“We have all been warmed by fires we did not build. We all have drunk from wells we did not dig.”

-Dr. Joseph E. Murray, 1990 Nobel Prize Winner

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

 

A living legend… among us…

She was at the table this week as discussions were ongoing about how to properly acknowledge the upcoming 50th anniversary of the desegregation of our medical school.  She has been at the table for 70 years. “She” is the compelling, engaging, insightful, super-accomplished (and fun) Dr. Lois T. Ellison. She was one of four female students at our medical school when she started, one of three to graduate in 1950. She would join our faculty, and develop and direct our cardiopulmonary laboratory. She would become an established research fellow and investigator for the Georgia Heart Association and receive a highly prized research career award from the National Heart Institute. She would become our associate dean for curriculum and the university’s provost. She would serve as president of the American Lung Association and receive that group’s highest honor for her contributions to preventing and controlling lung disease. She would oversee a huge expansion of our clinical facilities. She would become our medical historian in residence. Certainly there is only one Dr. Lois T. Ellison in this wide world and we could not be more proud that she is ours. We thank Georgia Senators Bill Cowsert of Athens, William T. Ligon Jr. of Brunswick and Dr. Ben Watson – from our Class of 1985! – of Savannah for honoring our Dr. Ellison this week in the state Capitol for her lasting contributions to medical education, to research and to patients and for preserving our history. We thank Dr. Ellison for allowing us to be such an integral part of her history. Please check out this super cool Instagram from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle:https://www.instagram.com/p/BBqKcQBOHwE/.

 

A promising future ahead…

Dr. Ellison was rightfully honored Thursday amid our university’s Day at the Capitol. We just have to also note that in her usual gracious style, her comments there were to say what a privilege it was to go to MCG, especially when other universities weren’t accepting women. She also said how proud the state should be to have the medical college. We absolutely agree with Dr. Ellison (and usually do)! It was pretty much a great day in Atlanta with a large contingent from our university and medical school talking with and learning from our state lawmakers. From the Senate floor, our president, Dr. Brooks Keel eloquently expressed a similar sentiment about our university and our medical school: We have campuses in Rome, Savannah, Brunswick, Albany and a partnership (in Athens), so quite literally, the entire state of Georgia is our campus.  Indeed Dr. Keel, and thank you for your support. Our thanks to Dr. Walt Moore as well, who hosted a dozen or so of our students with the American College of Physicians. He is currently governor of the Georgia Chapter! His group was part of important discussions on subjects including Medicaid, legislative priorities as well as why, as physicians, we should also be involved with the legislative process. That was also an important topic at our Medical Association of Georgia-sponsored lunch with still more students. We were privileged to hear from, among others, MAG president Dr. John Harvey, a 1978 graduate. He encouraged our students to become involved and absolutely told it straight when he said: If you’re not at the table, you end up on the table. Hopefully we are safe on that because, like Dr. Ellison, our students and you are at so many important tables.  “I noticed when a classmate was talking with a legislator today, the legislator was taking notes,” said third-year student Shanti Bhatia who spent time with the ACP. “They actually listened. We made a difference today.” Absolutely!

 

Educators who absolutely know their stuff…

Certainly the National Board of Medical Examiners is a very important table for medical schools and for the profession of medicine. Well this super group, which provides high-quality assessments for the health professions, just sent us a nice reminder of the folks from here who are leaders there. See what we are talking about! Dr. Paul Wallach, our vice dean who hopefully has gotten some rest after leading our recent, all-important LCME site visit, is in the second year of his second, two-year term as an at-large member of the NBME Executive Board. He has helped with test development and other important happenings at the NBME for 20 years and is currently on, count ‘em, six related committees! Now that is some staying/doing power.

 

And share their insight…

Speaking of which, our Dr. Andy Albritton, senior associate dean for curriculum, is our medical school’s liaison to the NBME – which means he quite literally keeps us electronically connected to them and helps address any issues that arise with NBME and the related United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE! Dr. Albritton has been around these parts a while. He did his internal medicine residency with us, was in private practice about five years, then came back to us in 1990 as clerkship director and director of student education for our Department of Medicine. Flash forward and he would become our senior associate dean for curriculum.  Well, not surprisingly, with the NBME he is also an executive chief proctor with responsibility for NBME examinations at our school. While most tests are not super fun, they are an absolutely essential gauge of learning. Our third-year students take an NBME exam at the end of each required core clerkship – those are in pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, ob-gyn, psychiatry and surgery – and fourth-years take them after their required clerkships in areas like emergency and ambulatory medicine. We thank Drs. Wallach and Albritton yet again for their leadership at our medical school and with the NBME!

