SA alumnus paves way for those who follow at EVMS

Chase Allen (SA '11) teaches surgeons the art of robotic-assisted surgery.
Chase Allen (SA '11) teaches surgeons the art of robotic-assisted surgery.

Chase Allen (SA '11) hasn't forgotten his roots. A trainer with Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Mr. Allen teaches surgeons the art of robotic-assisted surgery. He credits his career to the professional start he received at EVMS and looks for ways to give back to his alma mater.

"Without EVMS," he says, "I would not be where I am today. They gave me the tools to succeed. After I graduated, it was clear that what I mastered at EVMS put me on a different level than those I was competing with."

As an EVMS student, Mr. Allen worked with Craig Goodmurphy, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Anatomy, to develop a student-trainer model still in use at the school today. The goal was to provide surgical assisting students with additional lab time to fine-tune their knowledge of anatomy. It also enabled them to work with medical students to teach surgical techniques.

Since graduating, Mr. Allen has served as an SA program recruiter at colleges in Georgia and as an employment recruiter for a surgical company. Several times he has helped fellow EVMS SA alumni find employment.

But perhaps his greatest gift to EVMS comes via his teaching role at Intuitive Surgical. Mr. Allen helped develop a training-partnership program between EVMS and his company that embeds da Vinci Robotic Certification into the SA curriculum. Last spring, students from EVMS traveled to Atlanta to receive training from Mr. Allen on the use of the da Vinci Surgical System.

EVMS is the only medical school to have an industry partnership that embeds this in-demand certification into its Surgical Assisting training.

"From his first phone contact with EVMS as a student and now as an alumnus, Chase has displayed the highest level of professionalism," says R. Clinton Crews, MPH, Director of the Surgical Assisting Program and Assistant Professor of Health Professions. "As an educator, you hold in your mind the image of the model student and you actively seek students who reflect that image. Chase is that model student and model professional."

For Mr. Allen, maintaining a relationship with EVMS is about giving back to the school and laying a foundation for those who come behind him.

"I am a big believer in EVMS and in the education it provides to its students," he says. "I will do anything I can to pay that forward."

Class of '99 grad earns national honor as hero of military medicine

Cmdr. Darian Rice being awarded a 2015 Hero of Military Medicine.
Cmdr. Darian Rice (third from left) was one of only three military medical professionals in the nation to be named a 2015 Hero of Military Medicine.

Cmdr. Darian Rice, (MD '99, PhD '02), leads a life of service. A decorated military officer and physician, he has focused his life's work not only on helping to heal the nation's wounded and ill service members and veterans, but also on teaching the next generation of doctors.

As Chief of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia and Director of the Anesthesia Residency Program at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Cmdr. Rice is the model of servant leadership. From the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to serving as a flight surgeon with NASA, he has certainly earned the title hero– even if it does make him blush.

Earlier this year, Cmdr. Rice was named a 2015 Hero of Military Medicine by the Center for Public-Private Partnerships at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. The award is given to just three active-duty military medical professionals annually— one each representing the Army, Navy and Air Force.

"Never in a million years did I think I would be the recipient of this award," Cmdr. Rice says. "Every day I work with people who are as equally motivated and equally deserving of this award."

During his time at EVMS, Cmdr. Rice spent three months on active duty with SEAL Team 4, Naval Amphibious Base, Norfolk, where he instructed Combat Life Support and completed training in Wilderness Trauma Life Support and High-Angle Rescue for Special Operations. He also completed a one-month rotation at the Casualty Care Research Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., where he developed medical threat assessments in support of a Presidential Protection Detail and in preparation of a FBI-Hostage Response Team mission.

Looking back, he says his education at EVMS provided the strong foundation necessary to be successful as a military physician.

"One of the many things that stand out in my mind," he says, "is the faculty and staff who had an open-door policy and were truly dedicated to our education. They were always willing to go the extra mile. The experience and skills gained from the MD and PhD programs truly set me up for success in medicine, academics and research."

Class Notes

  • Kevin McCarten-Gibbs, MD (MD '89), was appointed Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland (Calif.).
  • Randolph Gould, MD (MD '76), recently finished an eight-year term as a member of the American Medical Association's Council on Legislation. The council explores legislative issues at the state and federal levels and makes recommendations to the organization's Board of Trustees. Dr. Gould is also starting his 19th year as a member of the Medical Society of Virginia's delegation to the AMA. He will now serve as chair of the delegation.
  • Rosemary Juskevich (Art Therapy '94) was elected to the Durango Arts Center Board of Directors (Colorado). She will serve a three-year term.

Join your classmates at the 2015 Alumni Weekend

All alumni are invited to reunite with their classmates during the Annual Alumni Weekend, Oct. 16-18, 2015. The festivities include a POETS reception for MD alumni Friday evening, a private EVMS Alumni Chalet at the Town Point Virginia Wine Festival Saturday and campus tours and breakfast Sunday. Registration is required for all events. Read the full details.