Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Marvelous Match Day…

We promised some excitement on this first day of spring and boy did our students deliver. We are thinking you may have heard the roar of the jungle around noontime today (the students’ fun theme for this exceedingly important day in their careers was “Welcome to the Jungle.”)  There was a 97.7 percent match rate among our 220 lions, tigers, and bears at Match Day 2015! This includes 181 students from our home base here and 39 seniors at our Athens campus. Our stellar students matched in residency programs in 18 different specialties in 35 states, a terrific indicator of their competitiveness nationally, and, we are equally happy to report that 30 percent of our class will stay in Georgia, with us as well as other stellar training programs in our state. In fact, there’s a 67 percent increase in students who will stay in our state for their first postgraduate year and – drumroll please – a 100 percent increase in the number that will remain for their second postgraduate year and beyond. Did we mention that 20 percent of our class is staying right here!

Stellar Students and Educators…

This marvelous Match Day is a tribute to so, so many. Of course our students, as well as the families that support them, are always at the top of any list. But we must also thank our amazing educators who keep their doors open to our students and help them realize their full potential. That is what a great medical school is about and so much the reason that our school – your school – has a long, proud history of excellence in educating the next generation. Our particular thanks on this day to Drs. Kim Halbur, Paul Wallach, Lynette Bauza, Greer Falls, Eric Lewkowiez, Kathryn Martin, Leonard Reeves, T. Wayne Rentz, and Granville Simmons in Augusta and at our regional clinical campuses, and to Drs. Barbara Schuster, Shelley Nuss, Karen Prasse, and Scott Richardson in Athens. We also want to thank the countless numbers of individuals who have worked tirelessly over this year to make our own residency programs even more enticing. Once again, with a lineup such as this, how can we do anything but roar!

Amazing Alums…

As we share so often, our alumni are truly amazing individuals. Meet one more. Dr. Donald Martin Gilner is a 1964 graduate of our school whose 37-year career in allergy-immunology includes retiring as a U.S. Air Force Colonel and from a busy private practice in the Atlanta area. He also recently made the decision to include his medical school in his will, providing an unrestricted gift, which means our foundation, in consult with us, can decide how best to use his gift. Our foundation tells us that the vast majority of our gifts are to support specific programs, scholarships, research, the hospital, and a myriad of the other activities of a medical school. We love and appreciate every gift and the amazing individuals, such as Dr. Gilner, who give them.

Students Who Successfully Compete… With Anyone

Back to our fabulous current students for a moment. Four of our students have been awarded a National Health Service Corps Scholarship for their commitment to primary care. The absolute winners are first-years Carmen Collins and Matthew Rivera and second years Stacie Gilmore and Aaron Purser. But actually, this is another real win-win. They get tuition, fees, other educational costs, and a stipend, and they commit to work for at least two years providing primary care to an underserved community after finishing residency. We know our students are the best but we wanted to also share that less than 15 percent of more than a 1,000 applicants were scholarship recipients. Our complete congratulations – and thanks – to ours.

And Will Help Make… A Difference

We think it’s worth a follow up here that, earlier this month, an Association of American Medical Colleges-commissioned report indicated that physician demand continues to grow faster than the supply. Even with projected modest increases in physician numbers, the physician supply will increase about 9 percent (considering variables like retirement and hours worked) between now and 2025, while demand is projected to grow 11-17 percent, with population growth and aging accounting for most of that (14 percent). Figuring in a bunch of relevant, likely factors such as growth in integrated care delivery models, primary care shortfalls will range between 12,500 and 31,100 physicians by 2025 and the report indicates that the shortfall of non-primary care docs could reach between 28,200 and 63,700. Clearly there is plenty of work for us all and we thank each of you for being part of the solution. See http://bit.ly/1DTZGWJ.

Faculty Who Absolutely… Do the Same

While we are sharing interesting facts, did you know that we are one of only 17 centers of excellence in our nation for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, or HHT, and that our Dr. James Gossage is Director of our center as well as Medical Director of Cure HHT, an international foundation to do just what the name implies? This condition basically means patients are more likely to develop arteriovenous malformations, where the connection between some arteries and veins is not quite right. Patients can experience significant nose bleeds, enough to require transfusions, and worse.  With an obvious commitment to making life better for patients with this rare genetic condition, Dr. Gossage is part of a study looking at whether a cancer drug known to keep terrible tumors from growing blood vessels can help. Awesome work, Dr. Gossage. We thank you for being such a terrific patient advocate. See http://bit.ly/1FEA5CZ.

You Are… The Medical College of Georgia!

As we sign off today, we wanted to revisit Advocacy Day for just a minute, actually for 2:24 minutes. We hate that everyone can’t join in on this annual sojourn to our state capitol to learn more about how our government works and for our government to learn more about Georgia’s public medical school, but thanks once again to the talents of video-making super stars Jared Bell and Tim Johnson, we can at least give you a peak! Check it out:  https://vimeo.com/122145367

Upcoming Events

March 23-27 – 4th Annual Come Out for Health Week at GRU. Check out all events here, http://gruequality.weebly.com/come-out-4-health-week.html or call the MCG Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs at 706-721-2522.

April 17 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

April 17 – Raft Debate, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association, 6 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

April 18 – MedWar, the Southeast Medical Wilderness Adventure Race, tests your physical fitness and medical knowledge, see http://www.active.com/augusta-ga/adventure-racing/races/southeast-medwar-2015.

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend.

April 28 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

May 1 – State of the Medical College of Georgia address, noon, Lee Auditorium, lunch provided.

May 4 – MCG Graduation Dinner, 6:30 p.m., location to be determined.

May 7 – Hooding Ceremony, 2-4 p.m., The Augusta Convention Center, 901 Reynolds St., (New location!), Dr. James L. Olds, Assistant Director for the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), the National Science Foundation.

May 8 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

May 14 – MCG Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony, 5 p.m., location to be determined.

June 25 – MCG Investiture Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., location to be determined.

July 14 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Oct. 27 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Jan. 12 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

A happy first weekend of spring!

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