“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere who bravely bears his country’s cause.”

-President Abraham Lincoln


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Tackling Tough Issues Together…

We hope you never tire of hearing about the amazing partnerships we have among ourselves, with our amazing community, our state, and well beyond. Certainly medical education, at every level, cannot occur without it. We’ve talked many times as well over the years about the terrific University System of Georgia initiative to encourage more Georgia hospitals to help educate more physicians for our state by starting residency programs. We are super pleased to share that this week the USG approved our medical school and Department of Family Medicine partnering with University Health Care System in Augusta to expand the education of family medicine physicians, a key component of medicine’s front line. Starting in July 2018 – which will be here before we know it – this partnership will enable us to incrementally increase the number of family medicine physicians trained in Augusta by one third. Together we will go from 24 family medicine residents per year to 36.

Is What True Partnerships… Are About

Isn’t it terrific that our two powerful institutions are putting their considerable skill and expertise together to help our community, state, and nation face this important looming issue. That’s just awesome and so necessary for a healthier future for us all. We thank our partners at University, where so many of our amazing graduates practice, Dr. Bill Farr, the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, and CEO Jim Davis for their commitment to helping us grow our family medicine residency program, which began in 1973. If folks like us do essentially nothing to address the problem, the Health Resources and Services Administration tells us that by 2020, the primary care physician shortage could reach well over 20,000, see http://1.usa.gov/1jDPE3M. Aging and population growth are key contributors, and that includes aging of our primary care docs. Check out a piece that ran this week that shows the unfortunate math in New York state, where, if you take New York City out of the equation, last year hospitals hired 888 physicians and retired 2,104, http://bit.ly/1dmOH09.

We are Fortunate… To Have Many Great Partners… and Remarkable Residents

Speaking of great partners, our colleagues at the Richmond County Medical Society are no doubt among our many best. The society’s president, Dr. Craig Kerins, had an interesting guest editorial in The Augusta Chronicle this past Sunday sharing his views on the current state of the media and medical research, http://bit.ly/1dmOUjV, and ultimately focusing on the terrific quality of research being done by our residents. You see, the Medical Society held its annual Resident Research Program recently where 18 of our residents submitted papers and a team of our docs and community docs picked the winners. They were Dr. Michael Cain, orthopaedic surgery, and Drs. Abhishek Mangaonkar and Mohammed Hasan Khan, both in internal medicine. Dr. Kerins praised their unbiased, fact-seeking research, such as Dr. Mangaonkar’s studies to see if the enzyme IDO can be both a prognostic factor and therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukemia. Just terrific and a great legacy effort to boot. Many of you know that our Drs. Andrew Mellor and David Munn discovered in 1998 how the fetus uses IDO to avoid being rejected by the mother’s immune system and later how, unfortunately, cancer uses it as well.

Super Scientists…

How is this for more great research! Our Dr. Paul McNeil, a renowned expert on cell membrane repair, was honored just last week at our terrific annual Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony for his basic science teaching. No doubt! This week, we learned more about his relevant work on how vitamin E is good for our muscles. In a scientific nutshell, he has found that vitamin E is essential to the repair of the plasma membranes of our muscle cells. All cells have plasma membranes, which have the 24-hour job of ensuring the contents of our cells stay where they belong and controlling what goes in and out, so his findings likely have implications well beyond maintaining our healthy marvelous muscles. In fact, Dr. McNeil believes the findings have therapeutic potential for a number of maladies such as muscular dystrophy, diabetes-related muscle weakness, and even traumatic brain injuries, where one of the first occurrences is a tearing of the plasma membrane of our neurons. Interestingly, just using our muscles can tear muscle cell membranes, which points right back to the importance of this research. We are pleased to say that much of the world checked it out, see http://bit.ly/1KmfGGx.

Marvelous Mentors….

Okay, one more research update this week that ties right back into growing the next generation. Our Department of Medicine’s Translational Research Program has been awarded funding from Provost Caughman’s office that will enable our first-year students to work with fabulous faculty mentors at both campuses of our university in Augusta. In fact, any full-time student at our university can apply. The cool program will provide some research funding and possible travel/learning opportunities for students. Of course, a major overall goal of the Translational Research Program, led by Dr. Stan Nahman, is to support the development of clinically relevant research – like Dr. McNeil’s – by faculty, residents, fellows and students, that can make a real difference in the wellbeing of us all. We thank this group, particularly Dr. Nahman, for his expanding efforts on this important front and Dr. Caughman for her support. To learn more contact Brandi McCorkle at BMCCORKLE@gru.edu, or 706-721-2861.

Graduates Who Never Forget… Their Alma Mater

How about we circle back to great partners now! Last week we shared the great news that Dr. Sam Richwine Jr., a 1977 graduate and fabulous doc up in beautiful north Georgia, is the new Chairman of our MCG Foundation Board of Directors. Well, we are super pleased this week to share that Dr. Buffi Boyd, a 1999 graduate of our medical school who also completed her residency with us and is a practicing urologist in the super southeast corner of our state in Savannah, is the brand-new President of our Alumni Association. She a super active member of the medical staff at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, the original home base of our Southeast Campus, and has been an Associate Clinical Professor here since 2012. Dr. Boyd has been an active member of our Alumni Association for nearly a decade, including serving on our board as a General Director, and as a host for a Dinner with 12 Strangers event for our students from down that way, part of the Alumni Association’s Mentoring Program. Just awesome. Thank you so much Dr. Boyd for your service to your/our medical school. Our limitless thanks as well to the venerable Dr. Betty Wray who just completed a terrific tenure as President.

Faculty Who Lead…

As we slide into the long weekend, we want to congratulate our Dr. Bennett Greenspan, a Professor in our Department of Radiology and Imaging, and the brand-new Vice President-Elect of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. He starts his term at the society’s annual meeting in June, becomes Vice President/President-Elect the next June then, you guessed it, President that very next June. This international group has more than 18,000 members, including physicians, scientists, technologists, and other imaging professionals, who, like so many of you in your respective fields, are moving things ever forward and better. Dr. Greenspan, who came to us in 2012, has completed Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Residencies and a Pediatric Nuclear Medicine Fellowship. Sounds like he is ready for anything on the nuclear medicine front and we are super proud of his international leadership.

And Plenty of Great Stories… To Tell

As we wrap up today, we wanted to share that you can check out the new edition of our magazine, MCG Medicine, right here http://www.gru.edu/mcg/georgiamedicine/index.php!  Our thanks to Christine Deriso, GRU Publications Director, for her invaluable help in making it happen.


Upcoming Events

 May 28 – The Georgia Regents Medical Associates Membership meeting, 5:30 p.m. in the Alumni Center on the Health Sciences Campus. Refreshments will be served beginning at 5:00 p.m. RSVP by Friday, May 22 to PPGRSVP@gru.edu.

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.

Nov. 13 – Body Donation Memorial Service, 1 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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

May 12 – Hooding 2016, location and time TBD.

Have a terrific and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Leave a Reply