“Dreams are the touchstones of our character.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Interest is Already… Starting to Show

We talked a while back about the absolutely endless – and essential – cycle that is the admissions effort for our medical school. Well, guess what came in this week? The very first applications for our Class of 2020. Can you believe it? For those of you who haven’t had the occasion to check this out, most medical schools in our nation, including us, use the Association of American Medical Colleges’ American Medical College Application Service as a way to centralize and ease the application process for potential students. After we hear from potential students through AMCAS, we send them our own homegrown application that will give us a lot of additional insight about them and, of course, they also learn more about us. We are always super excited to hear about the next generation’s interest in our school and can’t thank each of you enough for your commitment to making this a place medical students absolutely want to be.

And We Could Not Be… More Pleased or Proud

In fact, we are super proud that, because of each of you, interest in our school just keeps going up. For our Class of 2019, we had a 15 percent increase in applicants, while the average increase in applicants to medical schools around the nation was 3.1 percent! Wow again. With all of you, our beautiful new academic home, a terrific community in Augusta, and a statewide network for learning that gives our students countless opportunities, how can we go wrong! Did we mention that Aug. 5 is the first day of class for our new freshmen!

We Have Great People… At Our Front Door

One more bit of great news on the admissions front. We wanted to make sure you all know that our Dr. Iqbal Khan recently took on an expanded role as our Administrative Director of the Admissions Office. No doubt, Dr. Khan is a familiar face to most of you. He has a PhD in reproductive physiology and ran our in vitro fertilization and andrology laboratories for a dozen years before becoming the founding Assistant Dean of our super Southwest Campus that is 10 years old this very year. He has been an Admissions Committee member since 1999, so he definitely knows those ropes, as well as our students. He chairs the comparatively new BS/MD Committee and was Director of Undergraduate Medical Education for our Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for many years. Bottom line: it’s great to have Dr. Khan in this new role in the super-important task of recruiting, interviewing, and accepting new students.

And Great Guests on Our Campus… Who We Hope Will Come Back to See Us

Since we are on a role with our students and admissions, we wanted to make sure you know that another thing heating up in the waning days of spring, is the super special guests on our campus as we speak. Forty students ranging from high school seniors to college seniors are living and learning on our campus. They come to us through the annual Student Educational Enrichment Program and represent 13 counties across Georgia. They’ll spend seven weeks with us studying biomedical science, spending time in the labs of our scientists, shadowing our great physicians, preparing for the Medical College Admission Test, and learning how they can prepare for eventual application to MCG and other health professions programs at our university. As super-cool icing, for the fourth year in a row, we are operating the same program in Savannah for 12 high school seniors from Chatham County – all with great help from our colleagues at Savannah State University, and, of course, our stellar Southeast Campus. Those students are taking college level biology and chemistry, along with courses on public health. What a critical pipeline initiative. Our sincere thanks to Linda James, Director of Diversity Outreach and SEEP, and her team from the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs!

We Have Great Faculty… All Over

There were also a lot of familiar names and faces at the recent Georgia Regents Research Institute Research Awards Dinner.  Honorees at the event include our Dr. Il-man Kim, in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Vascular Biology Center, who received the Emerging Scientist Award for his outstanding productivity in his studies of the genetic regulation and signaling pathways in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Talk about a dynamic duo, Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, Weiss Research Professor who studies the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease, received the Distinguished Research Award, and her husband and professional collaborator, Dr. Lin Mei, chair of our Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Neuroscience, took home the Mahesh Distinguished Research Award. Drumroll here: our Chair of Physiology, Dr. R. Clinton Webb, received the Lifetime Achievement Research Award for his contributions in the field of hypertension and for serving as a terrific role model on our service, research, teaching, and training fronts. Dr. Webb was similarly honored by the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research in 2013 (and numerous other times). Congratulations all. We thank Sarah White, Executive Director of the Research Institute, for her efforts on this and many research fronts.

Who Give Us Cause… To Celebrate

Okay, this research event and its awardee lineup was no doubt awesome, and as we start wrapping things up today we wanted to make sure you have marked your calendars for another similarly fun and inspiring time coming up later this month! It’s the annual Investiture Ceremony. At this annual event, which we will hold again this year starting at 5:30 p.m. June 25 in the Lee Auditorium, some of our amazing faculty are honored for their service. Honorees include those who have been named a department chair or Regents’ Professor, granted Emeritus status or awarded an endowed chair in the past dozen months. You know this crowd is worth coming to see!

And Support…. That Does As Well

We honor at this super cool ceremony as well our equally amazing donors, who endowed the chairs that were recently awarded. As you know, endowed chairs absolutely help us attract and retain the best faculty, which, in turn, helps us attract and retain the best staff, students, residents, postdocs, and pretty much, the best of everything. In other words, they help us get and keep all of you. This year, you will learn, for example, more about our Dr. Todd Merchen, Director of our Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, and the amazing, Atlanta-based Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, which funds the chair Dr. Merchen holds. The Foundation, created by the estate of Mrs. Mason to honor her late husband, was and is absolutely committed to ensuring needy Georgians get the organ transplant care they need and that terrific professionals such as Dr. Merchen are in Georgia to provide that care. What else is there to say except that is the true definition of generosity and goodwill. We so hope you will join the celebration and thank Terry McBride and the entire Dean’s staff for helping make it happen.


Upcoming Events

June 18 – Student Educational Enrichment Program, or SEEP, Health Career Extravaganza, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Harrison Commons. SEEP participants will explore educational opportunities at our medical school and university, learn more about the admissions process, do some hands-on learning and meet administrators, faculty, and students.

June 25 – MCG Investiture Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium (relocated from the Harrison Commons).

July 2 – Southwest Campus 10th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration, noon, Phoebe HealthWorks Gym, 311 W. 3rd Ave., Albany. For more information, contact Peggy Cohen, pcohen@gru.edu or 229-312-1451.

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

Aug. 5 – First day of class for the Class of 2019.

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.

Happy first weekend of June!

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