November 16, 2018

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Thanksgiving thanks
The holiday season is essentially on us and I have to say Thanksgiving is one of my very favorites. Anybody who knows me knows part of it is that I really love to eat. But mainly, Thanksgiving is just a great time to gather and to be grateful. I hope you know that I am very grateful to each of you. This year has been both great and difficult. I guess our world in general has been like that. But perseverance is one of things I learned from my parents and see in so many of you. Together we can do this; we can do anything.

Dr. Islam receives top educator award in interventional pulmonology
I am glad that “we” now includes Dr. Shaheen Islam, who came to us this summer as chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine in the Department of Medicine from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Islam, who started and directed the Interventional Pulmonology Fellowship program at Ohio State, has been honored with the Educator Award from the Association of Interventional Pulmonary Program Directors. His many plans for us include starting a fellowship in interventional pulmonology, an expanding subspecialty that focuses on the diagnosis and management of central airway obstruction, lung cancer and pleural diseases. Dr. Islam’s national leadership roles include chairing the Bronchoscopy Procedure Accreditation Committee of the American Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology and serving on its Interventional Pulmonology Board Certification Examination Development Committee. He also serves on the association’s board. Dr. Islam completed his interventional pulmonary fellowship as well as his pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at the Lahey Clinic. Please know that we already have a Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship program here directed by Dr. Thomas Dillard. Congratulations, thank you and welcome again, Dr. Islam. Dr. Islam clearly got off to a great start. He got an award for perfect attendance in 1977 at St. Gregory’s High School in Bangladesh and first place for his science project the next year.

Dr. Lokeshwar honored by Society for Basic Urologic Research
We also includes people like Dr. Vinata B. Lokeshwar, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, who just received the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Basic Urologic Research, Inc., or SBUR. SBUR includes scientists from the United States, Europe and Asia and Dr. Lokeshwar is an original “foot soldier” and leader of this group, including serving as president from 2012-13, during a time of transition and tough economic times, and helping organize the 8th World Basic Urological Research Congress in 2009. Dr. Lokeshwar is quite a productive basic urologic researcher herself. Her studies in metastasis of prostate, bladder and kidney cancer have been continuously funded for more than two decades. In fact, she just got two new grants, including $2.3 million from the National Cancer Institute to further explore the potential of two noninvasive urine tests to accurately diagnose and monitor bladder cancer. She also received a $608,000 grant from the Department of Defense to support these important translational studies. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among our military personnel. Congratulations on all fronts, Dr. Lokeshwar.

Dr. Lee is the new chief of cardiothoracic surgery
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Richard Lee to MCG. Our new chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery started early this month. He comes to us from St. Louis University School of Medicine, where he had co-directed the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care and served as vice chair of the Department of Surgery. He is a team builder on many fronts, including helping develop less invasive heart procedures. He is an educator and leader who has directed a thoracic surgery residency program and a cardiothoracic surgery summer program for medical students and co-chairs the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s Cardiothoracic Residents Committee. Glad you are with us Dr. Lee. Check out more here.

The regional campuses are a sellout with the Class of 2021
While we are talking medical education, our regional clinical campuses are doing just great. Second-year class associate dean, Dr. Greer Falls, tells us that this year the number of Class of 2021 students applying to spend their third and fourth years at the Southwest, Southeast or Northwest Campuses exceeded the spots we have there and that on July 1, 53 more MCG students will be living and learning across Georgia. We also now have the Dalton Cohort, where students can line up four rotations in a row and live in that beautiful city while they are learning. Our first two students are there right now including Dalton native Chris Williamson and Hanzhou Li. We definitely thank Hamilton Medical Center up that way for opening their doors to our students and Dr. Deidre Pierce, director of the new internal medicine residency program starting there soon, and Dr. Laura Conger, who heads up the hospitalist group, who have been instrumental in getting this off the ground. Thank you Georgia. This is why we say: Georgia is our Campus.

Southeast Campus gets Star Award from AAMC
Here is more evidence of the rock star status of our regional campuses. The Southeast Campus based in Savannah and Brunswick, led by associate dean Dr. Wayne Rentz, a 1972 MCG graduate, and Dr. Frances Purcell, assistant dean for curriculum, has received the 2018 Star Award for Community Achievement from the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Regional Medical Campuses. Our Southeast Campus has the first student unit of the Medical Association of Georgia Medical Reserve Corps, which is the only statewide medical reserve corps in the nation and works alongside the Department of Public Health and FEMA as part of the state medical disaster response team. An important BTW here is that the Southeast Campus group is helping our other regional campuses develop similar student units. The AAMC’s Star of Community Achievement award goes to a campus that has clearly impacted its community and serves as a model for positive transformational change. It is great that the AAMC recognized our campus for work that clearly does both.

Cancer Research Building Grand Opening set for Dec. 3
The grand opening of the M. Bert Storey Cancer Research Building of the Georgia Cancer Center has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. Our guests for this great day will include most of the folks we talked about before a hurricane waylaid the original October date. They include University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley; Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal; Augustan and USG Board Chair Jim Hull; and Barry Storey, the son of the building’s namesake. As always, our most honored guest is our patient, Kim Gauldin, who also will speak. I get to welcome everyone at 10 a.m. and the ribbon cutting happens at 11:05 a.m.

Upcoming Events

Nov. 30 – Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Dec. 7 – AU Alumni Holiday Drop-in, 6-8 p.m., Maxwell Alumni House, Summerville Campus.

2019 Events

Jan. 24 – AU All Alumni Savannah Reception, 6 p.m., Chatham Club.

Jan. 25 – Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Feb. 19 – MCG Alumni Association Board meeting, 3:30 p.m., and Macon Regional Reception, 6 p.m., both at the Idle Hour Country Club.

Feb. 22 – Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

March 7 – MCG Alumni Association Gainesville Regional Reception, 6 p.m., Northeast Georgia History Center.

March 15 – Match Day, noon, Christenberry Fieldhouse.

March 29 – Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 26-28 – Alumni Weekend, Dean’s Reception, 6 p.m., April 26, Harrison Commons.

May 9 – Hooding ceremony.

May 24 – Faculty Senate, noon, location TBD.

June 21 – Faculty Senate, noon, location TBD.

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