“People ask me all the time, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ And I say, ‘Spicy Mexican food, weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks.”

-U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Our Graduates are Leaders…

You know part of what we are privileged to do in the dean’s office is to represent your medical school at so many events across the state and nation. And literally everywhere we go we see the impact your medical school makes in the contributions of our graduates and the lives they have changed. This past weekend, during the Medical Association of Georgia 161st House of Delegates meeting in simply superb Savannah, we saw our Class of 1962 graduate, Dr. Phillip L. Roberts receive the Lamartine Hardman Cup, which is given to a physician who has solved an outstanding problem in public health, made a discovery in surgery or medicine or contributed to the science of medicine. Dougherty County Medical Society nominated Dr. Roberts as the founding father of hematology and oncology services in Albany. In fact, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s cancer center is named in his honor. How wonderful is that?


And Role Models…

As if that weren’t enough, Dr. John S. Harvey, a 1978 graduate, was elected MAG president. This Atlanta surgeon’s honors already include receiving MAG’s highest honor, the Aven Cup, for his role in civic affairs. This long-time volunteer with the Georgia State Defense Force, honored for his work with Katrina victims a decade ago, promised to advocate for MAG’s program to train physicians to respond to natural disasters, disease outbreaks and other emergencies. See what we are talking about?  And that’s still not the whole story.  Dr. Joy A. Maxey, an Atlanta pediatrician and another tremendous volunteer who has held numerous leadership roles with MAG, including serving as the first female president, who you guessed it, is also an MCG graduate, received the Joseph P. Bailey Jr., M.D., Physician Distinguished Service Award which, of course, honors our 1955 graduate and LONG-time faculty member. Seriously. Of course our students were there with presentations about their research and, well, you could just feel the awesomeness. It’s hard to get much better than this!


You are Doers and Shakers…

Except every time we say that, you do just that. One of the zillion awesome things about each of you is that pretty much every time you do something, you strive to do it even better than the last time you did it. And, your hearts – and minds – are absolutely focused! The CSRA Heart Walk is a great example of these stellar attributes. Last year, with the help of so many of you, this local campaign raised $596,000 and we had more than 4,500 walkers. How are those numbers for getting your pulse racing! Well our Tony Wagner, EVP for finance, is chair of the 2016 Walk, which will have the fun theme “Hang Ten at the Heart Walk.” Our Shawn Vincent, VP for Strategic Partnerships, is heading up the Heart Ball. Our health system is the AHA’s Life is Why Sponsor this year as well. Of course, our amazing community is absolutely stepping up per its usual as well, with companies huge and small, lacing up to take on our country’s number one killer. So many of you daily battle potentially debilitating and deadly cardiovascular disease in our hospitals and clinics, our research labs, even on the home front. As Mr. Wagner said this week at an AHA leadership briefing, it’s hard to find one among us – one among any group – not touched by this. Thank you once again for (always) being such great leaders.


Absolute Change…

So you know how we were just talking about your diligent fight against cardiovascular disease! Well few have been fighting harder, longer and more successfully than our Georgia Prevention Institute! It was founded better than three decades ago to help fill in many important education and research blanks in health promotion and disease prevention, frankly long before it was trendy to do just that. This diverse, passionate group of scientists and staff daily take on tough issues like the impact of adverse child experiences, such as rape, on children’s long-term cardiovascular health, see http://bit.ly/1OUwwgF. Really quite a group. Well last Friday, more than a dozen high school science teachers from Richmond County spent their afternoon at our GPI learning more about cardiovascular risk – even getting a peak at key elements like the stiffness of their own arteries. Just a win-win by all accounts that you can check out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU3hFF47xNE thanks to Arthur Takahashi, digital media coordinator extraordinaire at our university. We thank our Dr. Ryan Harris, clinical exercise physiologist, for leading this electric charge and our medical students who have spent time at the GPI doing research and came back to be fabulous hosts for this. They are, drumroll please, Margaret Snyder, Roberto Alva-Ruiz, Haruki Ishii and Ryan Brandt. How is that for terrific teamwork! Thank you all.


And Happy Heart Makers…

We just have to include one more important cardiovascular note here today! Please absolutely join me in congratulating Dr. Vincent J.B. Robinson, a nuclear cardiologist who directs our cardiovascular disease fellowship program, as the inaugural Glen E. Garrison, MD Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine.  Please also join in absolutely thanking Dr. Garrison, who continues to make such a tremendous contribution to our medical school and to the fight against cardiovascular disease. For those of you who never had the pleasure, Dr. Garrison is another LONG-time faculty member. He was Chair of community medicine and helped design our very first coronary care unit. Awesome. He is currently helping take terrific care of our veterans at the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Our Dr. Robinson is super well-established and accomplished as well, a true pioneer in fact. For example, 10 years ago he was already making inroads in pairing clot-busting drugs with a test that screens the blood for evidence that the body is already trying to break up some dangerous clots. Now that is some seriously smart multiplication. So is this. The great joy of this important new chair was packaged in a celebration this week of a second, super outpatient home for cardiovascular services on 15th Street in the former sports medicine location. Terrific all around.


