“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

-Mattie Stepanek


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

 PRIDE in Our Purpose…

There are amazing people on our campus every day because, well, each of you are here every day making Georgia’s public medical school even more remarkable. Over most of this (very hot) month, we’ve had an amazing group of guests as well: participants in PRIDE, Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research. Our medical school is privileged to be home to one of seven of these programs, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in our nation. It’s designed to improve diversity by helping junior investigators maneuver the difficult – and getting tougher – waters of a successful career that will ultimately help us all by helping ensure that these enthusiastic, talented individuals are successful in finding the next generation of treatments and cures. That is a mission, no doubt, in which we can all take pride. We also can take great pride in the individual who brought this program to us, Dr. Betty Pace.

Leadership at Our Core…

Dr. Pace is a familiar face in both clinical and research settings here, a federally funded physician-scientist working to improve sickle cell treatment who holds the definitely distinguished Francis J. Tedesco, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. She was still at the University of Texas at Dallas when the NHLBI started this program in 2006. She had one of the first three programs funded, was one of the handful to get funding in the second round, brought the terrific program with her when she joined us in 2010, and was recently successful yet again. And per your usual, at this very moment, many of you are helping our guests, our colleagues for the next two years and beyond, learn more about writing great grants and powerful papers, clinical sample collection and processing and so very much more.

And Trademark Teamwork…

Our current PRIDE participants are Drs. Bianca Garner, Tougaloo College; Renita Horton, Mississippi State University; Joy Jackson, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Ghislaine Mayer, Manhattan College; Esther Obeng, Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital; Oluwatoyosi Onwuemene, Duke University; Jerlym Porter, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; Elna Saah, Michigan State University; Patricia Silveyra, Pennsylvania State University; and Aisha Walker, University of Pittsburgh. To this place, our place, where so many share your commitment to the next generation, we welcome you. To Dr. Pace, we don’t really know what to say, except this program – and you – are exceptional.  Thank you.

 Just Have to Translate… To An Even More Fabulous Future

We are also so pleased to share that we will have more distinguished visitors – and potential future colleagues – at our medical school in the next couple of weeks. These are the very fine, four finalists who have emerged from a national search to find a new Campus Dean for our four-year Athens campus, the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. Many of you will be meeting them as they visit our main campus and Athens in the coming weeks.  Each candidate also will be giving presentations at our Athens Campus from 6-7 p.m. in room 228 of Russell Hall on the UGA Health Sciences Campus and folks at our main campus can listen to those presentations at the Greenblatt Library, Room AB 108. Our finalists and the day of their 6 p.m. Athens presentations include July 23, Dr. Charles Wiener, professor of medicine and physiology and director of international education and training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; July 28, Dr. Frederick “Rick” Barr, the Suzan B. Thames Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center; Aug. 4, Dr. Klea Bertakis, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, Davis; and Aug. 5, Dr. Michael Kozal, professor of medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases at Yale School of Medicine and acting chief of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System medical service. Check out their CVs and an evaluation form here http://www.gru.edu/mcg/gru-uga_partnerdeansearch/.

Great Colleagues…

On another totally happy note, please join in congratulating Lynn Bill who was recently named Managing Director of Georgia Correctional Healthcare. Many of you likely know that we have managed health care for the Georgia Department of Corrections since 1997 and Lynn actually helped build this intricate network that covers about 60 different facilities across our state that range from the maximum security prison in Reidsville to transitional centers in cities such as Albany, Columbus and our home base of Augusta. She has served as director of Patient Care Services since those first days but her experience in providing health care in the prison system dates back even longer: better than 30 years! No doubt this can sometimes be a tough job and we absolutely appreciate her commitment and diligence. In fact, we thank everyone who contributes to this tremendous undertaking, including our faculty, who help provide care, primarily at Augusta State Medical Prison, a nearby facility where more acute and specialized health care is provided. Well done, Lynn.

The Tireless Commitment to Grow… And Improve

Here’s another definite awesome. This summer is also heating up with about 20 of our incoming first-year students – have we mentioned lately that they will be starting class this very Aug. 5 – having a cool opportunity to train and be certified as an EMT. Medical schools across the country are using this additional educational experience to give students early exposure to, not just treating patients, but working as part of an interprofessional team. Their education this summer includes time in and out of the classroom – in fact next week, they’ll spend time at the Augusta Fire Department’s training facility learning how to extricate people from wrecked vehicles and load them into medical helicopters. This pilot program, which we hope to make a permanent fixture in our students’ training, wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of Dr. John McManus, who directs our still-new, EMS Fellowship. Lots of wins in this effort. Great job to all!

And Work Together… For the Greater Good

We simply never tire of talking about our great students and great former students, AKA, our alumni! We already know – and so appreciate – that our medical students and our medical school is loved in Rome, the home base of our newest regional campus, the Northwest Campus. We’ve got a lot of terrific alums up that way who no doubt helped pave the way to such a desirable status, alums such as Dr. Joe Burch. Dr. Burch is a radiologist and member of the Class of 1985, who recently hosted a terrific Alumni Association Welcome Dinner for our students who are new up that way that was also just a fun get together for some of the fourth-years who have been there a bit. There were an incredible group of alums, folks such as Drs. Dan Hanks and Max Hulsey, on hand and everyone just really enjoyed talking with each other and it was one of those situations where there were just the right number of people to enable great conversation. Our Dr. Burch ensured our future alums that our current alums were there to support and help them. No doubt, Dr. Burch.

 Also Translate to… Pure Inspiration

Finally today, it was just a little more than a year ago that we shared the terrific news that Dr. Gina Duncan, after serving as interim, was our official associate dean of admissions. Anybody that knows her knew why we were happy. Well, now we must share that she will be moving to Charlotte, N.C. to pursue new opportunities for herself and her family. We could never begrudge this amazing woman anything but we do so hate to say goodbye. What we do want to say to her is an absolute thank you for leading the frontline team that enables us to get such stellar students. We also want to congratulate and thank Dr. Leila Stallworth, a pediatrician, associate program director of our Pediatric Residency Program and member of our Admissions Committee, who has graciously agreed to serve as interim associate dean. Did we mention that Dr. Stallworth also happens to be a graduate of our medical school who also completed her residency with us! She is a longtime member of our Student Education Committee, has chaired our Pediatric Residency Program Curriculum Committee and is a member of that program’s Evaluation and Recruitment Committees. She also is an Academic House adviser! No doubt that both these individuals are amazing contributors to the present and future of Georgia’s public medical school.


Upcoming Events

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.

Aug. 21 – Professionalism Forum, 9 a.m.-noon, Christenberry Fieldhouse on the Summerville Campus is an opportunity for all first-year students in the university’s professional programs to get together and learn more about professionalism in the health sciences. Sponsored by the GRU Division of Enrollment and Student Services.

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.

Have a great weekend!


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