“Let’s roll.”

-Todd Beamer, Sept. 11, 2001


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

A Date… To Remember

This date is one of those dates that stops you in your tracks, at least for a moment, to remember what happened and where you were when you heard that two planes had been crashed into the Twin Towers. I remember that I was seeing patients at the Uptown Division of the VA, and no doubt like many of you, I found what I was hearing almost impossible to digest and believe. But there would be more. We would hear that American Airlines Flight 77 had been crashed into the Pentagon. We would hear how husband, father and Oracle, Inc., executive Todd Beamer and other brave souls prevented the terrorists from using their plane to target yet another key facility in Washington D.C. As one day unfolded into the next, we would learn even more about the true mettle of the individuals in those planes and on the ground. So on this day, much like that day, we feel a swell of pride even in our tears. The spirit of America is indomitable.

A Day… To Give

You know, you all are truly an amazing lot as well, who also inspire that swell of pride.  Because you also do the right thing, even when it’s hard or simply inconvenient. Here’s a great example. We are working right now on the fall/winter issue of our medical school’s magazine, and there will be a prominent piece on a homeless health clinic started 25 years ago by medical students who saw the need and Department of Family Medicine faculty willing to help them meet it. While the mission, location and some faces have changed some, the heart of the clinic has not, and neither has yours. Because tomorrow, many of you who already give so much through your individual volunteer efforts, will join our medical school and university in giving more with the annual Day of Service. You’ll be cleaning a beautiful river, landscaping around Richmond Academy, repairing boardwalks at Phinizy Swamp, washing dogs, and stocking food shelves. You are the kind of citizens that would make any community proud. Any medical school, too. Thank you.

Accomplishments… Worth Celebrating

Your diligence shows in so many ways. We just got the annual tally on sponsored grant and contract support received during the latest academic year. While the number of total awards for our medical school went down from last year, the total dollar volume actually went up. How is that for amazing in this funding-has-continued-to-go-down, not up, despite-the-higher-cost-of-essentially-everything world. While we are ecstatic to report proposed record increases in NIH funding being debated by Congress and the President, we are sad to say that for the past essentially dozen years, NIH funding has been either cut or any increases failed to keep pace with increasing costs. Despite that, the total grant and contract support you earned went up 2 percent from last year to $98,505,292 this year. And, drumroll here please, NIH funding specifically went up 14.6 percent to $50,113,765!! Just awesome and proof of the adage that when the going gets tough, the tough once again get going. Thank you again for being just so diligent and productive.

Ideas that Make a Difference….

Here’s what we are talking about. Our Dr. Clinton Webb and GRU graduate student Cam McCarthy have a super interesting and timely paper out about their fascinating theory on why football players, especially those hard hitting linemen, have trouble with high blood pressure during football season and why, longer term, they may develop chronic hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. Certainly we have all heard about the long-term consequences of repeated head trauma in football players and there may be some common ground here. Renowned hypertension researcher Dr. Webb has learned in his animal models that circulating levels of DAMPs, damage-associated molecular patterns, are elevated in hypertension and the type of trauma that occurs in contact sports like football, tears cells, dumping DAMPs and other stuff that is supposed to be inside cells into the bloodstream. Complicated story short, DAMPs trigger an immune response, which includes, of course, inflammation, a major player in hypertension. When this happens real regularly, well, you get the picture of their theory. They are now pursuing funding to measure DAMPs levels before, during and after a season of college football. The NIH and American Heart Association funded the published work. Check more out here, http://bit.ly/1XMQ8aF.  By the by, did you know that MCG actually had a football team from 1907 until 1910. Go us!

People Who Change Lives….

Nobody defines “us” any better than Dr. Joseph Hobbs, our 1974 graduate, chair of Family Medicine, holder of the endowed Georgia Academy of Family Physicians Joseph W. Tollison, M.D. Distinguished University Chair, and did we mention President-Elect of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine! Well, that is just the tip of the iceberg but please add to the long list that, as of this week, he is also the 2015 recipient of the GRU Diversity and Inclusion Award. Just terrific. Any of you who know Dr. Hobbs know that he is a worthy recipient of pretty much any award that signifies leadership, accomplishment and doing the right thing. If you haven’t already, we hope you will take a few (OK, maybe more than a few) minutes to read all about him in the cover piece of our last magazine, http://bit.ly/Qn6fgj. All joking aside, Dr. Hobbs is a living testimonial to the greatness of our medical school and the amazingness of our graduates! Congratulations.

And Still Make Time… For Fun

Finally today, if you know you can dance or maybe play the violin or sing or, well you know how talented you all are in so very many ways, here’s a great opportunity. The university’s Arts Council wants to bring Noon Arts back to the Health Sciences Campus and the Lee Auditorium and we heard they were looking for you! If not, they should be. As we speak, they are looking for students, staff, faculty and retiree performers for the re-premiere of this fun noontime event, the first of which is scheduled for Nov. 3. If you have the notion, we second that emotion (with due credit to Leo Sayer and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)!! Please contact Tricia Perea in the Division of Communications and Marketing at tperea@gru.edu by Sept. 30.  Go for it!


Upcoming Events

Sept. 11 – The GRU Faculty Club hosts the academic year’s first after-hours social gathering at 5:30 p.m., Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant, 3064 Washington Road.

Sept. 12 – GRU Day of Service, http://calendar.gru.edu/event/day-of-service-2015.

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 for Early Career Investigators, 8:00AM – 12:30PM in Cancer Research Building, Room CN 1102, on the Health Sciences Campus.  The primary goals are to orient early career investigators 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. 18 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, EC-1210, Health Sciences Building (Note different location!).

Sept. 18 – GRU Faculty Club Reception, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Harrison Commons, RSVP tojsandarg@gru.edu

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. 8, 9 – Patient- and Family-Centered Care Annual Conference with keynote Allison Massari, an in-demand speaker, entrepreneur, executive coach, and interdisciplinary artist. The conference will be held from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 9 in the Lee Auditorium. For more information call 706-721-7322, email pfcc@gru.edu and to register go to http://www.grhealth.org/patient-family-centered-care/9th-annual-pfcc-conference-2015.  For live streaming, please visit: http://www.gru.edu/stream/.

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. 15 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

Oct. 15 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Savannah, Home of Dr. and Mrs. Melvin and Roberta Kamine-Haysman, 6 p.m.

Oct. 24 – President Keel’s Gala, a black tie event to support GRU and the Augusta Community, at The Quadrangle, on the Summerville Campus. Cocktails 6-7 p.m., Dinner and Dancing, 7-11 p.m. Visit http://www.grupresidentsgala.com/#the-gala for more information and tickets.

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.

March 18 – Match Day, location TBD!

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.


In keeping with the great American spirit, please make it a memorable weekend.

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