This world is but a canvas to our imagination

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

Henry David Thoreau

  Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Realizing Your Vision…

Who would have thought that the beautiful peaches and strawberries she loved were contributing to the excruciating pain that quite literally caused her to pass out? After a lot of listening and examining, Dr. Satish Rao and his team found the surprising answer that fructose could make her whole body hurt. At our Digestive Health Center, Jennie Montgomery, respected anchor for WJBF-TV, found her answer, relief, and a compassionate, attentive team. Jennie graciously agreed to the be keynote speaker at last night’s official ribbon cutting on our state-of-the-art, 43,000-square-foot center designed to meet the unique needs of 21st-century digestive health patients and their families, like Jennie and hers. The National Institutes of Health tells us 65 million Americans have digestive health problems. Dr. Rao reminded us last night that we all have them sometime. Last night was an amazing celebration of a vision and a reality that will make it easier for so many individuals to again celebrate life. See

Sharing Your Talents…

Her mom tells her that she has been “doodling” since she could hold a pencil, and boy are we glad. Many of you likely have met Elizabeth Smith, the warm, smiling individual who greets you at the front desk of our Dean’s Suite. What you may not know is that, as with so many of you, she is truly multi-talented. One of her gifts is art. In fact, her natural inclination to put pencil or paint to paper led her to major in fine arts at our university. Not too long ago, when we were needing new note cards for our medical school, she drew her first building, the iconic Old Medical College Building, our first home, to grace the cover. The beautiful old building looks/is amazing. As thoughts whirled about how to encapsulate all of your amazing work in the upcoming State of the College address at noon May 1, we opted to dub this year’s address ‘Road Trip to Excellence.’  Well, Elizabeth brought those words to life in a true work-of-art poster that you will be seeing around campus and right here on our home page: Thank you Elizabeth.

Your Passions…

You all are amazing and our students are certainly no exception. Recently a group of dedicated souls received a Medical Student Service Learning Project Award from Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society to start an ethics course. They’ll use the $9,000 award to develop the Medical Ethics: Pathway to Leadership in Medicine course, a supplement to regular first- and second-year curriculums, and fund it for the next three years. Their course will include a basic introduction to ethics, case studies, nationally known speakers on ethics, a faculty-student mentorship program, (more) community service projects, and a novel student ethics committee to advise future courses. We congratulate and thank fourth-year Matt Jones, second-years Brice Hwang and Brian Sullivan, and first-year students Lacey Williams, Connor Sweetnam, Travis Welsh, and Blake Vander Wood. We thank faculty advisors Drs. William Strong and Greer Falls for lending their considerable expertise.

Including Those to Find a Better Way…

Part of what many of our students want to do is research. In fact, about half of them do- a percentage that has climbed in recent years and we are so proud. One of those students is junior, Elizabeth Ahn, who participated in the Dean’s Student Summer Research Program two summers ago with our Dr. Vaughn McCall, Chair of Psychiatry. You may remember that Dr. McCall is a leader in the trifecta of insomnia, depression, and suicide and Elizabeth absolutely made the best of this excellent opportunity to work with him. Bottom line of what she found was that the worse the problem with insomnia as well as its polar opposite, hypersomnia – when you sleep or are sleepy too much – the worse the problem with suicidal thinking. The same was true about negative thoughts about sleep, such as worrying that you may never get another good night of it. No doubt interesting and the American Psychosomatic Society agreed. She received a medical student travel scholarship for that group’s annual meeting. Awesome.

 In Fact, Often Leading the Way…

On the topic of Dr. McCall, he has another pretty fascinating study out there right now that shows a simple wristband, which keeps up with your motion levels throughout the day and night, may help physicians figure out which patients will respond well to commonly prescribed antidepressants. Bottom line on this one is that it can take several different drugs, doses, and many months to get major depressive disorder under control. This wristband is a safe way to sort out the night owls, who are most likely to be depressed, and who Dr. McCall has now found are most likely to respond well to serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Interestingly, part of the reason may be that the drugs help readjust rest – or sleep – times to more usual night hours, unless your job/life interfere with that, of course, which is another whole story. Check it out here

Are Strong, Long Traditions… At Our Medical School

Back to amazing art, this time the art of words. Bill Andrews, Director of the Medical Illustration Program at our university, will be giving our next History of the Health Sciences Lecture on Thursday, April 23, at noon. He will be speaking on John Hunter, famed surgeon and anatomist from the 1700s, who authored several medical books in his amazing day, see Renée A. Sharrock in Historical Collections and Archives reminds us that last year our distinguished alum Dr. Leslie Wilkes gave our Greenblatt Library a few rare books written by Dr. Hunter, the primary focus of Dr. Wilkes’ collection. In fact, Dr. Wilkes asked Bill to give this lecture and will be at his alma mater to hear the results! Did you know that Dr. G. Lombard Kelly, dean of our medical school from 1934-1950 (dean and the first President from 1950-53), started the medical illustration program in 1948 as the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine? It’s terrific to have such a glorious history (and fabulous future)!

That Keep Us… On Our Toes

Here’s another insightful gathering coming up next week that is also of interest to many of us, since the fact of the matter is: we are aging. A great gathering of scientists and physician-scientists will be on our campus next Friday to talk more about the fascinating field of reparative and regenerative medicine. How exciting is it to think about helping us keep youthful bones as we age or even grow new parts to repair those lost to trauma or disease. Many great colleagues will be here, including keynote Dr. Arnold I. Caplan, Director of the Skeletal Research Center at Case Western Reserve University, who is often referred to as the father of mesenchymal stem cells. Those are the ones that help us make bone, cartilage, and muscle. Other great speakers are UGA’s Steve Stice, Georgia Tech’s Dr. Johnna S. Temenoff, and our own stoke specialist extraordinaire, Dr. David Hess. Check out more here and here

And Being… Just Awesome

Speaking of regeneration, as we close today we wanted to acknowledge the exciting physical and functional opportunities that could lie ahead for us in the university’s recently unveiled master plan. Highlights include moving our colleagues in the College of Science and Mathematics down this way, in fact, maybe over toward the J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons; tearing down some well-worn student housing and replacing it with lots more, brand-new digs for our students, a move that could result in a lot more students living on campus; the narrowing of Laney-Walker Boulevard to two lanes where it runs through our campus (scheduled to happen this summer); and a bunch of other enhancements that should make both campuses better for our students and for the rest of us. Super exciting potential that you can absolutely learn more about here


Upcoming Events


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, please visit for a full listing of events.


Tonight – An internist, pediatrician, and surgeon debate who is best at the annual, we haven’t had this much fun since Match Day, Raft Debate, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association, 6 p.m., Harrison Commons,


April 18 – MedWar, the Southeast Medical Wilderness Adventure Race, tests your physical fitness and medical knowledge, see


April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend,


April 22 – Dr. Ricardo Azziz’s final State of the Enterprise address, noon, Lee Auditorium. The Small Auditorium (BC-1400) will serve as an overflow room. Lunch will be provided.

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, Road Trip to Excellence, noon, Lee Auditorium, lunch provided.  Live streamed at


May 2 – Our Cancer Center is a sponsor for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Augusta, 11 a.m.-11 Westside High School track, visit or


May 4 – MCG Graduation Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta,


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., large classroom, Harrison Commons.


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 terrific weekend.




Leave a Reply