“The body never lies.”

-Martha Graham


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Great Guests… With Amazing Experiences to Share

Two incredibly distinguished guest speakers this week shared some terrific insight on the absolute importance of public health with our first-year students. Dr. Dan Blumenthal, President of the American College of Preventive Medicine was part of the World Health Organization public health team that traveled to Bihar, India in the late 1970s to help eradicate the last known cases of smallpox. “You’ll never see a case of smallpox in your practice, and that’s because of public health and epidemiology,” he told our students. It’s hard to argue with that kind of bottom line! This physician, who is boarded in pediatrics and preventive medicine, has served as a VISTA Volunteer physician in Arkansas, an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC and is founding Chair of the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine.


Great Students… Who Are Absolutely Here to Learn

Dr. Gary Nelson, president of the Healthcare Georgia Foundation, also has worked at the CDC and served as Program Director at The California Wellness Foundation. The mission at his Healthcare Georgia Foundation is to advance the health of us all and expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, which is absolutely at the core of public health and great health. He reminded our students that the poor health of some groups contributes to the overall health of all groups and that there should definitely not be a health penalty associated with living in rural Georgia (or anywhere). What an absolutely timely and relevant message for students and all of us at the state’s medical school! We thank our esteemed visitors for sharing their invaluable insight.


Alumni Who Keep Their Homes and Hearts Open… To Their Medical School

We absolutely love it when we have terrific guests such as Drs. Blumenthal and Nelson, and we equally enjoy being the visitor. We must add that, much like visiting a favorite relative, visiting with our alumni is the best time ever. We recently had the distinct pleasure to attend an Alumni Association Regional Reception in Valdosta where our 1977 graduate, Dr. David Retterbush, a general surgeon in Valdosta for better than 30 years, was just an incredible host. Our Dr. Charles Hobby, Class of 1967, spent time with us as well. This recently retired radiologist practiced medicine at South Georgia Medical Center for over 40 years and an interventional radiology suite there bears his prestigious name. How cool is that. We were also honored with the presence of our Dr. Clyatt W. James, Class of 1963. He has worked in Macon in general practice for 28 years, worked a few years in occupational health then headed to Florida’s Gulf Coast. A few years back, he decided to come home to Georgia, this time, to Valdosta. A much-belated welcome back Dr. James! Some future alums, AKA our students, shared in the fun and fellowship. Stephanie Baker and Sarah Jansen from our Class of 2017 particularly wanted to thank the fine physicians down that way for opening their practices to students. Let us add: hear, hear!


Amazing Accomplishments…

We shared with you a few weeks back the latest list of students elected into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.  Well, like them, the event late last Friday afternoon was absolutely terrific and we thank Dr. Clarence Joe again for his leadership of this amazing and growing group on our campus. The topic “Leaders as learners… And learners as leaders,” definitely worked for this crowd where everyone absolutely is a leader. In fact, our inductees this time included a university president, Dr. Charles Rice, our 1968 graduate who is President of the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences, and now a brand-new member of AOA! While there is much talk, including by us, about leadership, it really is a unifying theme for our development and growth as a dynamic learning organization. It’s essential really to fulfilling our mission of improving health care for Georgians as we train and develop tomorrow’s health care leaders. Who could ask for a bigger privilege packaged with so much pure joy and inspiration.  Thank each of you yet again for the hard work and leadership you display each day to ensure that our medical school soars.


That are Needed… And Noticed

Here’s a great example. Medicaltechnologyschools.com looks at trends and dynamics in these fields, which are absolutely essential to health care. We are talking, of course, about amazing professionals such as respiratory therapists, phlebotomists and ultrasound technicians. Well medicaltechnologyschools.com has named our Dr. John McManus among the “25 Emergency Medicine & EMS Professors You Should Know.” We absolutely agree. About this time last year, this past Director of the US Army’s EMS Department helped us start our area’s only paramedic program. About a year before that, Dr. McManus came on board here to help us start an EMS fellowship for emergency medicine physicians who want to also help provide prehospital care streetside. Did we mention he created the first emergency medicine fellowship in the Armed Services and closed the last Army field hospital in Iraq? Just a snapshot of an individual who, like you, is making a true difference. Simply super. Check it out here http://bit.ly/1GLyhvH.


