“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

-Albert Einstein


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


You do an amazing job …  And definitely make an impression…

You know, you are such amazing mentors, such amazing, well, just fill in so many important blanks: physicians, scientists, financial managers, future physicians, administrative assistants. You are just a terrific example of how so many great pieces make a truly awesome whole, in this case Georgia’s public medical school! Well our Dr. Robyn Hatley is such a great example of that great example. While we can’t claim he went to medical school here (he went to University of Kentucky), he came to us for residency training before leaving us for a short period to do his pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, then came back to join our stellar pediatric surgery team. So 20 years ago this past November, he put a dying newborn on ECMO to try to save her life. This past summer, this amazing young woman, who is now a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, came back to our Children’s Hospital of Georgia to shadow with Dr. Hatley because you see, Ellyn Strother also wants to be a doctor. How cool is that? Hopefully some of you saw the cover story of our magazine about this summertime shadowing and the 30th anniversary of our amazing, award-winning ECMO program and team, see http://bit.ly/1nagxkF. Well, Stefany Bornman, at our local ABC affiliate aired a terrific piece on the remarkable reunion this past weekend, http://bit.ly/1RAtp0c. Like you, this is just awesome.


You take on the toughest disease … With a smile on your face …

Part of how and why you are awesome is your relentless pursuit of knowledge to enable a healthier future for all of us. You just don’t want any disease tackling anybody. Our Dr. John Cowell came to us back in 2008 from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo to be associate director for basic science at our Cancer Center. This accomplished scientist has, as one of his many goals, eliminating cancer’s uncanny ability to spread. It’s the spreading that is most deadly, and despite its unfortunate, prominent status, there still are no drugs that directly target metastasis. Cowell and his team have recently reported that WASF3, one of a family of proteins known to help healthy cells move, may be a terrific target. Cancer commandeers WASF3’s cell movement skill and keeps it turned on. His group worked with Dr. Eileen J. Kennedy at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy to develop so-called stapled peptides that interfere with WASF3’s relationship with another protein that helps keep its shape and function and, voila, they suppressed the ability of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells to metastasize. That is definitely a big score for the home team but, most importantly, in the fight against cancer. Our best in seeing this one through to a super successful end. Check out more http://bit.ly/1lwQwea.


And determination in your heart …

No doubt, a powerful weapon in the war against cancer is our Department of Radiation Oncology and we are pleased to announce that our second newest department (Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine is the newest) has received three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology. The college’s Radiation Oncology Practice Accreditation Program recognizes quality radiation oncology practices and makes recommendations for what still needs doing.  As with most goals that matter, this accreditation follows a rigorous review by peers from across the nation that the faculty and staff in our department are absolutely doing what they should for patients. We so appreciate the college’s decision and the amazing accomplishments of all our faculty and staff in less than three short years. Just terrific.


You seek and secure …  All kinds of ways to help patients …

So we who are privileged to care for patients and families are (most days!) really liking the immediate access to patient information that electronic medical records provide. We just have to note here that this electronic record also is a lot easier to read than some of our handwritten observations. Well, it’s super clear how this kind of connection helps us take care of our own patients or someone referred to us from our terrific colleagues within our health system. Well GRAChIE, or the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange, is helping the great health care providers across much of our state hook up with each other as well, which is just terrific for the patients of Georgia as well as the physicians, hospitals and other practice sites where they get great care. GRAChIE is turning three this year and the focus is on referral centers in our home base of Augusta along with Macon and Savannah. About 25 places – and counting – are absolutely on board with this example of collaboration at its best. The lineup started with our Health System, Augusta’s Center for Primary Care and Pediatric Partners of Augusta. It now includes great places like Navicent Health (formerly Medical Center of Central Georgia) in Macon and Savannah Vascular & Cardiac Institute.


And you do all of the above … Great …

About the time that GRAChIE was starting out, Tara Broxton Cramer was helping this important new initiative get its sea legs and, shortly after, she absolutely came on board as its executive director.  Since then, Tara has been nurturing GRAChIE as the important initiative she knows it to be. She is working diligently and enthusiastically to strengthen the cohesive networks for health systems like ours so that our collective efforts on behalf of patients are their absolute best. Like so many of you, she is a national leader in her burgeoning field as well, having co-chaired an annual meeting of the National Cooperative of Health Networks and being honored with that organization’s New and Emerging Leader Award. Well this time, she is being recognized by Health IT Outcomes, a leader in the intersection of health care and IT, as a proud member of the 15-member Health IT Change Agents Class of 2015. These folks are all pushing boundaries, and Tara quite literally is doing that and more. We congratulate and thank her for her enthusiastic commitment to better patient information and care. We also thank the health care providers of Georgia for being part of this growing, winning team.


