Ready for the world

Four hundred athletes and thousands of spectators gathered in Richmond, Virginia, in May 2014 for the CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championship. VCU Medical Center served as the medical sponsor and sole health care provider for the three-day cycling event, providing medical services through a team of 30 physicians, residents, physical therapists, nurses and volunteers that treated more than 50 individuals.

Meanwhile, Central Virginia’s only Level 1 trauma center stood ready, as an advanced logistics team allowed VCU’s more than 700 physicians to remain focused on priority one: their everyday patients.

USA Cycling officials praised the medical center for providing the best medical services they’d ever seen in the history of the event, according to Alexa Warner, administrative project manager for VCU Medical Center.

Robin Manke, manager of emergency management at VCU Medical Center, said maintaining regular business while operating an athlete medical tent and course-side services required changes through every area and level of operations, from hospital staffing to traffic patterns and parking. The event also called for increased collaboration with local law enforcement in order to keep such things as linen services and transportation for medications flowing to and from the hospital.

With the success of a world-class collegiate event tucked away, VCU organizers and officials now take aim at the university’s next hurdle: the 2015 Union Cycliste Internationale Road World Championships. VCU Medical Center will serve as the exclusive medical sponsor for the nine-day event.

“The world is coming to Richmond and we are pleased to be a part of this exciting moment,” said John F. Duval, VCU’s vice president for clinical services and CEO of VCU Hospitals. “In September, our city will be showcased in a unique way.”

This time, VCU physicians and staff will tend to approximately 1,000 athletes via a 24-hour, on-site medical facility and mobile teams designed to ride alongside more than a dozen races.

“With something this large that involves this many people, there are bound to be medical needs on all fronts,” said Tim Miller, chief operating officer of Richmond 2015, the event’s local organizing body. “Having a comprehensive medical facility at hand is critical. We know we’re in good hands.’

In addition to reaching an audience of approximately 300 million via 500 media outlets worldwide, Warner said the university has a statement to make right here in Richmond. It will staff fan-zone stations along race routes throughout the city to distribute items such as water, minor medical supplies and sunscreen to approximately 450,000 spectators.

“This is an opportunity to reinforce the fact that we aren’t just a leading academic medical center that’s capable of serving world-class events, but a community partner that can meet you at every level of need,” Warner said. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do throughout this nine-day event.”

UCI Road World Championships is doing more than benefiting Virginia’s economy with an expected $158.1 million in revenues; it’s invigorating the health-mindedness of area residents.

VCU Medical Center is working to capitalize on those energies through a public awareness campaign: “Shift for Health.” So… what exactly is Shift? Here’s a preview:

  • A movement focused on positive change
  • Gradual improvements to exercise and diet
  • A lifestyle that improves health and wellness

“We’re asking people to make this event a time for small changes toward better personal health,” said Cynthia Schmidt, chief marketing officer for VCU Medical Center. “Whether it’s taking the stairs, or changing the way that you eat — we want the excitement surrounding this event to conspire for personal changes.”