement of how health care in the state of Virginia is leading the quality of care for cardiac patients.”

Jesse is director of acute cardiac care at VCU Health Pauley Heart Center. He became the first national director for cardiology in the Veterans Health Administration in 2003, charged with improving its cardiac care. In 2008, Jesse became VHA’s chief of all medical and surgical services, and in 2010 was appointed as VHA’s principal deputy undersecretary for health. Now as the chief officer for academic affiliations, he is responsible for all health professions education in collaborations between VHA and academic partners such as VCU Health. Jesse has also been listed as one of the top cardiologists in Virginia.

Jesse is a strong proponent for interprofessional education, in which providers are trained to deliver care and work as high-performing teams. Through his work at the VCU Medical Center coronary care unit and the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center, the patient evaluation process has evolved into one that quickly identifies a patient’s true condition and streamlines their care.

“Now, because we can identify high risk quickly, those who are low risk can go [home] quickly,” Jesse said. “The model we set up was rapidly adopted throughout the United States and in other countries. It was a partnership between emergency medicine, clinical pathology and laboratory medicine that has reduced both cost and risk to patients. This really is the place where we see the team approach to patient care realized.”


Catherine Brisland, Thomas Cleary, Greg Creel, Sarah Crews and Keith Perkins, Executive MBA Students, School of Business 

Advised by associate professor Greg Waller, Ph.D., the VCU School of Business team took first place in the 2017 Richmond ACG Cup competition in February at the offices of presenting sponsor Williams Mullen. In addition to the first-place scholarship award of $2,250, Virginia Commonwealth University earned the right to display the Richmond ACG Cup Trophy for the next year.

The Richmond ACG Cup is a unique case study competition designed to give students from the commonwealth’s leading MBA programs invaluable insight into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and private equity.

Four MBA teams competed for $5,000 in scholarship money for their schools. University of Richmond placed second, winning a $1,250 school scholarship, and The College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business placed third, winning $1,000. The finalist team from Virginia Tech earned $500.


Amy Dean, nurse clinician, VCU Health and Kristin B. Miller, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine

Amy Dean.
Amy Dean.

Dean and Miller will present “Exploring a business case for high-value continuing professional development” during the National Academy of Medicine Workshop, which meets April 6 and 7. The doctor and nurse team participated in the first cohort of the Langston Quality Scholars program, which offers teams of clinicians training in leadership and performance improvement while solving an actual quality and safety problem they have identified in their clinical setting.

Dean and Miller’s quality improvement project focused on interdisciplinary huddles to improve plans for sedation, mobility and ventilation in intensive care unit patients. The team found that huddle-in-place practices led to decreased length of stay in the intensive care unit and overall hospital stay.


Kristen Miller.
Kristen Miller.











Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D., dean, School of Allied Health Professions

Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D.
Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D.

The seventh edition of “Drain’s PeriAnesthesia Nursing: A Critical Care Approach” published on Feb. 17. Drain wrote the first edition in 1978. The book is edited by Jan Odom-Forren, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. It is the only book on the market that provides comprehensive clinical content tailored specifically for perianesthesia nurses, along with nurses with a strong interest in entering the nurse anesthesia specialty. The seventh edition includes 11 chapters written by VCU School of Allied Health Professions faculty, along with five chapters written by alumni from the school.  






L. Franklin Bost, M.B.A., professor, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, executive associate dean, VCU School of Engineering, and director of the VCU Institute for Engineering and Medicine

Krzysztof J. Cios, Ph.D., D.Sc., M.B.A., professor and chair, Department of Computer Science, VCU School of Engineering

Franklin Bost, M.B.A.
Franklin Bost, M.B.A.

Bost and Cios will be inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows at AIMBE’s 2017 Future of Engineering Medicine and Innovation Annual Event, March 19–20 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

With the inductions of Bost and Cios, the VCU School of Engineering will now have 10 faculty members in the AIMBE College of Fellows.

“Election to AIMBE’s College of Fellows is a great honor,” said Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Engineering. “Members of the college represent the top 2 percent of the medical and biological engineering community. AIMBE Fellows work with government agencies and industry to advance the innovation that improves human health.”

AIMBE’s College consists of clinicians, industry professionals, academics and scientists who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and education. The common goal of embracing innovation to improve the health care and safety of society is fundamental to their achievements.

Krzysztof J. Cios, Ph.D., D.Sc., M.B.A.
Krzysztof J. Cios, Ph.D., D.Sc., M.B.A.

Bost was nominated, reviewed and elected by members of the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to design and development of novel medical devices and educating the innovators of the future. Bost is a recognized leader in development and commercialization of medical devices, consumer and industrial products.

“It’s an amazing honor to be nominated and accepted into AIMBE,” he said. “The majority of my career has been focused on working with medical professionals to develop and commercialize medical devices that address unmet needs for patient diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation. I look forward to connecting with all the innovators in AIMBE.”

Cios was elected as an AIMBE Fellow for his seminal contributions to biomedical data mining research and education. He co-authored the first book on data mining on the U.S. market in 1998 and edited another on medical data mining; his chapter in the latter is widely cited. Cios’ lab develops efficient learning algorithms that range from clustering inductive machine learning through discretization, to artificial neural networks, with a focus on networks of spiking neurons. The latter are used to model processes including brain organization, multisensory processing and image recognition. Cios also serves as director of enterprise informatics for VCU’s C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

“To be inducted as an AIMBE Fellow is a rare distinction in one’s profession,” Cios said. “It signifies recognition by one’s peers for some essential intellectual contributions with long-lasting effects. I am grateful for this honor, and for the supportive environment that exists at VCU.”


Pamela Harris Lawton, Ed.D., associate professor, Department of Art Education, School of the Arts

Pamela Lawton, Ed.D.
Pamela Lawton, Ed.D.

The National Art Education Association has named Lawton a recipient of the 2017 Southeastern Region Higher Education Art Educator award.

The prestigious award, determined through a peer review of nominations, recognizes the exemplary contributions, service and achievements of an outstanding NAEA member annually at the regional level within their division.A native of Washington, D.C., and a product of its public schools, Lawton is a practicing artist whose artistic and scholarly research revolves around visual narrative and intergenerational arts learning in community settings. A fifth-generation teacher, she has an active teaching license in K-12 art education in the District of Columbia and has taught art to grades nine through 12 in Maryland. 

NAEA is the professional association for art educators. Members include elementary, secondary, middle level and high school art teachers; university and college professors; education directors who oversee education in our nation’s fine art museums, administrators and supervisors who oversee art education in school districts, state departments of education, arts councils; and teaching artists throughout the United States and many foreign countries.