“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

-Abraham Lincoln


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Old Friends…

It is so terrific that our alumni are such a big part of “we.” Saturday night and this entire week frankly, were filled with spectacular displays of their commitment to their medical school. Our Alumni Association and MCG Foundation held a remarkable regional reception in Augusta this past Saturday and there were better than 225 folks gathered at the Marriott on the beautiful Savannah River in downtown Augusta. While there was a ton of usual fun with great food and friends, there were super cool academic traditions as well such as 14 of our endowed chairs receiving beautiful die struck antique silver medallions, graced with an image of our original home and our proud founding date of 1828. This group included so many great individuals, including our Dr. Jin-Xiong She, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine, a truly prolific, innovative scientist and leader. Check out this terrific piece the Georgia Research Alliance – another terrific partner – just did on him, http://bit.ly/1OZWi1d. Many of our student scholarship recipients were pinned as well, including Trever Biles, Kerrie Grunnet, Tolson Nichols, and Jordan Paynter, all deserving recipients of academic merit scholarships made possible by the Board of Directors of our Foundation, which, of course, are mostly our amazing alums. These are the kind of full circles we adore.

Super Students…

We talked last week about how so, so many of you were again giving of your time and passion to participate in the university’s annual Day of Service. We thank you again. We wanted to share this week how our students at the Southwest Campus absolutely did their part. This past weekend, they, in terrific partnership with Phoebe Putney’s Network of Trust and the Dougherty County School System, reached out to k-12 students with diabetes and their parents for a lunch and learn where they ate and talked about how to eat well. Such a great idea to include parents in this opportunity! Our students made the educational offering fun and even more impactful with a little food bingo to help teach food groups. Of course our students learned a lot as well about the importance of relationship building, community partnerships, and supporting someone with a chronic disease, says our Dr. Sandra Mobley, campus assistant dean for curriculum. Another wonderful win-win and we particularly thank our students Alex Pan and Bailee Blackburn for their leadership role in this super-relevant community service. Check out more here, http://bit.ly/1KqSztI. Have we mentioned lately that this, our first regional campus, is a decade old this year? Remarkable.

Remarkable Offerings…

This was another great learning opportunity a little closer to home base: Career Development 101 for Early Career Investigators. Like most great programs, this one – and the Southwest Campus program on better eating – grew to meet a real need. Our newer research faculty have been asking for a quick study early on about the significant infrastructure resources available to them here. So folks such as Dr. Carl Clark from the Office of Innovation Commercialization gave a thumbnail sketch on tech transfer and Brenda Seago, director of university libraries, talked about those amazing resources. We thank Drs. Nita J. Maihle, Lisa Middleton and Ralph Gillies for pulling together a series of these 15-minute bits on what’s here for our scientists. Jennifer Bowen from the Convention and Visitors Bureau even gave a snapshot of our community! We hear this just may become an annual event and we absolutely vote yes on that one. The event was co-sponsored by the Cancer Center, Office of Leadership Development, Educational Innovation Institute and Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

Powerful Professionals…

We all know a medical school and its faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students absolutely exist to change the world for the better. And, it’s hard to get much better than taking on a condition that affects one in three Americans. Our Drs. Laura Mulloy and Matthew Diamond were investigators on a large, federally funded study looking at optimal blood pressure management that found that keeping our systolic pressure – the number at the top – at 120 or lower significantly reduces the rates of cardiovascular disease and death in patients age 50 and older. The more common target for that top number is 140. In announcing the terrific findings, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Director Dr. Gary H. Gibbons said: “This study provides potentially lifesaving information that will be useful to health care providers as they consider the best treatment options for some of their patients, particularly those over the age of 50.” A powerful statement and contribution, no doubt. We thank Drs. Mulloy and Diamond for their contributions to this landmark study and to better lives for our own patients and families. We thank as well the 129 patients from our health system willing to help find a better way. Check out the findings here http://1.usa.gov/1OGHUL9 and two cool stories on our participation here http://bit.ly/1Ogbzhk and here http://bit.ly/1FhhqzR.

Terrific at Finding Knowledge… And Sharing It

How’s this for super cool news. Our Dr. David Blake is a star – here of course – but also on the episode of Hack my Brain, Season Two, scheduled to air Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. on the Science Channel (locally on Comcast 110, high definition at 222)! This neuroscientist whose research interests include how learning can keep our brains agile with age worked with the series star, 40-something year old Todd Sampson, on improving his sense of touch. One way, and you cannot believe how hard this is, is to stand on one foot with your eyes closed! We hear he’ll also try to open a safe by detecting tumbler clicks with his fingers. Now that is some fine feeling! All fun aside, our sense of touch, like so many of our senses, dulls with age and can leave us vulnerable. Reduced feeling on the bottom of our feet, for example, can make us more apt to fall.  Our Dr. Blake is working hard to ensure that doesn’t happen to Todd or any of us. Great job! A little more background,  Dr. Blake’s mentor as a postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco, was brain-plasticity pioneer Dr. Michael Merzenich who is a consultant for Hack My Brain, which also airs down under (in Australia) as Redesign My Brain. Todd and the rest of the show’s crew were filming in our city about this time last year. Definitely check this out but remember, if you try to play along, you HAVE to close your eyes when you stand on one foot! 

Who Are Fabulous Hosts to Boot… Define You and the Medical College of Georgia

Finally today, we have had another sort of visiting star with us this week.  Dr. Margaret Mary Steele is Vice Dean for Hospital and Interfaculty Relations at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in beautiful Ontario. She has been visiting with many of you this week as a Council of Deans Fellow of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a program designed to strengthen the leadership ability of individuals who might one day have the distinct privilege of being dean of a medical school. We must say that Dr. Steele is already an exceptional leader and a terrific individual and we appreciate her interest in our medical school. We also thank the AAMC for including us in this terrific opportunity. But mostly, of course, we thank so many of you for sharing your amazing insight and experience. Our best to Dr. Steele as she moves forward. Come back to see us any time.


Upcoming Events

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

Sept. 21 – Medical Scholars Research Symposium, Harrison Commons, noon, keynote speaker Dr. James C. Oates, Division of Rheumatology & Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, discussing, “The Career of an Academic Investigator: Straight Road or Branching Path.” Poster sessions, 1-3 p.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.

Nov. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, location to be determined.

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

Dec. 10 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

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.

Jan. 22 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

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

Feb. 18 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting and Awards Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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!

March 25 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

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 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend

May 12 – Hooding 2016, location and time TBD.


Enjoy the last weekend of the summer of 2015!

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