Faculty and Staff Features for March 2018

Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., University Professor, Department of Psychology,College of Humanities and Sciences

Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.
Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.

Belgrave will be a recipient of the 2018 Psychology and AIDS Distinguished Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association.

The award from APA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS recognizes those who have made significant contributions in the areas of policy/advocacy, research, service or teaching related to issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS.

“It is an honor to be recognized with an award for work I am very passionate about,” Belgrave said. “HIV disparities are enormous for African-Americans and I am appreciative of being at a university and department that supports the work we do in HIV prevention, including the work of my students, community partners and faculty at the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention.”

Belgrave’s work is community and intervention focused and attends to aspects of culture (gender, ethnicity, age and place, etc.) to promote well-being among African-American youth and young adults. She works collaboratively with community-based agencies to identify and implement relevant programming and research.

Her recent projects have provided culturally integrated substance abuse, HIV prevention and sex education curriculums to African-American college students and middle school students. In another project, Belgrave implemented and evaluated a culturally specific HIV prevention intervention for African-American females. That project was later expanded to also include a male component.

Belgrave will receive the award at the annual APA convention in San Francisco in August.


Alex Krist, M.D., professor, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, School of Medicine

Alex Krist, M.D.
Alex Krist, M.D.

Krist has been appointed vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. USPTF works to improve the health of Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services, such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medicines.Members come from health-related fields including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology and nursing.

“We are honored to have Dr. Krist continue his involvement with the task force in a leadership role,” said USPTF immediate past chair David C. Grossman, M.D. 

Krist served as a member of USPSTF from January 2015 to March 2018.

“Dr. Krist’s dedication to primary care, prevention, and evidence-based medicine was clear during his term as a member of the task force,” Grossman said. “He has been a leading thinker on how to operationalize USPSTF recommendations in clinical practice, in part due to his role as chair of the task force methods workgroup.”

Krist is an active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice Residency, co-director of the Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network, and director of community-engaged research at the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.


Melanie C. Dempsey, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Radiation Sciences, School of Allied Health Professions

Melanie Dempsey, Ph.D.
Melanie Dempsey, Ph.D.

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists has named Dempsey, radiation therapy program director, as a recipient of the 2018 ASRT Foundation’s International Speakers Exchange Award.

Dempsey will present “Evaluating Secondary Thyroid Dose in Total Breast Irradiation” at the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists conference in Montreal in September.

“I am excited to have been selected to present in Montreal as part of the International Speakers Exchange program,” Dempsey said. “Any time radiologic science professionals gather, there is both a formal and informal exchange of information that creates a greater sense of global community. I look forward to this opportunity.”

The International Speakers Exchange Award program provides an opportunity for two ASRT members to travel to one of the annual conferences to present to an audience of their peers and healthcare professionals. The award includes conference registration, travel and lodging expenses, and a stipend to cover related costs.

The other winner of this year’s award is Erin J. Wittland, a senior radiation therapist at Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri.



Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D., professor, Department of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, School of Allied Health Professions

Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D.
Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D.

McMahon, associate dean for research and innovation in the School of Allied Health Professions, will receive the 2018 Distinguished Career in Rehabilitation Education Award from the National Council on Rehabilitation Education at its conference in California on March 15

The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated significant career achievement in rehabilitation education through innovative teaching methods, research and service. 

McMahon has been a professor at VCU for more than 20 years and has been a principal investigator on grant-funded projects totaling more than $13 million. His 120 journal articles, 23 book chapters, and four books span some of the most important subject areas in the field of rehabilitation. 

McMahon, who was a licensed psychologist for 25 years, is co-founder of the VCU Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering.


Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of African American Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences

Shermaine Jones, assistant professor, Department of English, College of Humanities and Sciences

Summers and Jones have been awarded highly competitive and prestigious Career Enhancement Fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D.
Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D.

The fellowships, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aim to increase the presence of minority junior faculty members and other faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities. It includes a sabbatical grant; a research, travel or publication stipend; and participation in an annual conference or retreat. A total of 30 fellowships are awarded each year.

As part of their fellowships, both professors will work on book projects.

Summers, who is also associate executive director of VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation, or iCubed, will focus on her book, “Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City” (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press). The book will explore how aesthetics and race converge to locate or map blackness in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It will demonstrate how blackness and race more generally are constructed through spaces of urban redevelopment, media and cultural space.

Shermaine Jones.
Shermaine Jones.

Jones will work on her book project, “On Blackness and Feeling: Navigating the Affective Terrain of Black Life,” which is a literary study that examines the ways that race, feeling and citizenship have been integrally related in the American cultural imagination since the founding of the nation.

“I trace the ways that black people’s feelings or presupposed inability to feel have been central to national debates around citizenship, racial classification, and the category of the human,” Jones said. “Through analyses of key literary works and corresponding resistance movements, I demonstrate states or modes of black feeling (specifically: fear, rage and mourning) as key strategies for navigating the precarity and fragility of black life, as the black subject is confronted with the reality of violence, racial terror and dehumanization.”