June 2, 2023

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Faculty development conference focuses on enhancing MCG educational experiences

I’ve been known to say often that part of MCG’s secret sauce is our statewide educational model, allowing us to educate future physicians for Georgia, across Georgia. From our second four-year campus in Athens in collaboration with our great partners at the University of Georgia, and our soon to be third four-year campus in Savannah in partnership with Georgia Southern University, to our clinically focused regional campuses in Rome/Dalton, Albany and Savannah/Brunswick. Our students experience the full spectrum of medicine — from small town solo practices to complex care hospitals — and they experience it in every corner of the state. While our campus is statewide, we all have a singular focus and are united in our mission to educate the next generation and provide more physicians for Georgia — physicians it so desperately needs. As we speak, I am joining our educational partners from across the state at our annual Faculty Development Conference in Jekyll Island. The goal of this important gathering is to learn from each other, provide support to our many faculty and teaching partners and identify how we can all continue to work together to enhance our educational model and produce the well-prepared physicians MCG is known for.

State Rep. Butch Parrish, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and others will join us to support the state’s only public medical school

In addition to our own faculty, we are also honored to be joined by State Rep. Butch Parrish, chair of the House Special Committee on Healthcare, and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, who serves on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Health, both of whom continue to be great advocates for MCG. You’ll remember that Rep. Parrish, along with House Speaker Jon Burns and other Georgia legislators, was a huge proponent of the impending establishment of our four-year campus in Savannah. Rep. Carter also recently helped secure $1 million in federal funding for our Center for Telehealth. I am thankful to them both for their interest in and ongoing support of MCG. More than 150 attendees, including our clinical faculty and hospital partners, are also here getting updates on a wide variety of topics like how we can all best prepare for our upcoming accreditation visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, including a presentation by Dr. Lanita Carter, director of medical education and student services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who’s sharing lessons learned from UAB’s 2022 LCME site visit. We’re also hearing about things like best practices when it comes to teaching medical students and residents and available resources, like tax incentives for volunteer faculty. Please let me thank here, Dr. Kathryn Martin, our associate dean for regional campus coordination, and Dr. Ned Pruitt, our assistant dean for clinical integration, who are co-directors of this year’s conference, as well as the countless others who worked so hard to bring us all together in support of MCG’s educational mission.

New associate dean for faculty development joining us in August

I believe that faculty development — offering ongoing training opportunities, like those happening this week in Jekyll Island, that are designed to help faculty to be the best medical educators they can be — is a vital part of ensuring that we are providing the top-notch education our students deserve. I am excited to share that Dr. Michelle M. Krupp, who is the associate dean for education at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, will join MCG in mid-August and help us grow those efforts here as the new associate dean for faculty development. In this role, she will design, facilitate, implement and evaluate things like faculty orientation and onboarding, as well as training and service and professional development opportunities. Dr. Krupp is an accomplished health professions educator who has worked in both medical and dental education settings and who has extensive skills not just in faculty development and support, but also curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and the design of innovative instruction techniques. I look forward to her bringing those skills to MCG and to helping ensure that you, our amazing faculty, have opportunities to thrive and continue to grow as the skilled, dedicated and passionate educators you are. My thanks and appreciation also go to Dr. Ralph Gillies, who has supported our faculty in this role for the last seven years.

Dr. David Munn named Regents’ Professor

Speaking of skilled, dedicated and passionate faculty, I want to share that Dr. David Munn, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and MCG graduate, who also is co-director of our Pediatric Immunotherapy Program, was recently named a Regents’ Professor by the University System of Georgia. These prestigious appointments are awarded to system faculty whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized both nationally and internationally as innovative and pacesetting. Dr. Munn surely fits that bill. He has dedicated his impressive over 30-year career here to finding novel ways to advance the treatment of cancer, including a discovery by he and Dr. Andrew Mellor, a molecular geneticist and immunologist, that the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, or IDO, is one way a fetus avoids detection by its mother’s immune system. The discovery that tumors also use IDO to avoid detection eventually led to the creation of IDO inhibitors, which today are in clinical trials for children whose brain cancer has relapsed. Dr. Munn is principal investigator on three active RO1 grants and has, for 20 years, received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health. His current grant support exceeds $1.5 million annually and his work has led to the development of 12 US patents. Impressive and inspiring work. Congratulations and well-deserved, Dr. Munn.

New faculty member in Immunology Center of Georgia receives award from top journal

Like Dr. Munn, faculty in our Immunology Center of Georgia, are laser focused on better understanding our immune system and how it enables good health, but conversely, contributes to major killers like cancer and heart disease. One of our newest faculty members in the IMMCG is Dr. Adil Rasheed, whose work is focused on how to mitigate the inflammatory processes that promote plaque development in coronary artery disease and developing new therapies for this number one killer worldwide. Dr. Rasheed is now being recognized for his work as the 2022 recipient of the STEM CELLS Translational Medicine Young Investigator Award. Launched in 2013, the award fosters advancements in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine by honoring a young researcher who served as the principal author of an article published in the journal that, over the course of a year, is deemed to have the most impact and that pushes the boundaries of novel and insightful research. You can read his award-winning article here. Congratulations, Dr. Rasheed. I know your important work will continue to make an impact on our understanding of the disease that kills nearly 700,000 people each year in the United States alone.

Department of Family and Community Medicine to host first research and editing fellow

Finally today, I want to welcome another recent addition to MCG. Dr. Jacqueline Baker Britz, a family medicine physician and experienced community-based researcher, has been selected as the first American Board of Family Medicine Research and Editing Fellow. You’ll remember that our Department of Family and Community Medicine chair Dr. Dean Seehusen is deputy editor of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, one of the foremost journals in the field, which relocated its editorial offices to MCG in 2020. This new, two-year, part-time fellowship is designed to provide experience to family medicine faculty with interests in evidence-based medicine, clinical research and medical editing. Dr. Britz currently serves as director of scholarship and research for Virginia Commonwealth University and Community Memorial Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program. She also is co-director of the Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network, a practice-based research network that works to improve primary care through research that spans the gamut of health care — health IT, the social determinants of health, health disparities, specific chronic and acute conditions and patient/physician communication to list a few. At VCU, her research addresses things like Medicaid expansion, identifying communities that have had positive outcomes with regard to opioid use and linking patients with resources that can help improve the management of their chronic diseases. Dr. Britz sounds like a perfect fit for this fellowship and for the department that recently changed its name to reflect its mission of service to the surrounding community and the state of Georgia. It is a mission that I know the department shares with all of us at the state’s only public medical school. My thanks to you all for your tireless efforts to improve the health of Georgia and this nation.

My best to you always,

Dean Hess Signature

David C. Hess, MD

Dean, Medical College of Georgia

Upcoming Events

Jun 13 – MCG Faculty Awards Ceremony, 5 p.m., Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium

Jun 16 – MCG Faculty Senate Meeting, noon, Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium