“Make new friends, but keep the old. Those are silver, these are gold.”

-Joseph Parry

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

We Welcome the Class of 2019…

We want to start this week by addressing our very core and welcoming the Class of 2019! Between our amazing Admissions Office and Admissions Committee, we are sure you have each gotten a proper introduction to Georgia’s medical school. But we simply had to add our own public “so great to have you here” to the list. We hope you each already know that you are the reason we are here; that at the heart of everything we do, every faculty and staff member and administrator, is educating you, the next generation. We could not have a more inspiring mission and we are so glad that you have chosen us. Welcome and please know that our front, back and side doors are all open to each of you.

New Faces… From Many Places…

Now, it is also our distinct privilege to share with our longer time colleagues and friends, just a bit, just a taste, of this amazing class. First of all, you likely remember this is another competitive group of 230 students who, officially next week, will be among us. We say that because it’s true and because we were fortunate to have a 15 percent increase in applications to our medical school for this class while the average for our colleagues across the nation was closer to 3 percent. Here’s some more fun numbers about the incredible class that has just been assembled. They come to us from 59 colleges and 10 states (although most are from Georgia, of course!). There are 120 females and 110 males, one student already has a doctor of pharmacy degree and one has a law degree. Awesome. You’ll be hearing a lot more great things from/about this group.

Who Have Chosen Us… As Their Medical School

Of course our amazing Alumni Association will help our new students start their first week off right by providing a truly tasteful – and tasty – welcome. The Annual Freshman Brunch is this very Monday on the riverfront in downtown, Augusta, GA. Fun and fellowship begin at 10:30 a.m., with our Dr. Matt Rudy, a 2010 graduate of our medical school who just happened to be president of his very terrific class, kicking things off.  Dr. Rudy just continues to be a leader and, in this case, he’s Chairman of the Alumni/Student Committee of our Alumni Association. He’ll be joined by Dr. Buffi Boyd, a 1999 graduate who, as we have discussed previously, also completed her general surgery and urology training with us, and who we are now privileged to call President of our Alumni Association. The Alumni Association will sponsor similar food, fun and fellowship for our 40 new students at the Athens campus on Thursday at noon in Russell Hall on the UGA Health Sciences Campus. We are super excited about these terrific annual events coming up next week, which of course, includes the first day of class. What an invigorating time of year, kind of like that first, cool, crisp breath of fall that refocuses our thoughts and makes us smile.

Among Them … A Dozen New Harrison Scholars

How is this for another reason to smile! Our Class of 2019 has among its distinguished ranks 12 new Harrison Scholars. We will contain ourselves and not give their names out this week so as not to preempt our Foundation announcing this group at a delightful dinner next week, but definitely please stay tuned. Seriously, how fortunate are we with partners such as our Alumni Association and Foundation. As with each of you, we just could not do this – and would not try – without their steadfast support, strategic thinking and just general total commitment to MCG. We also are super excited that we also will soon be officially announcing the very first Harrison Chair. This is just a hint, but could it be any better that this very first chair gives us the opportunity to bring one of our fine graduates back home to practice and thrive?! So exciting and definitely more to come.

Among Our Former Students… Some of the Best Docs and People Ever

One more powerful positive about our fabulous current and future alums. This past Friday, Dr. Dan DeLoach, a terrific plastic surgeon in Savannah from our Class of 1974 – have we mentioned lately that he is a past President of our Foundation and Alumni Association? – hosted an Alumni Association Welcome Dinner for our third- and fourth-year students at the Southeast Campus based in Savannah and Brunswick.  The camaraderie was nothing short of fantastic! We so thank Dr. Deloach and his wife Cam DeLoach for being such terrific hosts. Our Dr. Boyd, of course, was there as head of the awesome association. And, this was super neat, the incredible crowd also included Dr. John Mikell, a classmate of Dr. Rudy’s who has a family tree that’s just full of our medical school! His mother, Dr. Julia Mikell, is Class of 1976; his aunt, Dr. Florence LeCraw Watts, is Class of 1982; his uncle, Dr. David Watts, is Class of 1984; and his aunt, Dr. Deborah Edwards LeCraw, is Class of 1993. How is that for a family tradition!

