The MITAC Organization has its headquarters on the medical campus
of the Virginia Commonwealth University. MITAC is a NASA sponsored
research lab within the Department of Surgery.
Back Row: (Left to right) Brett Harnett, Dr. Azhar Rafiq,
Debbie Rice, Xiaoming Zhao, Russell Hummel, Dr. Vladimir Lavrentyev,
Dr. Lucian Panait, Debbie Justis, Dr. Ahmed Kamal
Front Row: Charles Doarn, Dr. Ronald Merrell, Dr. Timothy
Broderick, Nathaniel Merriam
C. Merrell, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Stuart McGuire Professor & Chairman
VCU Department of Surgery
Dr. Ronald C. Merrell joined the VCU Department of Surgery July
1, 1999 as Stuart McGuire Professor and Chairman. Previously he
was the Lampman Professor and Chairman of Surgery at Yale University
School of Medicine. He obtained B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University
of Alabama, which is his home state. Dr. Merrell completed his residency
and fellowship training at the Barnes Hospital, Washington University
in St. Louis. After a brief tour of duty in the Army, he joined
the faculty at Stanford University. At Stanford, Dr. Merrell established
a laboratory to address transplantation of Islets of Langerhans,
chaired the Curriculum Committee and won the Kaiser Foundation Award
for excellence in teaching. In 1984, he moved to the Texas Medical
Center where he became Professor of Surgery, led the Endocrine Tumor
Section of the MD Anderson Cancer Center and ultimately became the
Vice Dean of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
He was honored for his work in curriculum and teaching and led programs
in clinical medicine, education and research. In Texas, Dr. Merrell
began a long relationship with NASA and telemedicine beginning with
relief efforts in Armenia. He established successful programs in
industry for research and development and continued his interest
in international programs in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Greece, Egypt,
Brazil, Iceland, Turkey, Kosovo and Ecuador.
Dr. Merrell leads the Medical Informatics Technology Applications
Consortium, a NASA Commercial Space Center at Virginia Commonwealth
University, which is dedicated to telemedicine and medical informatics.
He is Chairman of the Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Health
Advisory Subcommittee, and serves as a member of the Life and Microgravity
Sciences and Applications Advisory Committee -- both a part of NASA.
He is Editor of New Surgery, a journal of surgical innovation,
which premieres in January 2001 and serves on the Editorial Board
of Annals of Surgery and Current Surgery. He is a member of many
medical organizations including Alpha Omega Alpha, Society of University
of Surgeons, American Surgical Association. He is listed in Who's
Who and has authored over 100 works. He is frequently invited to
speak for conferences both nationally and abroad.
Dr. Azhar Rafiq is an Assistant Professor for NASA's Commercial
Space Center for Medical Informatics and Technology Applications
Consortium in the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of
Virginia Hospital at Virginia Commonwealth University. He comes
to MITAC with a vast knowledge of implementation and application
of a wide spectrum of software and hardware issues relevant to telemedicine
and medical informatics. Dr. Rafiq's extensive research and teaching
experience at MCVH includes the identification of unique neuronal
circuitry and development of novel techniques in the field of Status
Epilepticus. He has published extensively in peer reviewed journals
and had presented his findings at national conferences. Dr. Rafiq
received his undergraduate degree from City College of New York,
and graduate degree from Hunter College of New York. Dr. Rafiq completed
his medical degree at St. George's University with clerkship trainings
at Yale University School of Medicine.
Originally from Texas, Nathaniel spent five years in New York City
as an artist in comic books and commercial illustration. He
received his degree in Illustration from the School
of Visual Arts. Nathaniel served as the technical specialist
on the MedITAC mission to Mount Everest in 1999. He designed
the web site for this mission, www.meditac.com/e399,
as well as the MedITAC website. He has his own refuge online
Russell S. Hummel, III is a faculty member in the Department of
Surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth
University. He received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from
Virginia Tech in 1977, and a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering
from VCU in 1991. His background includes extensive experience with
radio and electronic communications system, as well as computer
based data acquisition systems. He is a Nationally Registered Paramedic.
Ms. Rice serves as the administrative assistant for the MITAC.
Xiaoming serves as telemedicine and biomedical engineer at the
MITAC. His responsibilities include the design and implementation
of the telemedicine systems software, design and maintainence of
medical instruments, management of the network and teleconference
systems as well as website programming and administration. He received
his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Jilin
University, China. He received his Master of Science degrees in
Biomedical Engineering from Zhejiang University, China in 1997 and
from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001. He worked as a software
and system engineer at Zhongxing Telecom from 1997 to 1999.
A Richmond native, Chasity earned her Master's degree in Journalism
and Public Affairs from American University, Washington, DC in 1996.
She also has a bachelor's degree in English and Secondary Education
from Averett College, Danville, Virginia. She joined the group at
MITAC to serve as editorial assistant to Dr. Merrell and MITAC.
Post Doctoral Fellow
From South Carolina, Stephen earned his medical degree from the
Medical University of South Carolina. After an internship in surgery,
here at the Medical College of Virgina / Virginia Commonwealth University,
he joined the group at MITAC to serve as the post doctoral fellow
involved in the Ecuador testbed.
Post Doctoral Fellow
From Russia, Vladimir earned his medical degree from the Moscow
Medical Stomatological Institute. He did his internship in urology,
Hospital #52 in Moscow. At VCU Vladimir serves as a post doctoral
fellow and is the prinicipal liaison between MITAC and several organizations
with which we coordinate activities within Russia, Armenia and the
Post Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Lucian Panait earned his medical degree from the School of
Medicine of "Ovidius" University of Constanta, Romania.
After completion of studies, he served as a general surgery resident
in the Clinical County Hospital of Constanta, Romania. He joined
MITAC in July 2002 as a postdoctoral fellow. He is currently involved
in several projects, which include: research in robotic surgery,
coordination of the Romania Telemedicine Project, and coordination
of the CME activity offered by the Department of Surgery at VCU
through the MITAC web site.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
In August 1999, the MITAC established a board of directors and science
advisors. Board members, representing academic, industrial and governmental
organizations, share common vision and ideas in medical informatics
and telemedicine. Several members serve as science advisors rather
than as board members. This is due to the circumstances of their
The purpose of the board and the science advisors is to provide
advice and guidance to the MITAC on technological innovation and
current philosophy in the disciplines, which the MITAC is involved
|Faye Baggiano, Ph.D
||Healthcare Global Industry Group
|Sultan Bahabri, M.D.
||King Faisal Specialist Hospital
|Bernard Harris, MD
|Donald Lindberg, Ph.D.
||National Library of Medicine
|Yves Lussier, M.D.
|Robert Mattauch, Ph.D
||VCU Dept. of Engineering
|Dena Puskin, Ph.D
||Office of Telehealth, HHS
|Steve Schendel, MD
||Virginia Biotechnology Research Park
|R. Carter Scott
|Yulun Wang, Ph.D.
|Arnauld Nicogossian, M.D.
||George Mason University
|Col. Ronald Poropatich, M.D.
||Walter Reed Army Medical Center
|Jay Sanders, M.D.
||The Global Telemedicine Group