“We must engage directly with the people we serve.”

-Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Pricilla Chan

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

A Heart and Mind… for Children
The holidays, in fact most days, pull our thoughts to children, who are our hope, our future, and frankly one of the purest reasons for each of us doing the right thing each day. Some of us who are privileged to call this medical school home, also are privileged regularly to be a part of the lives and futures of children and their families through our Children’s Hospital of Georgia. This past week, our youngest patients and their families, in an amazing partnership with our city’s radio stations, WBBQ 104.3, KISS 96.3 and G105.7 FM shared amazing stories of hope, help and strength during the 15th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon. Real-life stories these were, like Ami’s, who had her first seizure while still in an orphanage in China. She is the youngest of Marjorie and Kenneth St. Johns’ seven children. And, as they welcomed her into their large, loving home in Milledgeville, Ga., the seizures became more frequent until eventually they overtook Ami’s days and appeared to have taken her.

Colleagues and a Community… Who Absolutely Do as Well
Pediatric neurologist Dr. Yong Park and Neurosurgeon Dr. Cole Giller and a whole team of caregivers throughout our children’s hospital, like so many of you, made a huge difference for this child and this family. When she woke up in our PICU after seizure surgery, Ami told her mom: “I’m done. I want to go home.” Getting folks home and living life is absolutely what you and our children’s hospital are about. The fact that every day you, our faculty and staff, have the tremendous opportunity and privilege to help improve the life of a child and a family is truly inspiring. But then, so are each of you. Please take a few moments to truly celebrate the work you do for children and their families. Please join as well in thanking our community for its enthusiastic, ongoing support for children and for our iHeart radio station partners who share their passion, talent and quite literally their air time with us. What invaluable commodities are all of the above. Did you know that the radiothon is the single, largest fundraiser for our children’s hospital? This year this huge community commitment raised $205,000 for our children’s hospital. We must say “wow” again and thank you again as well to our children’s hospital’s leadership and fundraising teams, particularly Jim Mumford, Kim Basso and Development Officer Catherine Stewart.

Students That Proudly Define our Future…
They might not be professional fundraisers but our students also absolutely know an amazing effort that deserves their full support when they see one. In fact, our Class of 2018 early on adopted our children’s hospital as their class charity. How is that for another winning combination! Examples of their projects include a monthly gathering to make ornaments for patients’ IV poles, organized by Carmen Collins; and the first-ever Downtown Dozen fundraising 5K and 10K race that was held in October and included a break in the middle of the run to eat a dozen doughnuts, organized by Cole Phillips. This Christmas, they will donate more than $1,000 worth of toys for our smallest patients and deliver them this very Monday at 1 p.m. That effort has been led by Trace Browne, the class’s community VP, who says, “We think it’s important to take a second and think about what this time of year means. We learn every day about the amazing things that we will one day be able to do for our patients as physicians, but right now we have the opportunity to help put a smile on the faces of patients and their families.” No doubt, Trace. You may even have put a smile on a dean!

Leaders… Who Proudly Do the Same
While we are on this roll of the joy of giving to children, we wanted to make sure you saw this amazing piece. It’s an open, poignant letter – see http://bit.ly/1YFEbTC – from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Pricilla Chan, to their new baby, Max. Like most of us parents, they express their desire for their child’s world to be even better than their own. They are not talking about just her immediate space, but truly global issues such as advancing human potential and promoting equality. About a world with personalized learning and 100 percent access to the information lifeline of the internet. About strong communities and healthy childhoods. About curing the things that kill most of us like cancer and cardiovascular disease. They are establishing the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help accomplish these deeds. But they rightly note that all their Facebook colleagues have a part in this plan for a better tomorrow for Max and for all children. Sound familiar? It should, because you all are part of a 187-year legacy of making this world a better place for children and families and we could not be more proud.