Because at your core …

So you know at the heart of what we do and who we are is educating the next generation of physicians for our state and beyond. No doubt, some of the best fun we have and inspiration we receive is going out and visiting with those terrific alumni!  Last week we made it over to marvelous central Georgia and the home of Dr. Paul and Allison Turk, who cohosted, along with Dr. Bob and Stacy Lane, a terrific gathering of our anesthesiology alumni from that area of the state. You see, Drs. Turk and Lane are both 1984 graduates and completed their anesthesiology training here and, in keeping with that “next generation” their sons are both graduates as well.


You are the Medical College of Georgia …

Well we can hardly talk anesthesiology without also talking about our chair, Dr. Steffen Meiler, who graciously joined in, sharing updates on his department, including plans for expanding postgraduate training, and was even asked to share his super research to enable patients with sickle cell disease to live healthier lives. As you can imagine, lots of great folks were part of this gathering including Dr. Gene and Janet Kelly. Dr. Kelly is a 1957 graduate, an Augusta native whose three older brothers also are graduates of our medical school. In fact, Dr. Kelly is a bit of an MCG anesthesiology historian, who studied under the famed Dr. Zachariah W. Gramling, our department chair from 1973-84 who did a bunch of amazing stuff such as found the respiratory therapy department in the College of Allied Health Sciences and play a key role in establishing the Trauma Center.

187 years strong …  and counting …

See what we mean by awesome alumni! Then we ambled over to awesome Athens for an after-hours reception at the Athens Orthopedic Clinic where nine of the 20 docs are MCG graduates, did their residency here, or both! Talk about a winning combination.  This amazing practice was started 50 years ago by Dr. William “Butch” Mulherin of the Class of 1961. We just love this continuity! Of course, as with Dr. Meiler and anesthesiology, we couldn’t talk serious orthopedics without our chair, Dr. Monte Hunter. Dr. Hunter was a familiar face to many in this great gathering because he had helped train them in their chosen specialty. So as we amble out of here today, we love winding up on the note that the work you do has such a major impact on people whose work has such a major impact. Wow. That’s some seriously sweet inspiration.


And finally … Our LCME visit is HERE!

Starting this Sunday and continuing through Wednesday, we have our LCME accreditation site visit. So many people have worked so hard for so long (actually we began LCME preparation three years ago!) and now it is time! If you are directly involved in meeting with our surveyors, thank you again for all your preparation. Please be ready and enthusiastic in telling our guests about our school. If you are not directly involved, please still be mindful of our important visitors, encourage your colleagues who are directly involved and, per always, also be on ready since our surveyors will be touring our hospitals and educational facilities in Augusta. LCME is absolutely everybody’s business. Let’s go forward to our survey with confidence, knowledge and pride. We have a great medical school. Thank you all.


Upcoming Events


Jan. 24-27 – LCME Site visit

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

Feb. 1 – The Graduate School invites everyone to two performances by Theater Delta,http://theaterdelta.com/ at Augusta University. The interactive performance exploring the graduate student-faculty mentor relationship will be held from 4-5:30 .m. in the Lee Auditorium.  A similar performance on research ethics and integrity will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom on the Summerville Campus.

Feb. 11 – Augusta University Day at the Capitol.

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., Regional reception, 6 p.m.

March 4 – The Alan Roberts Memorial Lecture, noon-1 p.m., Lee Auditorium, Kathy Kinlaw, Director of Emory University’s Program on Health Science and Ethics.

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, Harrison Education Commons.

April 29 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend. On April 29, Department of Neurosurgery 60thanniversary lunch and CME, noon-4 p.m., BI3079; MCG Dean’s Reception, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Education Commons followed by MCG Alumni Association Banquet, 6:30 p.m., also at the Harrison Education Commons. April 30, MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, 9:30 a.m., Harrison Education Commons; President’s Cookout, noon-2 p.m., at president’s home, Twin Gables, 920 Milledge Road; MCG Class Reunions, starting at 6:30 at the Augusta Marriott for Classes of 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. May 1, MCG Emeritus Club Breakfast, Augusta University Alumni Center on 15th St., 9:30 a.m.; Memorial Service, 10:30 a.m., Alumni Center.

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, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium.

May 13 – Graduation, 2 p.m., Civic Center.

June 16 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Have a terrific weekend!

Leave a Reply