Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools Is Now Southside College of Health Sciences

Colonial Heights, VA – Effective June 1, 2018, Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools will change its name to Southside College of Health Sciences. This name change is in keeping with our mission to offer individuals the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for entry into practice in their chosen health discipline. In addition, this change will position us for future growth and expansion of our current programs, and develop additional program offerings while continuing to foster student success and life-long learning within their program of choice.

We will continue to function in our current structure and there will be no difference in the day-to-day operations within the school. Contact numbers, emails and our website will remain the same. However, we do anticipate a change in our website in the near future. You will be notified of this change prior to implementation.

Transcripts and diplomas will reflect the new name after June 1, 2018. Your financial aid, scholarship and/or loan information and processing will not be affected.

With more than 120 years spent educating individuals for entry into a healthcare profession, and graduating thousands of highly-qualified professionals who have served our community and beyond, we look forward to continued service and growth under this new name.

Should you have any questions regarding this name change, please feel free to contact:

Ms. Erica Jackson
Director of Enrollment Management
(804) 765-5214

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New Technology Supports Less Invasive Treatments for Patients

Petersburg, VA– Doctors at Southside Regional Medical Center are now able to use an advanced digital X-ray imaging system to see extremely detailed, real-time images of patient anatomy during procedures that require exacting precision.

They just opened their Electrophysiology Laboratory this December. This new equipment will help electrophysiologists and cardiologists at Southside Regional Medical Center treat a variety of medical disorders including diseases of the heart and blood vessels like heart arrhythmias and bradycardia as well as implanting devices to combat heart failure.

The advanced digital X-ray imaging system provides advanced capability for visualizing delicate procedures, such as placing a tiny wire mesh tube (stent) in a patient’s artery to sustain or recover blood flow.

“It is critical for our medical staff to see the anatomy very clearly while guiding catheters, stents and other medical devices to areas needing treatment,” says Debbie Nelson RN, MSN/MHA, EP Lab Director. “Because the new system produces high quality images our staff can perform delicate procedures like balloon angioplasty and blood vessel interventions with accuracy and confidence.”

The new system has a large digital detector, 12 inches square for excellent anatomical coverage. This gives doctors the potential to see more anatomy in a single exam, and as a consequence, complete studies with fewer X-ray images, less X-ray dose and fewer injections of contrast dye than with smaller detectors.

“We are very excited about adding the advanced X-ray system to our technology offering at Southside Regional Medical Center,” says Ms. Nelson.  “By putting this advanced system in the hands of our medical experts, it helps us make significant improvements in the patient care in the communities we serve.”


Southside Regional Medical Center Partners to Offer FREE “Stop the Bleed” Class

Petersburg, VA - Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) partners with Petersburg Fire and Rescue, Southside Virginia Emergency Crew and Petersburg Bureau of Police to bring the National “STOP THE BLEED” class, endorsed by the American College of Surgeons – Committee on Trauma to citizens of Petersburg.

The goal of the class is to partner with Fire, EMS, Police and our community to train together, provide public awareness and teach lifesaving skills to our community.   The class will focus on wounds, application of tourniquets, wound packing, Self-Aid and Buddy-Aid.  This course also includes additional psychomotor and didactic skills for our students to build a knowledge base and comfort factor in the event of an injury.

The class will be held at Saint Joseph School, located at 123 Franklin Street, Petersburg on Wednesday, December 6th from 6-7:30pm.  This course is FREE and open to the public.  Please call 804-765-5689 to register.


New Breast Cancer Prevention Options

Is Genetic Testing Right for You?

Petersburg, VA– Since 1985, the U.S. has dedicated the month of October to a national focus on the screening, prevention and survivors of breast cancer. The increased focus on education, screening and lifestyle changes has been a critical tool in driving down both the number of deaths and new diagnoses of breast cancer.

Genetic testing has quickly become a more mainstream practice, both for human interest about our ancestry, and for the purpose of understanding how that ancestry might increase our risk for certain diseases. Recent medical news has focused on the BRCA genes and their role in increased cancer risks, and now there are affordable, at-home testing options for those with specific risk factors.

The two BRCA genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – normally help protect women from cancer. However, some women experience a mutation of these genes that can actually lead to cancer. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with a BRCA gene mutation are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 30 times more likely to get ovarian cancer, when compared with women without the gene mutations.

So, should all women be tested for the BRCA gene mutation? The experts say, absolutely not.

“It’s important to keep in mind that gene mutations are only a small part of the breast cancer story,” said Sasa-Grae Espino, MD, fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon. “It’s true that having an immediate family member with breast cancer can double your risk of being diagnosed. But it’s also true that more than 80% of women who get breast cancer have NO family history of the disease. There are many other factors, some inside and some outside of your control.”

Both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the medical community agree there are certain risk factors that indicate a woman should seek genetic counseling, and BRCA testing if recommended after counseling:

  • A family history of someone having a positive BRCA mutation
  • Ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer at any age in a family member
  • Breast cancer in a family member before the age of 50
  • Triple-negative breast cancer before the age of 60
  • Male breast cancer in any family member
  • People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • Two or more family members with breast cancer, on either side of the family

Beyond BRCA genes, there are more than 30 gene mutations associated with various types of hereditary cancer. Tremendous information can be gained through genetic testing, but it’s important to work with your physician and/or a genetic counselor to ensure you pursue the right options for you.

“Genetic testing is exciting, but in no way does it reduce the need for vigilance on the more prevalent risk factors for cancer,” said Dr. Espino. “A healthy, whole food diet, regular exercise, regular mammograms and a no-smoking policy, are still by far the most critical tools for reducing the risk of all forms of cancer. Genetic testing is another tool for early intervention and managing increased risk, and should be used judiciously.”

