“A good head and a good heart…”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
-Nelson Mandela

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

You Have a Lot of Heart…

St. Valentine’s Day is an annual, colorful celebration of the commitment and compassion you all show for others yearlong. In keeping with that tradition, our stellar students raised $1,000 for our Children’s Hospital of Georgia this week by making and delivering valentines and sweet treats for their classmates, professors, and administrators.  There were better than 200 showings of well-deserved affection delivered! Our students also crafted homemade and holiday-themed “ornaments” for the IV poles of our smallest patients. That project was the brainchild of first-year student and Harrison Scholar Carmen Collins, who worked the same magic as an undergrad at Emory. What great ideas and students! Check them out here http://on.fb.me/1DGmI4E.

Amazing Minds…

This is also a terrific time for us all to think seriously about the health of our hearts and entire cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association tells us that cardiovascular disease results in one American dying every 40 seconds. Well, this week in Nashville, at the AHA International Stroke Conference, MCG has a terrific showing of the progress we are making against stroke, a major disabler and killer. Between the labs of our Drs. Adviye Ergul and Susan Fagan alone we have 14 presentations, including one invited talk and 13 abstracts. Drs. David Hess, Nasrul Hoda, and William Hill also are in Music City making us proud. Awesome.

Enthusiasm Backed by Ability…

Drs. Fagan and Ergul are quite the energetic pair, terrific research partners, and friends, who are taking on stroke. Their partnership is a great example of our strong relationship with so many colleagues at the University of Georgia. You see, Dr. Fagan happens to be Assistant Dean for the UGA College of Pharmacy campus based here at GRU, as well as Director of our Center for Pharmacy and Experimental Therapeutics. She and our Vascular Physiologist Dr. Ergul are on the front lines, really drawing the front lines, of a growing focus on maximizing stroke recovery by treating the uninjured side of the brain. In fact, the two convinced the AHA to have a session, which Dr. Fagan moderated, on this exciting topic. We are talking amazing science that has to do with how, much like these great colleagues, one side supports the other and, in this case, our brain is the better for it. There’s plenty more to learn here http://bit.ly/1Ao3Oi3.

You have Commitment… To Veterans

Speaking of great partners, great work, and great hearts. The Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home – which is operated by our university and which we shared last week is quite literally taking some amazing steps to raise dollars for the AHA and fights like that of Drs. Ergul and Fagan – has been ranked among the nation’s top 15 percent of senior health care providers for patient satisfaction. As you all know so well, excellent care of every patient is paramount, and we are so proud that our colleagues are taking such exceptional care of veterans. We congratulate Charles Esposito, Executive Director, and his team at, what is affectionately called, the Blue Goose. Definitely, emphatically an important job well done.

To the Next Generation…

So is this. About 50 of our residents in the Department of Medicine got some relaxation and fun again this year thanks to our amazing faculty. This past Saturday was the department’s annual House Staff Appreciation Day, where residents and their families had fun at Adventure Crossing as well as a terrific dinner.  Stepping up to take over for our residents and make this day possible were Drs. Namita Mohanty, Thaddeus Carson, Lee Merchen, Pamela Fall, Laura Mulloy, David Haburchak, Rhonda Colombo, José Vazquez, William Maddox, and Stan Nahman. We so appreciate their leadership and example and, of course, the terrific example set every day by Chair Mike Madaio.

Of People and Knowledge…

Please also join in congratulating Dr. Mike Diamond, who this very week was named Senior Vice President for Research for our university. He’s served as interim since September. We are happy to add that Dr. Diamond will continue as Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at our medical school. It’s amazing to think that he has already been with us for two years, starting in February 2012 after coming to us from Wayne State University. He has been one busy leader on so many fronts, including the exceedingly challenging and important effort to start the state’s first trial of cannabis oil for children with intractable seizures. We thank him for his service and his calm, thoughtful, and collaborative demeanor in even stressful times.

To Building an Even Stronger Future…

Finally today, we are pleased to share that the official roll out of our strategic plan went off last Friday without a hitch and that this truly collaborative effort is getting rave reviews. You can check out the plan, including a printable version, along with a short video, here: http://www.gru.edu/mcg/plan/. We want to thank once again so many of our colleagues across our campus and beautiful state for helping ensure that Georgia’s public medical school moves ever forward with purpose and passion because of amazing people. Speaking of which, we have to mention a few more of them here, including Senior Photographer Phil Jones, Senior Video Producer Tim Johnson, and web team members Channing Sherman and Heather Hopkins, for once again lending their great skill to help us tell our story in so many venues. Like each of you, they are true professionals who absolutely care and it always shows. Thanks so much for being amazing colleagues.

Upcoming Events

Throughout February – Black History Month Trivia, from the GRU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, New questions posted each week and two prize winners selected each Friday, see http://gru.edu/diversity/bhm/triviabhm.php.

Feb. 17 – MCG Alumni Association Reception and free CME event on “Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine: From Concept to Reality,” with Dr. Adam Berman, starting at 6 p.m., Maggiano’s Little Italy at the Perimeter, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta.

Feb. 19 – Celebrate Black History Month: The Foreign Language Alliance for International Rapport, supported by the GRU Department of English and Foreign Languages, presents “Antonio Machín and the Cuban Golden Era,” 5-5:30 p.m., Summerville Campus, Allgood Hall, E254.

Feb. 20 – Lunch and Learn: Black History Trolley Tour, sponsored by Lucy Craft Laney Museum and SouthStar, noon-1 p.m., pickup in front of the Administration Building, register at http://www.gru.edu/diversity/bhm/registration.php

Feb. 22 – Celebrate Black History Month: GRU Black Student Union presents the Show Me What You Got Hair Show, 4:30-8 p.m., Summerville Campus, Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre.

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.

Feb. 25 – Celebrate Black History Month: Brown Vs. Board of Education Panel Discussion, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Summerville Campus, JSAC Coffeehouse.

Feb. 27 – Celebrate Black History Month: Learn more about African-American cuisine, noon-1 p.m., Magnolia/Dogwood Room, Terrace Café. Register here: http://www.gru.edu/diversity/bhm/registration.php.

Feb. 28 – Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference, all-day event for local high school students on campus, sponsored by the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs

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

March 12 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

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

April 17 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

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

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend.

April 28 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

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.

May 14 – MCG Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony, 5 p.m., location to be determined.

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

July 14 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Oct. 27 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Jan. 12 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Have a fun weekend.