A Legacy… With No Limit
You know that legacy, like the love of a terrific parent, has no term limit. As we look toward 2016, here are a couple of examples of how it – and you – just keep going and doing. When the new year rings, it will find our Dr. Clinton Webb as the associate editor of the American Journal of Hypertension! Dr. Webb came to us about 16 years ago from the University of Michigan. He has served a ton of leadership roles nationally in his time with us, including serving on the editorial board and as a guest editor for the journal Hypertension. He’s on the editorial board of Cardiovascular Diabetology, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Vascular Pharmacology, Current Hypertension Reviews, Current Cardiology Reviews, Journal of the American Society of Hypertension….well, the list just goes on and you get the idea that so does his span of knowledge and impact! Dr. Webb has gotten top awards at home and nationally as well, such as the 2013 Irvine Page and Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Heart Association’s Council for High Blood Pressure Research. We thank him and salute him for his enduring contributions here and beyond.

A Commitment… And Future…
Dr. Jie Chen, who came to us just last year as a Professor of Statistics, has been appointed to a three-year term as the American Statistical Association representative to the Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences. The joint committee is a committee of the American Mathematical Society and a joint committee of eight mathematical and statistical societies. Whew, you might have to be a math genius just to figure that out, but we are glad someone did because these great groups are coming together for a great cause: to enhance opportunities for women in mathematical and statistical sciences. Dr. Chen joins this prestigious group in February. Our Dr. Chen was elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association about the same time she was coming to us, in August 2014. She is associate editor of Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and Journal of Probability and Statistical Science. By the by, she is director of graduate programs for our Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Great job on all of the above and truly great days ahead!

With No Bounds…
Our president sure tells us that. We hope most of you were able to hear President Brooks Keel earlier this week talk about the great future ahead for our university and medical school. Our Health Sciences Campus will be a focus of growth, including the welcome addition of more undergraduate students as the College of Science and Mathematics comes on down The Hill, and construction of state-of-the-art housing, which will give us a more cohesive campus feel. Thank you for your leadership, Dr. Keel, as we move forward on these and many other initiatives.

That and You… Are the Medical College of Georgia
And finally today, our Liaison Committee on Medical Education Mock Site visit wrapped up Tuesday. It proved super helpful and great preparation for the actual visit Jan. 24-27. Well over 100 individuals participated in the mock visit, including our amazing students and faculty, and we absolutely thank them for their commitment to and passion for their medical school. Again, this comprehensive review has been and will be terrific for the medical school and we look forward to our actual site visit next month.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

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

Jan. 22 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Jan. 24-27 – LCME Site visit

Feb. 1 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

Feb. 11 – Augusta University Day at the Capitol.

Feb. 18 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting and Awards Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Feb. 25 – MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, Macon, Idle Hour Country Club, 3:30 p.m., Regional reception, 6 p.m.

March 4 – The Alan Roberts Memorial Lecture, noon-1 p.m., Lee Auditorium, Kathy Kinlaw, Director of Emory University’s Program on Health Science and Ethics.

March 7 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

March 18 – Match Day, location TBD!

March 25 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

April 15 – MCG Alumni Association sponsors the Raft Debate, Harrison Education Commons.

April 29 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend. On April 29, Department of Neurosurgery 60th anniversary lunch and CME, noon-4 p.m., BI3079; MCG Dean’s Reception, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Education Commons followed by MCG Alumni Association Banquet, 6:30 p.m., also at the Harrison Education Commons. April 30, MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, 9:30 a.m., Harrison Education Commons; President’s Cookout, noon-2 p.m., at president’s home, Twin Gables, 920 Milledge Road; MCG Class Reunions, starting at 6:30 at the Augusta Marriott for Classes of 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. May 1, MCG Emeritus Club Breakfast, Augusta University Alumni Center on 15th St., 9:30 a.m.; Memorial Service, 10:30 a.m., Alumni Center.

May 6 – Dean’s State of the College Address, noon, Lee Auditorium.

May 12 – Hooding 2016, Keynote speaker, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, President, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, 2 p.m.

May 13 – Graduation, 2 p.m., Civic Center

Have a wonderful weekend.

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