“In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place.”

-John McCrae

 

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

 

They serve all of us…

It started as Decoration Day May 30, 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, to honor the heroes on both sides who had lost their lives by placing flowers on their graves. It would later be expanded to include lost soldiers of all wars in which Americans have fought and died and be named Memorial Day. How very fitting and wonderful is it that we honor those who serve in this way because it’s really hard to imagine braver souls than soldiers. Just across 15th Street, our Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, which our university operates for the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, is an amazing gathering of veterans still living their lives. With battle scars from war and life, they have come to our Blue Goose for care. For some, it will be their final home.

 

And sometimes… we get to help take care of them

As we have told you time and again, veterans get such great care from our colleagues there. As we speak, there are 150 men and 11 women from all branches of our military who are patients. Our youngest, at the moment, is a 53-year-old veteran of the Gulf War; our oldest a 98-year-old World War II veteran. In fact, about half of our veterans at the Blue Goose served in World War II; another large group served in Vietnam. But there are many hard-fought wars represented and many amazing individuals who helped fight them. Today, on the cusp of Memorial Day, we reiterate what a true privilege it is to help provide care to these brave souls. If you decide you want to do even more for them, we understand that volunteers always are needed for daily activities from crafts to ice cream parties. Please call Kimberly Thomas, activities director, at 706-721-2387 and she will help you make a connection that could just make your life and theirs even better.

 

They count on us…

We talk often about privilege and how one of ours is taking care of children and, of course, their families. And we are so very pleased to report that the terrific NICU and ECMO team at Children’s Hospital of Georgia are again top of the line when stakes, quite frankly, could be no higher. Our extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program, one of the first in the nation for babies in respiratory failure who cannot be helped by conventional ventilation, has one of highest survival rates in the nation, according to data from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. We particularly applaud neonatology chief Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, ECMO coordinator Linda Wise, NICU head nurse Ruth Wilson and our pediatric surgeons Drs. Robyn Hatley, Walter Pipkin and Christian Walters. We also thank again two MCG veterans, our Drs. Charles Howell and Bill Kanto, who had the courage to start this program back in 1985. Thank you all.

 

And you deliver

Speaking of neonatology, we told you earlier this month how our Dr. Brian Stansfield, Class of 2004, was honored by the Southern Society for Pediatric Research with the Clinical Science Young Investigator Award for his work on the effects of birthweight on a baby’s long-term health. Well, that fascinating study was recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics. You see there already were links made between low birthweight and later cardiovascular and other chronic disease risk by the likes of pioneers such as the late Dr. David Barker at Oregon Health & Science University. Now this next generation of heroes, including Dr. Stansfield, is further dissecting this risk with eyes on the prize of better health for children. His study of hundreds of adolescents showed that, like their high-birthweight counterparts, low-birthweight babies are at increased risk of that dangerous fat around the organs in the abdomen – called visceral adiposity – and insulin resistance. Not great news, of course, but we believe Dr. Stansfield’s work and that of others will lead to biomarkers that help identify and intervene on behalf of these children. More great going here that peaked a ton of interest, as you can imagine. Check out http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/watch/low-high-birth-weight-babies-at-higher-risk-for-cardiovascular-disease/vp-BBtnAtz andhttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160523125911.htm.

 

You share your insight… Here and well beyond

Our Dr. Carol Nichols’ eye, like so many of yours, has always been on the prize of educating great physicians. We also proudly share this week that this anatomy professor extraordinaire has been elected to a second term on the board of directors of the International Association of Medical Science Educators. Remember how we were talking just two weeks back about how you all continue to amaze us and rock! Well, Dr. Nichols earned her PhD right here in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy in 2000 and joined the faculty. She is one of those natural educators in whom you can truly sense her passion for medical education and her commitment to our medical students. In fact, she is senior director of the first-year curriculum and director of the Essentials of Clinical Medicine Course for our fabulous first years. The international educators group she helps lead has like 700 members from 25 countries that want to ensure that everybody teaching the science behind our amazing bodies to future physicians is, well, as awesome as she is. Another absolute win-win. Thank you for your service here and beyond, Dr. Nichols.

 

You never cease to learn yourself…

Better medical education at every phase was also the topic of our Statewide Faculty Development Conference that wrapped up this past weekend in joyous Jekyll Island. We had roughly 150 amazing educators, from right here at home base, and others from across our great state, who are helping educate the next generation. Technology was the ticket for this conference including cool things, like how to do iPhone-assisted physical exams and best practices in online education. This was quite an assemblage of brainpower and commitment. We absolutely would not be us without our students and our educators and will never be able to thank you, our educators, sufficiently. We do thank Academic Affairs and our Dr. Kathryn Martin, associate dean for regional campus coordination, for this informative gathering.

 

And to inspire

Finally today, we go, once again, full circle, which takes us back to a veteran of World War II. This veteran’s service included taking care of his Army colleagues. Dr. Charles Robert Ireland, an honors graduate from our Class of 1950, served in the Medical Administrative Corps during the Second World War. He would become a cardiologist who helped open the first coronary care units in Macon, was a chief of staff of several hospitals in this marvelous middle Georgia town and past president of the Bibb County Medical Society. His son, Charles Ireland Jr., shared with us how proud his dad was to graduate from MCG and that he wore his class ring until his end. His son wears it now in his honor. We don’t really know what else to say other than it is truly a privilege to be a part of lives so well lived and our very best to his family.

 

Upcoming Events

May 30 – Memorial Day Ceremony, 9 a.m., Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. Colonel Charles P. Daly, a highly decorated U.S. Army veteran with nearly 25 years of service, including a post in the Special Missions Command for the White House Communications Agency at Camp David, will give remarks. Col. Daly is currently based at Fort Gordon. The fort’s U.S. Army Signal Corps Band and Post Ceremonial Detachment Color Guard also will participate in the public ceremony.

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

Aug. 12 – New date for the State of the College address, noon, Lee Auditorium!

Nov. 4 – Body Donation Memorial Service, 1 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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

 

Have a safe and terrific Memorial Day weekend.

Leave a Reply