“There’s no place like home.”

-Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Welcome Home… to our Amazing Alumni

Who does not love this beautiful time of year in Augusta, but we have to say, we particularly LOVE this weekend. It’s Alumni Weekend, which means our amazing graduates, our accomplished colleagues come back home! No doubt we enjoy going to see them wherever they may be, but there is something just wonderful about having them back on their campus. We so hope they are as proud of their medical school as we are of them and so appreciate them making the journey. It’s class reunion time for our Classes of 1945, 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005, so that’s always extra fun and fellowship. Welcome home all!

You Honor Us… With Your Presence and Support

Speaking of extra fun, there’s a strong rumor that some pretty awesome news will be shared later this very day as part of Alumni Weekend. We don’t want to spill all the beans, but it will be during the Dean’s Reception, 5:30-6:30 p.m., in the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons, and it’s coming from our MCG Foundation, which, of course gets stellar support from our amazing alumni and gives amazing support to us. Our foundation board is chaired by Dr. Sandra N. Freedman, from our Class of 1968, who many of you likely know because she was also a longtime faculty member. Our foundation already shared plenty of great news with us recently with its Annual Report, a beautiful, informative publication on its history and future. Kudos to Christian Romero, Stewardship Coordinator, for her nice work on this. Check it out http://www.mcgfoundation.org/2013-2014AnnualReport.pdf.

And Remarkable Accomplishments…

Our definitely distinguished alums being honored this weekend are Dr. Kimford J. Meador, Class of 1976, and Dr. Peter M. Payne, Class of 1964. We are thinking many of you know them both, since they both also were on our faculty. Dr. Meador is now Clinical Director at Stanford University’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. Dr. Payne actually still is a Clinical Associate Professor of Ob-Gyn with us and Secretary of our MCG Foundation Board. We can’t do either justice in the space here but both are amazingly accomplished. Dr. Meador, who is being recognized for professional achievement, has chaired the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University; directed the epilepsy and Alzheimer’s research program at the University of Florida; and directed epilepsy and clinical neuroscience research at Emory. Native Augustan Dr. Payne, who served his country as a Navy Medical Officer and Reservist, his alma mater for nearly 30 years as a faculty member, and has been actively involved in both our foundation and Alumni Association, is being honored for his unyielding commitment to our/his medical school. A huge congratulations and thank you to both these fine individuals.

We Celebrate As Well… Our Colleagues in The Graduate School

As with our Dr. Meador, so many of you love research, the relentless search for new knowledge, for better ways, for better lives. That is one of the many core missions of The Graduate School, to help educate the next generation of biomedical scientists to take up this important mantle. Just a terrific event recently celebrating science with the Graduate Research Day Awards Banquet. There was a great turnout, including a noticeable increase in students from our Summerville Campus. Twenty-eight awards were given in a variety of areas, from physiology to genomic medicine.  Congratulations to all research day participants as well as to Dean Mitch Watsky and his team. We like such enthusiasm for the knowledge quest.

Future Alums… Who Already Make Us So Proud

Speaking of which, four of our second-year students attended the recent Annual American Association of Anatomists meeting in brave Boston. Taylor Phelps (of study, study, study fame, http://bit.ly/1byCNiT) was honored for his podium presentation on how high spatial visualization ability – which means you can generate and move around images with your mind – helps allied health students do well on written anatomy exams and how anatomy reciprocates by training their spatial ability.  Kelli Wheeler was an award finalist for her presentation on how peer teaching in gross anatomy positively impacts learning. Dresden Melton presented a poster on differences in feedback students get on their small group clinical case presentations from fellow students and faculty. Bruce Byrd’s poster presentation was about the feedback students provide about themselves and to their peers in the anatomy lab. Let’s hear it for our students as well as faculty members Drs. Charys Martin, Anna Edmondson, and Carol Nichols for their support and leadership.

Our State’s Efforts… For Children

Great news recently as well about our Gov. Deal signing into law Haleigh’s (Cox) Hope Act, that enables patients in our state with cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s, and sickle cell to have access to medical cannabis oil in our state. As you likely know, many Georgia families have had to travel or even move to secure this treatment that many say is helping their children. In fact, the bill honors Haleigh Cox, a 5-year-old experiencing hundreds of seizures daily, who moved to Colorado to enable access. Now we understand, the Cox family can come home. Our appreciation to our state leaders and lawmakers for their insight and understanding and for enabling us to take a leadership role in clinical trials of this oil for children such as Haleigh. Our thanks also to Drs. Mike Diamond and Yong Park and their team for conducting related groundbreaking research here for children with seizures.

Employees… For Sharing their Talent and Commitment

Great energy at a great event this week, our Service Awards honoring our amazing employees for 5, 10, and 15 years of service. Lots of familiar names like Biostatistics Chair Varghese George, Neurology Administrative Assistant Tracie Powers, and Scientist Nagendra Singh. It was just super that Dr. Michael Russell from our GRU/UGA Partnership campus came over from Athens to celebrate five years with us. As we say often – but never too often – you are an amazing group of individuals and it is a distinct pleasure to be a part of this team. Thanks to Susan Norton and her team in Human Resources for putting this together. It’s just great to stop the whirling activity every now and again to smell the remarkable roses.

 And the Future…

Dr. Leslie Petch Lee, a leader who helped plan and develop our GRU/UGA Partnership campus, will serve as Interim Campus Dean when Inaugural Campus Dean Barbara Schuster steps down May 12. We appreciate the leadership of Dr. Lee as we continue to continue to educate the next generation of physicians, work collaboratively on a national search to identify a new Campus Dean, and prepare for our LCME site visit.

As We Mourn With Our GSU Colleagues… Life and Potential Lost

Finally today, our thoughts are with our Georgia Southern University colleagues as well as the families of the five nursing students, children, sisters, friends, and future colleagues lost in a single moment this week.


Upcoming Events

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend, http://grualumni.com/file/MCGAlumniWeekend_Web.compressed.pdf.

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 www.gru.edu/stream.

May 2 – Our Cancer Center is a sponsor for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Augusta, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.at Westside High School track, visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY15SA?pg=entry&fr_id=64385 or http://gru.edu/cancer/relay/volunteer.php.

May 4 – MCG Graduation Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta, http://www.northaugusta.net/community/facility-rentals/palmetto-terrace.

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.


Let’s have a great weekend!

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