You Ooze Unparalleled Commitment…

We hope we share a lot of fabulous and useful info about our medical school here each week. But it recently came to our attention that we missed some pretty big news over the summer so let’s make up for that now! Many of our anesthesiology residents called her “mom” and even as they finished up and went on to practice their chosen profession, have stayed connected to this very important member of their family. She is Susan Dawkins, who recently retired after 31 years of super service. Ms. Dawkins has worn many hats well in her tenure with us and, as she planned her exit, she was wearing at least four as coordinator of our residency program, anesthesiology clerkship, pain medicine fellowship and anesthesiology critical care medicine fellowship. Whew. Makes us need our anesthesiologist to help us breathe just hearing about it. As with so many fine individuals who share their lives with us, Ms. Dawkins will not be forgotten. Our Dr. Steven Dubin and Pam Rosema helped absolutely ensure that by establishing the Susan Dawkins Resident Education Fund. How terrific and appropriate. Speaking of our anesthesiology alums, they will be getting together this Sunday in San Diego at the American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting. Great idea. Let us know how it goes (and we will try to report that in a timely manner)!


With Terrific Help… From Amazing Partners…

You know, we just have so many terrific colleagues across our community, state, nation and beyond and we love to share their successes when we can. We are happy to share this week that St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens – we just have to have another drumroll – was named the 2015 Large Hospital of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. This annual ‘large” award recognizes the impact of hospitals on individuals, on the health and wellbeing of Georgians and the quality of life in our communities. Among its many contributions in these arenas, St. Mary’s was lauded by Alliance President Monty Veazey for helping address the state’s physician shortage by successfully launching an internal medicine residency program in close collaboration with our Medical Partnership. Of course, these folks are all-around good citizens, providing millions in charity and uncompensated care, partnering with other community organizations to offer free mammograms at senior centers, as the area’s only hospice provider and so much more. Indeed, Mr. Veazey noted St. Mary’s general unwavering commitment to health and community. We absolutely agree. Thank you and congratulations to our partners at St. Mary’s. We absolutely want to thank here as well our Drs. Shelley Nuss, campus associate dean for GME, and Peter Yunyongying, internal medicine program director, at the Athens campus for their invaluable help and terrific success.


Your Efforts… Recognized by Many…

Speaking of great citizens, your great story just goes on! Our Dr. William Salazar was recently recognized for his volunteerism and community service by the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians. As one of two statewide winners, this dedicated physician is automatically nominated for the national Oscar E. Edwards Memorial Award for Volunteerism and Community Service from the ACP. Our Dr. Salazar, who has been a faculty member here for 18 years, is the President of the Asociaciόn Latina de Servicios of the CSRA (ALAS), and medical director of the Clínica Latina, a free clinic that provides medical services to underserved Hispanics in our community. His research involves medical communications and humanistic issues in medicine and he has been honored time and again by our medical students, for whom he is a terrific role model. He is a national contributor as well, chair of the Diversity Committee of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, a member of the Communications Task Force of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the United States Medical Licensing Examination Test Material Development Committee and on and on. We thank Dr. Salazar for his service on so many important fronts, for giving his time, energy and passion to our community and to our medical school.


And Appreciated by All…

As we wrap up this weekly electronic connection, it’s a great reminder of how information technology makes our lives better in countless ways. But as with most things, there are tradeoffs. How are these for some scary ones? About half of U.S. adults had their personal information accessed by hackers in 2014. In the last six years, data on about one third of our nation’s population was compromised in more than 1,100 breaches at organizations handling protected health data, according to The Washington Post. The great news is that we are on it! Our Fort Gordon is home of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, which is helping develop policy and people to optimally manage this threat. Our university is home of the Cyber Institute, which will help education the next generation of IT workers who also will fight for cyber security. In keeping with that leadership role, our university hosted a terrific annual conference last Friday on this timely topic. President Keel welcomed to our Harrison Commons quite a distinguished lineup that included honorary hosts former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. Just a stellar group all the way around including keynotes Sean Roche, deputy director of the CIA’s Directorate for Digital Innovation, and Stephanie O’Sullivan, principal deputy director of national intelligence. It’s very comforting to know that such terrific talent it taking on this very real challenge. Our congratulations and thanks to Provost Caughman and our Cyber Institute Director Joanne Sexton.


Upcoming Events

The Alan Roberts, M.D., Mini-Medical School runs through Nov. 3, 6-8 p.m., Health Sciences Building, EC 1204, see http://www.gru.edu/ce/medicalce/minimed/ or call continuing education at 706-721-3967.

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. We are happy to report that this event is sold out!

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.

Oct. 30 – Alpha Omega Alpha Induction Ceremony, Lee Auditorium, 4 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, Health Sciences Building, EC 1210.

Nov. 18 – Faculty & Staff Service Recognition Dinner honoring employees with 20, 25, 30, or 35 years of service, Legends Club, 6:30p.m.

Nov. 19 – Great American Smokeout Commit to Quit, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., JSAC Breezeway, Summerville Campus; Harrison Commons lobby; Children’s Hospital of Georgia lobby. For more information visit http://www.gru.edu/tobaccofree/.

Dec. 6-8 – Liaison Committee on Medical Education Mock Site Visit

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.

Jan. 24-27 – LCME Site visit

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 6 – Dean’s State of the College Address, noon, Lee Auditorium.

May 12 – Hooding 2016, Keynote speaker, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, President, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, location and time TBD.


Have a terrific weekend.

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