 

Right here… and well beyond…

When we are on these leadership rolls, we often find ourselves talking about Dr. Jim Rawson, our radiology chair. One of his many leadership roles is chairing the American College of Radiology Committee on Government and Regulatory Issues in Academic Radiology. Well he, along with Dr. Sumir Patel – who finished his radiology residency here in 2014 and is now on the neuroradiology faculty at Emory University – and our fabulous faculty member Dr. Norman Thomson, have helped this prestigious group develop some online training modules that help radiology training programs across the nation meet Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements for quality. Hard to argue with that. Well Dr. Rawson did a piece about quality and value, Dr. Patel waxes poetic on the Theory of Constraints – that is stuff like aggravating bottlenecks and how we get rid of them! We like that he uses rubber ducks as a terrific way to bring this concept to life. Dr. Thomson talks about root cause analysis of tough situations such as sentinel events, which is important, not for placing blame, but for identifying and addressing issues. Check the lot of them out here, http://www.acr.org/Education/e-Learning/Quality-Lectures-Series.  We appreciate them sharing their insight, which is clearly widely applicable to pretty much anything we do. Nice job.

 

Faculty and staff… Who are amazing neighbors and community leaders…

Our Dr. Laura Stepleman, a psychologist and amazing community, good-health advocate, is teaming up with the CSRA Equality Clinic for the first-ever health needs assessment for the local LGBT community. Dr. Stepleman says the results will be used to garner important information that we’ll then use to create more inclusive university, health care, and community practices, policies and programs. Certainly an important endeavor given that studies have repeatedly shown that members of the LGBT community still experience bias among some physicians. And, because of prior experiences or an expectation of poor treatment, many decline to reveal their sexual orientation to their health care providers – despite that being an important and integral part of their health care. LGBT patients are also more likely to have difficulty accessing health care because they are less likely to have access to insurance. This important survey is anonymous and takes less than 20 minutes to finish. Please help provide valuable insight by checking it out here: www.equalitysurveycsra.com.

 

Students who give their time…  When it’s hard to believe they have any…

Once again we find ourselves back to our students, who, just in case you have not noticed, are an absolute favorite topic at any of our tables! Of course, with ourstudents, how could that not be the case? Well, per their amazing usual, just last week, 17 of our second-year medical students volunteered a collective 75.5 hours to help judge science projects at CT Walker Magnet School, just down the road from us. They collectively judged 68 projects – cool topics like which diapers hold the most water and how goldfish never forget – and provided a valuable service to the students at this Richmond County magnet school. Then 10 of our students helped take on science fair judging at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School, which is absolutely also our neighbor. Our students are clearly terrific living – and smiling – examples for these young students. They all took the time to write individualized comments, both complimentary and constructive, that likely further encouraged some future physicians and scientists. In fact, hopefully, some of the clearly amazing students at CT Walker and AR Johnson will one day be our amazing students as well. Our thanks as well to Denise Kornegay our associate dean of Area Health Education Centers and executive program director of the Georgia Statewide AHEC network, for organizing these important efforts.

 

Graduates who make a difference… In our world.

Finally today we wanted to share that another one of our fine graduates who has devoted his life to MCG and to medicine, next week assumes the presidency of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine. Dr. Joseph Hobbs is a 1974 graduate of our school, who, like Dr. Ellison, has privileged us with his presence ever since. Thursday he gives his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Association. We know that prestigious group could not be in better hands. So we close today where we started and where inquiring minds want to be: with absolute proof of the impact of you and our medical school.

 

Upcoming Events

 

Black History Month – Please visit http://www.augusta.edu/diversity/bhm/events.phpfor a full schedule.

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, noon, Harrison Commons.

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 60thanniversary 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., Bell Auditorium.

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

June 16 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

June 17 – Southwest Campus 10th Anniversary Gala, location to follow!

Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Have a super cool (pun intended) weekend!

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