It takes a whole village to raise a child

“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” -African proverb

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

An Amazing New Home-Away-From Home…

Wow definitely describes the amazing new Ronald McDonald House just steps away from our children’s hospital, which had its ribbon cutting yesterday and will be open to families Jan. 19. Like our children’s hospital, this 25,500-square foot, 22-bedroom facility was built from the ground up with this important mission in mind. It replaces the historic home on Greene Street that has served families for 31 years. The success of both is a true testament to the commitment of our community to children and to the amazing staff who, under the leadership of Betts Murdison, take care of people 24-7 and love it. Like so many of you, they do a truly stellar job for these families, providing invaluable support and service when it’s needed most. Ms. Murdison summed it up well for the crowd gathered in yesterday’s cold: We did it you guys! You certainly did.

For the Families of Hospitalized Children…

We can’t talk about this fabulous new facility without talking about our Dr. Charles Howell, who along with his wife Debbie, co-chaired the fundraising campaign with Braye and Tori Boardman. Dr. Howell and Debbie are just inspirational leaders, always, exuding a sense of community and commitment. But they absolutely went the extra mile for this fabulous new home-away-from-home for the families of hospitalized children. Dr. Howell, a 1973 graduate of our dear medical school, is, as most of you likely know, a pediatric surgeon who simply will not take “no” for an answer when it comes to children. And he wasn’t about to start on this project. Dr. Howell said yesterday that he had the new house as well as the children’s hospital on his bucket list. Check, check!

A Great New Clinical Research Unit… For Children as Well

Speaking of amazing efforts for children, please join me in thanking Dr. Martha Tingen for taking a leadership role in the terrific effort that has yielded the beautiful new Children’s Research Unit just off the fifth floor lobby of our children’s hospital. You can check it out next week, Wednesday, Jan. 14, during a drop in reception from noon-2 p.m.; a few comments about this fabulous new facility will be shared at 12:15. We encourage you to take a few moments out of your busy schedule to join in.

A Terrific First Week for Students and Faculty… In Our New Building

While we are talking pride and beautiful new facilities, as promised our students are officially learning in the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons as of this week. Our Dr. Chris White gave one of the first lectures, an overview of pediatric immunizations to our second-year students in one of the huge 300-seat classrooms. Dr. White used the word “beautiful” more than once describing the setting and he really liked having all that room to walk around down front, rather than just standing behind a podium, as well as the huge expanse of the classroom overall.  “It’s a great lecture hall,” Dr. White said. We second that emotion.

Which so Many Have Supported…

Did you know that 161 donors have given more than $22 million for this amazing new academic home? This includes awesome alums like Drs. Dan DeLoach, Lloyd Schnuck, and Roy Witherington, whose generosity has supported three of our students’ Learning Communities, and these beautiful, friendly spaces now rightly bear their distinguished names. The largesse of others, including alums Drs. Bill Brooks, Dan Hanks, Theo Thevaos, Sandra and Murray Freedman, Charles and Betty Wray, Victor Irving, Melvin Haysman, Julia Mikell, and several members of the Class of 1979, have ensured that all our small group rooms have inspiring names as well. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make your mark and help us complete our financial obligations for this building. Find out more by calling Ralph Alee in our Advancement Office at 706-721-7343.

A Great Start as Well for Our New Mayor…

Wouldn’t you agree that this is really shaking out to be a first great week of 2015 in Augusta? Our new mayor, Hardie Davis, also officially took office this week. He powered into the week with a weekend of community service, an interfaith celebration, an aspiration of “One Augusta,” and by challenging us all to make a difference. We hear you Mayor Davis and we embrace you as our new mayor and your enthusiasm for making our city even better. We also want to thank Deke Copenhaver for his many years of remarkable service to the home base of the state’s public medical school.

For a New Collaborative Research Effort… with UGA

Here are more winners. Most of you no doubt know of our collaborative efforts with the University of Georgia in the education of physicians and pharmacists. More recently, the UGA-GRU Seed Grant Program was established to foster more collaborative research. The first four funded teams include at GRU and UGA respectively, Drs. Zhonglin Hao and Jin Xie; Kent Nilsson and Zion Tsz Ho Tse; Carsten Schroeder and Leidong Mao; and Stuart Thompson and Robert J. Maier. Their work includes efforts like identifying the role of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, probably best known for causing ulcers, in the development of gastric cancer. Great news and great efforts by all. Congratulations.

A New Leader for Our Cancer IRB…

Those of you around these parts who do clinical research no doubt know Marjorie Phillips, manager for clinical research and education at our hospital’s pharmacy.  She is a real expert and stickler in managing the super-important task of ensuring that experimental drugs are properly cared for and distributed. Her expertise makes her a super fit for the additional new duties of serving as Chair of our cancer-focused Institutional Review Board.  She is a long-time member of the university’s original IRB and has served as its Vice-Chair for 11 years. As with so many of you, she is also a national presence, in her case in drug safety, including current service on the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee.

And, Another Student Effort… On Behalf of Others

And finally today, we circle back to children, to research, to our community, and to our amazing students. To help raise dollars for childhood cancer research, our students have organized a St. Baldrick’s Head Shaving Fundraiser for next Friday, Jan. 16, from 6-8 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium. See and Some of our students will literally shave their heads as a show of support for the children and there will also be a silent auction made possible by donations from local businesses. We so thank second-year Carlos Guerrero for his leadership here and all our students for their many, many charitable efforts.  It really does take a village and our village rocks.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 13 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon- 1 p.m., GB1220A, Harrison Commons, Large Classroom.

Jan. 15 – MCG Faculty Senate, Noon, Lee Auditorium (Please note time change, previously scheduled at 5 p.m.)

Feb. 6 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Feb. 24 – MCG Alumni Association Planning Committee, Nominating Committee, Board Meeting and Regional Event, starting at 2:30 p.m., Idle Hour Country Club, Macon.

March 5 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception, 6 p.m., Northeast History Museum, Gainesville.

March 6 – MCG Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony, 5-7 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

March 12 – MCG Faculty Senate, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

March 20 – Match Day, noon, location to be determined.

April 17 – Raft Debate, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association, 6 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend.

May 1 – State of the Medical College of Georgia address, noon, Lee Auditorium, lunch provided.

May 4 – MCG Graduation Dinner, 6:30 p.m., location to be determined.

May 7 – Hooding Ceremony, 2-4 p.m., Bell Auditorium, Dr. James L. Olds, Assistant Director for the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), the National Science Foundation.

May 8 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

June 25 – MCG Investiture Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., location to be determined.

Have a great 2015 weekend!