If you meet the criteria set by the USPSTF, talk with your doctor about the best prevention and genetic testing for you. To find a primary care physician, visit

About SRMC:

Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is a 300-bed, acute-care facility located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg, VA. SRMC serves nearly 200,000 residents and boasts a medical staff of more than 380 physicians representing over 40 specialties. SRMC treats more than 60,000 patients annually in its Emergency Department and is a Level III Trauma Center. The medical center provides inpatient care for approximately 12,000 patients per year. SRMC is owned in part by physicians. For more information about SRMC and the services it provides, please visit

About Sasa-Grae Espino, Breast Surgeon

Fellowship trained in breast surgery, Dr. Sasa-Grae Espino practices at Southside Physicians Network in Petersburg.
Dr. Espino specializes in breast diseases, including the surgical treatment of breast cancer, benign diseases and managing high risk patients (genetic testing and counseling). Surgeries include biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies and
immediate breast reconstruction. She is an active member of the medical staff of Southside Regional Medical Center. For more information, visit or call 804-520-6730.

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Southside Regional Medical Center Offers CPR Training

Petersburg, VA - Southside Regional Medical Center will offer a Basic Life Support Provider CPR Training class on Wednesday, September 20 from 8:00am – 12:00pm. The class will be held in Classrooms A & B located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg. Class size is limited and the fee is $65. The registration deadline is close of business on Monday, September 18. Call 804-765-5729 to register or for more information. 

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Southside Regional Medical Center Offers FREE CPR Class

Petersburg, VA –Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is offering a FREE Friends and Family Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) class on Wednesday, June 14 from 8:00am – 12:00pm. Participants will learn how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, heart attack and choking. This CPR class is designed for those who want to learn the skills, but are not required to obtain certification in CPR for employment.

SRMC is located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg, Virginia. The class will be held in the A/B classroom. For more information and to register, call 804.765.5729.  Registration deadline is Friday, June 9. Class size is limited.

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PETERSBURG, VA – According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, almost 40% of Americans suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). And what many people don’t realize is that it can be treated. Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) offers a specialized procedure called peripheral venous stenting that can help.

Most common in individuals over the age of 50 and women who have experienced multiple pregnancies, CVI occurs when veins in the legs have difficulty sending blood back to the heart. Blood then pools in the legs, raising pressure in the veins and causing a variety of problems.

“Symptoms of CVI include heaviness, pain, swelling and discoloration of the legs,” explains Saquib Samee, MD, FACC, RPVI. “Veins that have lost their valve effectiveness become elongated, rope-like, bulged and thickened. In more severe cases of CVI, poor circulation can lead to painful ulcers on the legs and feet.”

CVI is often treated with compression stockings, elevation and weight loss. Skin ointments and pain medication can also provide some relief from symptoms. In individuals with substantial compression or blockages in their veins, however, these treatments may not be enough.

During peripheral venous stenting an ultrasound catheter is inserted into the vein through a small incision in the leg. Using imaging from the intravascular ultrasound, the physician places a stent, a mesh-like expandable metal tube, at the point where the vein is compressed or obstructed. The stent opens up the vein, allowing blood to flow normally again.

Dr. Samee, an interventional cardiologist and vascular specialist, performs this specialized procedure in the cardiac catheterization (cath) lab at SRMC’s Center for Heart and Vascular Care. “We have patients coming from as far away as Maryland and West Virginia to seek this treatment,” says Dr. Samee. “Patients tell me that they feel symptomatic relief immediately, and their ulcers are healed within weeks.”

In addition to peripheral venous stenting, the cardiac cath lab at the Center for Heart and Vascular Care offers a multitude of services and procedures, including peripheral vascular studies, pacemaker insertions, implantable cardiac defibrillator insertions, heart catheterization and interventions, and emergency heart attack care. SRMC follows the American College of Cardiology’s standards of a 90 minute door-to-balloon time, meaning that heart attack patients are being treated in the cath lab within 90 minutes of arrival in the emergency department. For individuals needing more intensive care, SRMC’s open heart surgery team is available 24 hours per day.  

Talk to your physician if you are experiencing the symptoms of CVI. To make an appointment with Dr. Samee, call the Varicose Vein & Vascular Clinic at 804.621.7262 (Colonial Heights) or 434.336.1900 (Emporia). For more information on the comprehensive services offered at the Center for Heart and Vascular Care at Southside Regional Medical Center, visit

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Free Presentation on Slip and Fall Prevention

Petersburg, VA – June is National Safety Month. Learn tips to keep yourself and your loved ones from unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

This seminar will be held on Thursday, June 25 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. at the Petersburg Family YMCA located at 120 North Madison Street in the multi-purpose room. Light refreshments will be served. There is no cost to attend and RSVP is not required.

This seminar is provided by Southside Regional Medical Center and the Petersburg Family YMCA.

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Southside Regional Medical Center Offers FREE CPR Class

Petersburg, VA – Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is offering a FREE Friends and Family Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) class on Wednesday, June 24 from 2:00pm – 6:00pm at SRMC’s campus. Participants will learn how to recognize and treat life threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, heart attack and choking. This CPR class is designed for those who want to learn the skills, but are not required to obtain certification in CPR for employment.

SRMC is located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg, Virginia. The class will be held in the A/B classroom. For more information and to register, call 804.765.5729.  Registration deadline is Friday, June 19.  Class size is limited.

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