Our Faculty… Are the Best as Well

Essentially every week we also talk about our incredible faculty and the impact they have among us and in the world. Our Dr. Mark Hamrick is another great example. This bone biologist in our Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, who definitely wants to help ensure that we keep our bone and muscle healthy and is an overall great citizen for our medical school and university to boot, has just been appointed to the Advocacy and Science Policy Committee of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. No doubt this gifted communicator, collaborator and educator is a terrific pick for this group, which supports other scientists across the nation who want to keep us strong. He’ll help keep up with pertinent government research initiatives, regulatory requirements, and help generate responses to them. He’ll work with other related groups, such as the National Bone Health Alliance, to provide expert testimony and material that will help pave an even better future and much more. Not surprisingly, Dr. Hamrick has already held or holds a number of leadership roles with this and many other groups, including serving on the society’s Working Group on Muscle and Bone Outreach, he chaired a session on Muscle and Bone Interactions at the group’s annual meeting last year and this year served on the Annual Meeting Advisory Committee. Thank you Dr. Hamrick!

Helping Mentor the Next Generation… And Solve More Medical Mysteries

While we are talking bones, let’s wrap it up today with just a little more. Do you remember that we have research residents in our Department of Medicine?  They include Dr. Jigar Bhagatwala, who has worked with Dr. Yanbin Dong on some pretty cool vitamin D research published recently, see http://bit.ly/1LRVVWK.  Now Dr. Monique Bethel working with our Chief of Rheumatology, Dr. Laura Carbone, has published some interesting work as well looking at whether, as with older men, older women with kidney and bladder stones have an increased risk for osteoporosis. They looked at data from a ton of participants in the National Institutes of Health’s famous Women’s Health Initiative, to check this out. Their work did help clarify the increased risk of additional stones in these women, which was about 15 percent. They also help us understand why in the world these two conditions might logically relate, at least in men. Great stuff that rightly captured a lot of interest across the world. You can absolutely check out more here http://bit.ly/1MyfqoT and herehttp://bit.ly/1fIHcBd.


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. 6 – Freshman Lunch, hosted by the MCG Alumni Association, noon, Athens campus, Room 235, Russell Hall, UGA Health Sciences Campus.

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.

Aug. 22 – The Richmond County Medical Society Leadership Program, Essential Tools for 21st Century Physicians, The Snelling Center at Edgar’s Grill in Augusta, Registration begins at 8 a.m., conference last from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. To register please visit,http://cmetracker.net/MCG/Login?formname=RegLoginLive&eventID=119772. Accredited for up to 4.75 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 credits. Registration before Aug. 1 is $25, after is $35, onsite is $50.

Aug. 24 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222 Health Sciences Campus.

Sept. 9 – The Education Innovation Institute hosts Career Development 101, 1:15-4:30PM in the Greenblatt Library, Room AB 108, on the Health Sciences Campus, for faculty with primarily clinical and teaching responsibilities. This faculty orientation event offers practical suggestions and resources on teaching, promotion and research.  RSVP to EDI@GRU.eduby Aug. 26. Participation fulfills the Preparing to Teach expectation for teaching faculty.

Sept. 12 – GRU Day of Service, more info to come shortly.

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.

Sept. 14 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

Sept. 15 – EII in collaboration with the GRU Cancer Center hosts, Career Development 101- Basic Sciences, 8:00AM – 12:30PM in Cancer Research Building, Room CN 1102, on the Health Sciences Campus.  The primary goals are to orient junior faculty researchers to the multiple, research-related resources on campus, provide practical career development strategies, and foster connections among research faculty.   RSVP to Lisa Middleton by Aug. 26.

Sept. 17 – University Senate Fall Assembly/New Faculty Welcome, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Alumni Center Ballrooms, Health Sciences Campus.

Sept. 21 – Medical Scholars Research Symposium, Harrison Commons, 11 a.m.

Oct. 5 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

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. 2 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus. 

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

Dec. 7 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

Jan. 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

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

Feb. 1 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

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

March 7 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

April 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

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.

Enjoy the first weekend of August!

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