On Virtually Every Stage…

Speaking of a stellar lineup, our Drs. Sylvia Smith and Yutao Liu in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy are both serving on the Department of Veterans Affairs Joint Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development and Clinical Science Research and Development Services Scientific Merit Review Board. Wow, just reading the title is work, but what important work. Our Dr. Liu, a geneticist who focuses on the eye who we introduced to you a bit ago, will serve on the Subcommittee for Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Smith, a retinal cell biologist who just happens to chair our department, will serve on the Subcommittee for Neurobiology-F. Bottom line, they will help determine which important science gets VA support. Dr. Liu’s area covers both basic and clinical studies in mental disorders such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. This fine scientist can help makes these important decisions because he also has human genetics and epigenetics experience with PTSD and other problems. Our Dr. Smith will review grant applications relevant to eye diseases of our veterans such as diabetic retinopathy (one of her study focuses), traumatic brain injury-associated vision loss, as well as new devices to assist veterans with visual tasks. What important work that not only helps drive science but also helps improves the lives of our veterans because, as with your own studies, the bottom line always is: How can we help people?  What accomplished individuals to help with such great work. Thank you both.


Research that Tackles Tough Issues… With Our Bodies…

Let’s stick with the super science theme just another couple of minutes. We talked last week about some awesome studies going on right here in our cardiovascular systems and our brains. Well you always give us so much more to work with. This week we are pleased to share with you that our Dr. Katie Davis and her colleagues shared with the world recently that weightand physical activity factor into a child’s ability to acquire and use knowledge. This pioneer has already provided us evidence that exercise improves the ability of previously inactive, overweight kids to think, plan, even do math, never mind that it helps with stuff like reducing anger expression and diabetes risk. Well now she has given us some of the first evidence that weight also matters. Of course, she also reminds us, that with a little help from parents and schools, children can grow into their weight. Fabulous, on-target information.


And Brains…

And speaking of keeping things moving, our Dr. Erhard Bieberich has shown us more about how our bodies keep our cerebral spinal fluid moving. You know from looking at that backyard birdbath that stagnant fluid is just not a great idea so who would want that in our brains! Well, we already knew that our blood pressure helps keep cerebrospinal fluid moving and now Dr. Bieberich has found that ceramide, a lipid that also helps keep our skin looking good, helps keep moving little finger-like appendages called motile cilia on the cells that line the fluid-filled cavity of our brains. You guessed it: the motile cilia, in turn, help keep the fluid moving! Great mental image here. By the by, ceramide also helps algae move toward the light! Super cool/relevant info from your medical school. Learn more herehttp://bit.ly/1Oph3a6 and here http://bit.ly/1NpkcoO.


Amazing Gifts… That Are Truly Priceless

Finally today, we circle back to our students and to our Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, which manages our medical school’s body donation program. Like each of you, our body donation program is absolutely essential to the Medical College of Georgia. Because no matter how amazing lifelike mannequins, virtual patients and electronic textbooks may be, there simply is no better way to truly learn human anatomy. And, there is no more precious gift given to our medical school than someone choosing to donate his or her body. Of course, our faculty and our students absolutely rise to this glorious gift. Our students’ faces reflect the intensity of the learning and the respect and awe. Our anatomy faculty exude their love of sharing the unparalleled knowledge that is contained in a single human body. Next week, about this time, they all with gather along with many families to honor this truly priceless gift that so many have chosen to make to us. Please join David Davis, President of our sophomore class, and our brand-new first-year class president Tunde Fariyike, co-chairs of this beautiful service at 1 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 13, in the Lee Auditorium. If you can’t be with us there, please stop by our cinerarium between the Sanders and Interdisciplinary Research Building whenever you desire a few quiet and meaningful moments.


Upcoming Events


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

Nov. 14 – The GRU Faculty Club presents the Oldies Dance at Forest Hills Club House, 7-10 p.m. Dance and enjoy pizza, salad and good fun.

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

Nov. 20 – After Hours gathering by the GRU Faculty Club, 5:30 p.m., Oliviana’s at Surrey Center. No reservations required just informal fun.

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 fun and hopefully drier weekend!

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