Surround yourself with smart people

Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you.”

-John Wooden

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Look Southwest…

Have we mentioned lately our amazing colleagues across the state? At this moment, we are looking to southwest Georgia, where 10 years ago we officially started our first regional campus. Phoebe Putney Health System has been a remarkable partner since day one as the campus’ home base. Hospital and physicians leaders made great space for the campus, even residential space for our students, and generally welcomed them into their state-of-the-art facilities and practices. Now Phoebe is building student housing right next door that will be available at a minimal price to our students and others. The Phoebe Foundation recently received a $900,000 gift, the largest ever for a single project by the hospital’s Volunteer Services Department, from dollars generated by the gift shop. This gift is on top of a $1 million donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation last year and an additional $200,000 that has been raised. We again salute and congratulate our fine partners.

And Find Great Partners…

Some of our partners even come (back) to see us. One of the many great things about our relationship with Phoebe Putney early on was its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Doug Patten. Dr. Patten absolutely embraced his role in medical education and was a tireless advocate for our students. We learned about this time last year that he was taking on the new duties of CMO of the Georgia Hospital Association, so we said a goodbye, but not a final farewell. We welcomed him back with open arms this week when he was in our beautiful city to talk with our second-year students about the complex and essential topic of health care financing.

Look Southeast… And Find the Same

Also this week our colleague Gary Colberg, President and CEO of Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick and our 2013 Community Advocate of the Year, talked with our second-year students about the mostly concerning state of our nation’s health care systems. Along with St. Joseph’s/Candler in Savannah, Mr. Colberg and his hospital have been helping educate the next generation at our Southeast Campus. This experienced leader has helped navigate some pretty rough waters, but with the personal mantra, “The answer is yes. What is the question?” he has done it with characteristic style. We so appreciate Dr. Patten and Mr. Colberg for sharing their time, insight, and themselves with us.

Our Students… Always Inspire

Speaking of the Class of 2017, we told you last week about the moves these students are making for children with cancer and that we’d let you know when their full video was posted. Well here it is:​. Simply outstanding!

Our Residents and Fellows….

Now some kudos for our amazing residents and fellows. BTW, did you know we have at this moment 487 residents and fellows in 44 programs? Well our allergy-immunology fellow, Dr. Jeana Bush, just presented an interesting study at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting that showed that teenage girls living in rural areas are more likely to have undiagnosed asthma and are at higher risk for depression than their male counterparts. Lots of speculation about why these gender differences occur and the links between asthma and depression so, per usual, always plenty more work to do. Check out more at

Absolutely Do the Same…

Here’s some more important epidemiological data sought out by our amazing medical school team with the omnipresent goal of advancing patient care. Urology Resident Dr. Zachary Klaassen is corresponding author on a Cancer journal paper that shows older, single, white males with advanced bladder cancer have the highest suicide risk among those with cancers of the male genital and urinary system. The docs who take care of patients with these cancers call them genitourinary cancers and our Dr. Klaassen, who was looking at cancer-specific causes of mortality for something else, saw one cause was suicide, and wanted to know more about how suicide affects his patients. He had the great insight and help of our Dr. Martha Terris, Chief of Urology and the study’s senior author. Learn more at

Our Faculty Are… Established Experts

We talked a little earlier about the complexity of our health care system, and health care reform certainly is steeped in complexity. And, as you likely know, our nation is not alone in rethinking the who’s and how’s of health care. In fact, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom has a free, virtual School for Health & Care Radicals that’s providing change guidance based on experience and evidence to anyone who wants or needs it. Our Department of Radiology is hosting the only learning group for this school in the United States. Super cool. As we have discussed before, our Chairman Jim Rawson is certainly well versed on this complex topic, particularly at is relates to his specialty. We appreciate him tweet chatting to help others.

Our Colleagues … Are Simply the Best

Finally today, we say goodbye to another wonderful colleague, Dr. Jason Perry. He was respected, described as outgoing, friendly, and always positive. Dr. Perry was one of our graduates, did his internship and residency, including a term as Chief Resident in internal medicine, as well as his allergy and immunology fellowship with us, before joining the faculty in 2006. He absolutely loved students and teaching, and served as the 4th year medical student coordinator for their ambulatory rotations in the Department of Medicine as well as a core clinical educator where he was a mentor, advisor, and physical diagnosis teacher for our first- and second-year students. Dr. Perry, who died Feb. 28, left us just last year to enter private practice in Macon. He was already missed.

Upcoming Events

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

March 13 and 14 – The American Medical Women’s Association presents the play, The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler and covering the spectrum of women’s sexuality issues, at University Hospital’s Auditorium and benefiting local rape crisis and sexual assault services. The play starts at 7 p.m. both nights. Tickets sold at the door, $5 for GRU students, $10 for non-students, and donations are absolutely accepted!

March 16-20 – Educational Innovation Institute 2015 Health Sciences Education Week,

March 16 – EII presents a Teaching Roundtable: International Medicine in Education, with Dr. Chad Ray and a panel of MCG students and Residents, 4-5:30 p.m., EC 1211.

March 17 – EII presents a Teaching Roundtable: Struggling Learners, with Alexis Rossi, Shannon Nix, and Dr. Ralph Gillies, 4:15-5:45 p.m., GB 1238.

March 18 – EII presents a panel discussion on Best Practices in Education at GRU Health Sciences Colleges, Session 1, Teaching Student Learners: From the Classroom to the Community, with Janet Tankersley, Carol Hunter, Carol Hanes, Eric Ollila, and Charmaine Robinson and moderated by Dr. Kate Ciarrocca.

March 19 – EII Electronic Poster Session, moderated by Dr. Kelli Braun. 3-4 p.m., GB1120.

March 19 – EII Awards Ceremony, moderated by Dr. Ralph Gillies, 4-5 p.m., GB 1120.

March 19 – EII Best Practices in Education at GRU Health Sciences Colleges, Session II, Technology, with Lori Bolgla, Amber McCall, Kevin Plummer and Matt Lyon, moderated by Dr. Kelli Braun, 5-6 p.m., GB 1120.

March 20 – EII Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics, No More Burnout: Physician Wellness through Acceptance and Commitment Training, led by Dr. Amy House, 8-9 a.m., BT 1810.

March 20 – Match Day, noon, J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons, Room GB 1220 (New location!). This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Jungle.”

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., The Augusta Convention Center, 901 Reynolds St., (New location!), 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.

Don’t forget that Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend.


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