“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.”

-William Shakespeare

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Growing Our Own…Terrific Leaders

We start this week with more great news on the home front and an official announcement about one of our many graduates with a stellar history of making a difference at our medical school and well beyond. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Charlie Linder came back to us for his pediatric allergy and respiratory disease fellowship, then joined the faculty. He has served a number of leadership roles in his years with us, including directing the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for nearly 30 years, and at the state and national level as well, including a six-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  He retired, but never stopped sharing his time and talent with us. He came back in a more official capacity when we needed him as Interim Chair of Pediatrics last June, and now has agreed to remove “Interim,” so that he can be even more effective at helping our department and children’s hospital move forward. We cannot thank him enough for his commitment to our/his medical school and to children.

Being an Inspiration… And An Advocate

Speaking of commitment, while Bernard Roberson is not technically an MCG graduate, he did earn his undergraduate degree from our university (Augusta College, 1995) a while back and, like our Dr. Linder, he knows no bounds when it comes to helping patients and families. Bernard’s great passion and purpose for them also ultimately benefits both our health system as well as our medical school. He frankly represents us so well on every front, including regularly sharing his knowledge and our experience with other hospitals and health systems that also want to ensure that they always keep their eyes and minds on patients and families. Our Administrative Director of Patient and Family Centered Care will do just that again at the patient-focused Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Regional Roundtables coming up in three major cities in our nation. Bernard will represent us – and as always our patients and families – at the Oct. 1 roundtable in Charlotte. We thank him for continuing to make us proud and better.

Taking Our Story… to the Streets

You know, we just can’t help getting back to the basic concept that so many of you share this absolute commitment to patients, to the next generation, and to just plain, old excellence. Our Dr. Monte Hunter, Chair of Orthopaedics, is a great example. He also hit the road recently for Columbus, Ga., to spend a little time talking about healthy bones with fellow orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other health care professionals who share his love for them. His hosts at St. Francis Orthopaedic Institute and The Hughston Clinic included two of our fine graduates, Drs. George McCluskey, Class of 1984, and Dr. Champ Baker, Class of 2002, both orthopaedists themselves. Dr. Hunter had dinner the night before with several of our fine alums from down that way. Did you know that Dr. Hunter is the team physician for the Augusta Green Jackets? Did you know that Dr. George McCluskey’s brother and practice partner, Dr. Leland C. McCluskey graduated from here in 1986! And how about this? We have another Dr. George McCluskey – no relation to this one – who graduated from our amazing medical school in 1838. How is that for a legacy? Thanks to the MCG advancement team for making these kind of cool gatherings happen across our state and beyond.

 Without Missing a Beat… Or Breaking a Bone

How about this crowd for sharing a true passion for healthy bones. Our Drs. Mark Hamrick and Carlos Isales are guest editors on a special issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, that addresses head on what we know and are learning about the relationship between bone health and good nutrition, see http://bit.ly/1GjLoND. As they rightly imply, we pretty much all should be supporters of healthy bone since fractures related to osteoporosis occur every three seconds across our world. In fact, osteoporosis complications in women over age 45 account for more days in the hospital than some other maladies we may hear more about, such as diabetes, heart attack, and breast cancer. While all of the above matter to us all, we absolutely thank Drs. Hamrick and Isales and the journal for giving this topic the special attention it too deserves. Lots of great bone work going on right here – in fact, we think we may have mentioned once before the rumor that there is a group affectionately termed the “boneheads” – and lots of contributors to this journal issue around every corner of our campus.

Exploring New Frontiers…

Dr. Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence is one of our newer bright brains with a focus on bone. She is exploring the amazing new frontier of how bone can act as an endocrine organ, and so help regulate metabolism and just maybe point toward better ways to address another major health issue we just mentioned: diabetes. Who would have thought? This biomedical engineer came to us last August from the Mayo Clinic. Her amazing work, published in the special journal issue on bone and nutrition, shows the bit of irony that her genetically engineered mouse – missing from the skeleton only an important regulator of gene expression called Hdac3 – had weaker bones but a better metabolism. I t even stayed thin on a high fat diet. While none of our bone buddies would advocate for such a tradeoff, Dr. McGee-Lawrence believes that somewhere in the changed conversation between the skeleton and body, there may be a way to help obese individuals stay healthier. Check out more here http://bit.ly/1GT1QsX, and, Dr. McGee-Lawrence, a very belated welcome and definitely keep us posted on your work!

And Visiting Beautiful Ones…

We talked recently – and often – about how it takes a village. Well this is so true about our beautiful Lake Oconee Village, which just turned 10. Better than a decade ago, our Health System and Medical Associates leadership made the smart decision to provide excellent health care directly in this thriving community in Greene County about 80 miles from our home base and about equidistance between us and Atlanta. Many residents at the time were driving to Atlanta or Athens for their care, so we started by bringing pediatrics and internal medicine to them full time, added general surgery and family medicine to the full-time list in 2008, and today plastic surgery, ENT, cardiology, neurology, and transplant services all see patients there full time with more to come.

Regardless of Where You Are…

As with any place you all gather, it’s a terrific group of professionals taking great care of people. These professionals include Pediatrician Dr. Michael Roberts, a 1973 MCG graduate, General Surgeon Dr. Harry Cheves, a 1985 graduate, and Practice Administrator Libo Devine. We so appreciate the hospitality of all the residents of this part of our fair state and would like to particularly thank again Ayal Latz, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce, County Manager Byron Lombard, and Commissioners Ed Bullard, Jimmy Britt, Angela Deering, John Human and Jeffery Smith. Did you know that this beautiful, 30-mile reservoir was created in 1979 when Georgia Power completed the Wallace Dam on the Oconee River. Great work guys!

You Are the Best…

We’ve got lots more notables over the coming days. While it feels as though it has already arrived, the first day of the summer of 2015 is actually this very Sunday, which is also the day we set aside to honor fathers. Please don’t forget that this coming Thursday, we also honor many of our distinguished colleagues at the annual Investiture Ceremony, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium. We so hope you will join in the celebration of our new department chairs, endowed chairs, as well as those who have earned the distinguished titles of Regents’ Professor or Professor Emeritus in the past 12 months.

Even During the Worst…

Finally today, our thoughts are with the great city of Charleston where Wednesday night, nine individuals lost their lives in a shooting at the historic Emanuel AME Church in the heart of downtown. These true human tragedies feel increasingly common. Certainly even one such tragedy feels like too many.


Upcoming Events

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

June 27 – The first annual GRHealth Alzheimer’s Symposium, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons, will provide an introduction to memory loss and dementia, an update on related research, and practical pointers for patients, families, and caregivers. For registration and more information, please visit grhealth.org/neuroscience-center/memory-disorders-alzheimers-center/first-annual-grhealth-alzheimers-symposium or call neurology at 706-721-2798.

June 27 – Our Equality Clinic will join in the Augusta Pride parade, starting at 11 a.m. on Broad Street. Our clinic and its supporters will meet up between 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Jones Street between 10th and 11th Streets.

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.

 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.

Please try and stay cool out there!

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