“Happy trails to you, until we meet again.”

-Dale Evans

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

 Wishing the Best…

About this time of year, we have the bittersweet opportunity to send some of our residents and fellows off into the world. What a truly joyous privilege it is to provide graduate medical education; to watch and to help medical school graduates fine-tune themselves into whatever type physician they wish. This year we have 167 residents and fellows completing their training; 24 more will stay on with us for additional studies in fields such as cardiology, pulmonary critical care, and vascular interventional radiology. To our graduates we say: We just had to send along our congratulations as well as our thanks for allowing us to play such an important role in your lives and careers and for being such an integral part of “us” at this pivotal point in your education. While there will be many celebrations, we almost wish that there was one event, such as Hooding, where all you exceedingly accomplished individuals could gather at one place at one time, if for no other reason, so we could take one more look at you and be so very proud. Please do not be a stranger as you move forward from here. We will always be here for you.

To Our Graduating Residents and Fellows…

The great, great news is that 10 of our residents or fellows will be joining our faculty! They will be onboard in just a few short weeks in dermatology, internal medicine, nephrology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, and neonatology. Talk about helping us cover some important ground. Okay, here is some more great news! We have 163 new residents and fellows starting July 1 (that number is actually 187 if you count the 24 who are staying with us). I think we may have already mentioned (a few million times), that 46 of the new group just happen to be graduates of our medical school. Seriously super stuff. A more zealous welcome, of course, is coming for our new residents and fellows once we get past the Fourth of July fireworks! Did you know that our very first residency program started with pediatrics in 1934 and our newest, our newly accredited Emergency Medical Services Fellowship in the Department of Emergency Medicine, starts in a few weeks. We absolutely love having such a distinguished history in medical education and absolutely thank each of you for being part of an equally distinguished future.

You Absolutely… Make Us Proud

While we are covering some important medical education history on the home front, did you know that the Association of American Medical Colleges has some age on it as well: it was founded in 1876 to help reform medical education. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which accredits residency and fellowship programs like ours, didn’t officially come along until 1981 but its predecessor, the Liaison Committee on Graduate Medical Education, was formed about 10 years before that. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits medical schools and will be coming to see us soon, was founded in 1942 by the AAMC and the American Medical Association.  Lots more good info here http://bit.ly/1Ix2XOb. One more important related fact: the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, this nation’s very first medical school, was established in 1765. Have we mentioned lately that the nation’s 13th oldest medical school (us!) came along in 1828!

Thanking Our Donors… And Faculty

While we are on an education roll and, as if our new academic home wasn’t already awesome enough, how is this for a super cool addition to the already top-notch technology at the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons! On the advice of our own Dr. Julian Nussbaum, and with the help of a $25,000 gift from the Knights Templar Educational Foundation, we’ve added a microsurgery simulator. As you all know, this is the way medicine is moving, with more and more robotic, small-incision, even “bloodless” surgeries. Now we have an optimal opportunity to expose our residents and students to this technology and these approaches. Part of the amazingness of the technology is that it easily enables our faculty to simulate not just standard care but complications they will encounter in their practice as well. How terrific is that?

Who Also Make Us Proud… And Successful

The Knights Templar Educational Foundation has provided its steadfast support to our Department of Ophthalmology for two decades now. In fact, its latest gift also provides additional funds to support visiting professorships, as well as our annual ophthalmology resident graduation and alumni meeting this month. The Knights Templars’ kind support is also underwriting travel scholarships for academic meetings where our ophthalmologists-in-training can present their research. How is this for another win-win and maybe throw in one more “win” for good and appropriate measure. We simply cannot do what we do without such support. Knights Templar Educational Foundation’s slogan is “Investment in Education is an Investment in the Future.” We applaud the foundation’s spirit of service and support and Dr. Nussbaum for always being such a terrific ambassador for our medical school. Thank you.

In the Continuing Cycle… Of Educating the Next Generation… And More

Of course, much of what you all do is find and teach new stuff, not only what to do if there is a problem, but new ways to, ideally, prevent or treat health problems. We are so pleased that an increasing number of our students are eager from the very beginning to be part of this quest for knowledge and our annual Medical Scholars Program, wonderfully directed by Dr. Richard Cameron, is simply a terrific opportunity to do just that. In fact, this year we have five students from the Class of 2019, who aren’t even technically here yet, participating – talk about eager – as well as about 115 rising second-year medical students between both the Augusta and Athens campuses. Our faculty, per usual, step up to these important opportunities:  more than 77 of you are serving as these students mentors. We say it often, but it always bears repeating: your insight and mentorship are integral to the success of our students. And to our students, as we also often say: you are inspirational and make us so very proud.  We can’t wait to see what this group uncovers.

You All Rock… And Help Keep Us Rolling

Here’s a great example of the amazing work that can be done in a single summer when our stellar students pair up with our fabulous faculty. Last summer, our 2015 graduate, Dr. Carmen Black, explored with our Dr. Brian Miller the important role inflammation plays in a variety of diseases, in this case, whether there are classic indications of brain inflammation in individuals who commit suicide, a top 10 cause of death in our nation. Their published study in the journal Biological Psychiatry essentially found yes, there were higher levels of cytokines in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and brain tissue of patients who committed suicide, which points the way toward being able to more objectively identify patients who are at high risk. The fascinating findings prompted a guest commentary from Dr. Ghanshyam N. Pandey, a renowned expert in suicide at the University of Illinois at Chicago, further highlighting the potential of blood studies one day helping patients. How could we ask for more?

Ever Forward…

We leave you today with just one more research highlight that reminds us once again of the complexity and wonder of the human body. Our Dr. Jessica Filosa found that one of the many day jobs of star-shaped brain cells we have called astrocytes is helping maintain a healthy pressure inside the countless fragile blood vessels inside our brain. They do this by keeping their little appendages around these vessels inside our brains and sending signals that help them dilate or contract, whatever is needed at that moment. Wow. Can’t you just see those astrocytes holding onto our blood vessels. BTW, they also keep an appendage on neurons so they can keep tabs on what they are up to and what they may need as well and kinda help ensure that they both stay happy and our brains stay healthy. Wow again. You can check out more here http://bit.ly/1KsWIx4.


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. 3 – Freshman Brunch, hosted by the MCG Alumni Association, 10:30 a.m., Augusta Marriott.

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

Sept. 12 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Augusta, 6 p.m., Augusta Marriott.

Sept. 13 – MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, Harrison Commons, 9:30 a.m.

Oct. 8 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Albany, Doublegate Country Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 10 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.

Oct. 13 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Rome, Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 27 – Town Hall meeting with students, noon-1 p.m., Harrison Commons, GB 1220A.

Oct. 29 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Valdosta, Valdosta Country Club, 6 p.m.

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.

Jan. 28 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception, Columbus, home of Dr. and Mrs. George McCluskey, 6 p.m.

Feb. 25 – MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, Macon, Idle Hour Country Club, 3:30 p.m.

April 15 – MCG Alumni Association sponsors the Raft Debate. More to come.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend.

May 12 – Hooding 2016, location and time TBD.

Have a great weekend!

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