Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Carilion seeks teen volunteers for autism study

Carilion Clinic is seeking volunteers ages 13 to 17 for a study on an experimental treatment for autism spectrum disorder.

Carilion is one of 25 locations worldwide taking part in The Tapestry Study , a clinical trial researching an experimental treatment designed to isolate certain gut-derived bacterial metabolites and reduce their ability to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain. The trial, which is based on increasing evidence of a link between gut bacteria and the brain, looks at the potential benefits, safety, and tolerability of a powder medication (AB-2004) in participants between the ages 13 to 17.

AB-2004 is a tasteless and odorless powder medication that is mixed with soft food three times a day. This study aims to assess whether lowering key gut bacterial metabolites levels can improve irritability in children with ASD. It also seeks to determine the most effective therapeutic dose.

“It’s exciting to participate in pursuing medical advances such as AB-2004,” said Dr. Anita Kablinger, primary investigator and director of clinical research for Carilion’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, in a statement. “Many children with autism spectrum disorder experience more gastrointestinal inflammation than neurotypical kids. This study hopes to build on previous research to reduce the gut’s contribution to irritability symptoms caused in the brain.”  

The study requires eligible participants to meet the following requirements:

  • 13 to 17 years of age
  • Clinically diagnosed and documented ASD
  • Stable therapeutic regimen for at least 30 days prior to screening visit
  • Not currently using antipsychotic medications

Researchers are seeking participants now. For more information on the Tapestry Study visit

(Disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.)

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P&H awarded grant to reach at-risk minority students

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has awarded Patrick & Henry Community College $70,00 to launch a new initiative intended to address stop-out rates of at-risk minority populations.

The project’s funding comes through the Collaborative Equitable-Attainment Grant offered by SCHEV. With the funding, P&HCC will partner with Ferrum College to implement a pilot intervention strategy to help African American males stay in college. Both institutions will hire dedicated personnel to connect at-risk students with resources like tutoring, an on-campus food pantry, scholarships for emergency or school-related expenses, mental health counseling, and more.

At P&HCC, earlier work with similar intervention strategies produced a 30% increase in completion rates for students in two-year programs. Ferrum College also saw increases in retention after implementing early alert systems that identified at-risk students. However, from this prior work, the colleges discovered the need to bridge the gap between identifying at-risk students and ensuring that these students obtain and utilize the available resources. That is where dedicated personnel will come in. If this pilot proves effective, both campuses plan to expand the pilot to other at-risk student groups in order to continue to address attainment gaps among the two student bodies.

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Kaitlin Oldham (center). Courtesy of Danville Community College.

Danville Community College recognizes nursing student

On May 12, Danville Community College hosted its annual Nursing Graduate Pinning Ceremony. During the ceremony which recognizes graduates of the DCC Nursing Program for their dedication and hard work, nursing faculty presented a student with the first ever ‘DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students’ to Kaitlin Oldham. She was nominated for the award by Nursing Instructor Shelby Rigsby.  

The Washington state-based DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by members of the family of Patrick Barnes, who died of complications of the auto-immune disease ITP.  His family created The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses to honor nurses who go above and beyond and make extraordinary differences in patients and families experiences in healthcare.  

“With just weeks away from her due date, Kaitlin cared for a very elderly patient who was fearful and afraid,” the nomination for Oldham said. “Kaitlin provided this patient with a level of comfort and security, and because of this the patient was regularly begging for Kaitlin’s presence. Kaitlin put aside her free time to accompany this patient to her procedure so that she wouldn’t be afraid. Afterwards, this patient asked for Kaitlin by name each week. She made a deep impact in this patient’s care and life but this is just one example. Her kind heart, determination, and dedication to nursing will make a difference in every patient she encounters during her nursing career.” 

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Campbell County awards two grants to businesses

Campbell County Economic Development has awarded two grants for $5,000 each through the Start Small Campbell Grant Program to local businesses recently established in Campbell County: The Bagel and I restaurant on Timberlake Road and Prestige Kennel and Pet Services on Leesville Road.

Start Small Campbell Grant Program is competitive grant geared toward any new business employing 200 people or less and starting business for the first time in Campbell County. Applications are reviewed quarterly with four grants awarded each year. To be eligible, applicants must submit an application, a business plan, and complete at least two Start Smart Programs through the Small Business Development Center – Lynchburg Region (SBDC).

The SBDC-Lynchburg Region offers these programs regularly for local businesses. Business owners that are interested in taking Start Smart Training in conjunction with applying for the Start Small Campbell Grant Program can take advantage of several upcoming online trainings:

The application deadline for consideration in the next cycle of the Start Small Campbell Grant program is July 1.