July Faculty and Staff Features 2013

Colin Banas, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer, VCU Medical Center

Colin Banas, M.D.
Colin Banas, M.D.

Banas testified on July 24 before the United States Senate Committee on Finance at a hearing on “Health Information Technology: Using it to Improve Care.”

The VCU Medical Center has used health information technology to improve patient care and outcomes for more than 25 years, and made a health system-wide conversion to a modern electronic medical record platform in 2004. VCU’s system supports tens of thousands of patient charts, medication orders and lab orders every day.

“This framework has now set the stage for realizing next order benefits for improving the lives of our patients, specifically in the form of clinical decision support at the point of care,” Banas told the committee.

In addition to clinical decision support, Banas reported that health information technology at the VCU Medical Center aids in handoffs, data fluidity and innovation. Handoffs and data fluidity refer to a patient portal that allows patients access to core elements of their electronic medical record, while facilitating two-way communication with their health care providers.

“It was a humbling and exciting experience,” Banas said after the hearing. “The opportunity to showcase the VCU Medical Center successes in the arena of health IT made for a very proud moment. The opportunity to influence the policymakers at the federal level helps ensure that the ‘boots on the ground’ experience is related appropriately.”


Lauren Goodloe, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Clinical Operations, VCU School of Nursing

Lauren Goodloe, Ph.D.
Lauren Goodloe, Ph.D.

Goodloe was named to the Board of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education announced the completion of its election process for new board members July 16.

The AACN sets standards, provides resources and develops the leadership capacity of member schools to advance nursing education, research and practice.

Goodloe is director of medical nursing and geriatric services and the administrative director of nursing research for the VCU Health System. She is an executive board member of the Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond, the Department of Internal Medicine at VCUHS and the Virginia Partnership for Nursing.

With this new position at the AACN, Goodloe will influence standards that impact undergraduate and graduate education at the national level.


Aradhana “Bela” Sood, M.D., Medical Director of the Virginia Treatment Center for Children, and Professor and Chair, Division of Child Psychiatry, School of Medicine

Bela Sood, M.D.
Bela Sood, M.D.

Sood has been elected to serve as secretary of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), becoming the first Virginian within her field, child psychiatry, chosen for the position. Sood’s term starts in October.

Sood, who has been a member of AACAP for nearly 30 years, hopes to use her tenure as secretary to address issues pertaining to access to mental health care. She hopes to help build collaborations within the health care delivery systems that take care of children and to explore ways to reduce stigma associated with mental illness. Sood expects to assist AACAP’s executive council in identifying gaps in delivery of mental health services nationally and to assist in key decisions for the organization that would shape policy and improve strategic relationships among various health care agencies to deliver quality care to children.


Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., Professor, School of Mass Communications

Judy Turk
Judy Turk

VanSlyke Turk has won the 2013 “Milestones in Mentoring” Bruce K. Berger Educator Award winner from the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama.

Established in 2010 to honor those who lead by example, modeling the way through two-way communication and exemplary behaviors, honorees are nominated by their peers and colleagues and will be recognized during the “Honoring Milestones in Mentoring Awards Gala” at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday November 14.

VanSlyke Turk retired this past spring after 11 years at VCU. She was the director of the School of Mass Communications from 2002 until 2010.



H. Michael O’Berry, Captain, VCU Police Department.

H. Michael O’Berry
H. Michael O’Berry

On Monday, July 15, VCU Police Capt. Mike O’Berry will begin 10 weeks of advanced law enforcement training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

The VCU Police Department was selected by the FBI Richmond Division to send a representative to the academy. Chief John Venuti selected O’Berry, a 19-year veteran of VCU Police who oversees the department’s Investigations, Special Operations and Education and Training divisions, to attend on behalf of the department.

O’Berry will join a class of approximately 250 law enforcement professionals from across the country, as well as international law enforcement professionals, who will live in FBI barracks and receive college credit for advanced training in classroom and field settings. The program encourages networking between law enforcement professionals and offers courses emphasize policing tactics, physical fitness, administration and other skills that will increase the capabilities and professionalism of the VCU Police Department.

The FBI National Academy was founded in 1935 to serve as a central training program for the “improvement of law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation throughout the world.” Less than 1 percent of law enforcement professionals across the country receive an opportunity to train there.

VCU Police Chief John Venuti previously attended the FBI National Academy as a member of the Richmond City Police Department, and VCU Assistant Police Chief Chris Preuss attended in 2011 as a representative of the VCU Police Department.


Dom Puleo, Executive Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, VCU Health System

Dom Puleo
Dom Puleo

Puleo received the Virginia Business magazine Virginia CFO Award in the Large Nonprofit Organizations/Government Agencies category. The magazine recognized CFOs from across Virginia at publicly traded companies, privately held companies and nonprofit organizations. About 200 executives attended the event.

 “Dom’s financial expertise and strategic leadership have taken the VCU Health System to an extraordinary level of success that has allowed it to remodel the VCU Medical Center, recruit talented expertise from around the country and help us establish breakthrough new diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients in the region,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System.

During Puleo’s 26 years with the VCU Health System, he has been at the forefront of its transformation from a state-run hospital with 19 different physician organizations to a single, integrated health system with more than $2 billion in revenue annually.  He has worked with bond insurers and agencies to acquire an AA- bond rating with the major bond rating agencies and has been instrumental in funding the growth of the VCU Medical Center.

The magazine’s editorial staff determined the finalists in each category. The winners were selected from those finalists by four of the five winners in the 2012 Virginia CFO Awards. The winners will be profiled in the August issue of Virginia Business.


Patricia A. Trimmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, VCU School of Medicine, and Associate Director of Basic Research, VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center

Patricia A. Trimmer, Ph.D.
Patricia A. Trimmer, Ph.D.

Trimmer recently was invited to serve as a member of the Neural Oxidative Metabolism and Death Study Section in the Center of Scientific Review within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her term, which began on July 1, will end on June 30, 2019.

Membership on a study section represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

Members of the study section are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant activities, achievements and honors.

Trimmer is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and also serves on the Awards Committee with the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Foundation.


Robert Balster, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Psychology and Psychiatry

Robert L. Balster, Ph.D.
Robert L. Balster, Ph.D.

Balster conceptualized and served as senior science advisor for the Population-Level Behavior Change Evidence Summit for Child Survival on June 3 and 4 in Washington D.C.

The summit was hosted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as part of an ongoing effort to end preventable child deaths and to promote healthy growth and development. Global leaders attended the summit to explore ways to change health behaviors in lower-income and middle-income countries and to reduce mortality for children 5 years old or younger.

This year more than 7 million children – most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – will die from mostly preventable causes.

“This was the first time this type of summit was held to bring together experts on changing behavior related to child survival and development, which is important because we know what it takes to save babies but we didn’t know what the evidence shows about how to create the proper behavioral changes on a population level,” Balster said.

Those behavioral changes, Balster said, include healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy, seeking prenatal care, hand washing, breastfeeding, use of bed nets for malaria prevention, immunization and proper nutrition.

Balster led all phases of the summit’s development, planning, evidence gathering and review, a summation of tasks illustrative of the extended process surrounding the event.

“The summit is the middle of the process,” said Balster. “This was a scaled-up working meeting to obtain feedback from experts. We will now use this feedback to transform evidence into action and to create a series of reports that will include evidence to help us be more efficient in the use of health resources and know what works in influencing large scale behavioral change.”