“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

-Vince Lombardi

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Another great example…

You know there are days in our lives that just resonate, like the day we marry or have a child or decide what we absolutely want to be when we grow up. For those of us privileged to be a part of the education, the practice, and the future of medicine, there are an additional impactful lot. Like the day you discover some fascinating new aspect about the body. The day a patient goes home who you worried never could. The day information on how some complex body function works clearly clicks in the mind of a student who has refused to quit until he or she gets it. Well these last several days have been particularly impactful days at our medical school. Like most things that matter, they have even been frankly, just a tad nerve wracking as well as our national accrediting body – the Liaison Committee on Medical Education – has been with us for our site visit. But we must also share that there has never been a time to be more proud or hopeful about our medical school. Some 170 faculty, staff and students were our strong front line for this all important site visit. While we do tend to go on a bit sometimes, still we must say here that it would be hard to be more proud of all these individuals. Certainly little is ever truly perfect, but your passion, your knowledge, your commitment to medical education, absolutely are hard to beat. Thank you.


Of how you are simply the best…

The truly huge scope of this effort makes this absolutely one of those times when we hesitate to mention any individuals. Of course there is also the important matter that you all are the Medical College of Georgia. Still we must cite just a few. We thank Dr. Paul Wallach, our vice dean, for his outstanding leadership and direction of this essential process, which started in 2012. We thank Dr. Andria Thomas, associate dean for evaluation, accreditation and CQI, for her leadership, knowledge and commitment. We thank our amazing faculty leads, Drs. Kelli Braun and Bill Pearson, and our chair leads, Drs. Vaughn McCall and Amyn Rojiani. We thank those who served on the many committees that prepared for this all-important LCME visit. We thank as well Facilities, IT, and Academic Affairs in Augusta and colleagues at every campus throughout our great state who contributed immensely to this collective effort.  Much like every day at Georgia’s medical school, they and so, so many of you gave your all and, frankly, we find ourselves in one of those rare situations where we don’t really know what to say. So we find ourselves simply thanking you again. We know that the future of medical education in Georgia and at the Medical College of Georgia could not be in better hands and hearts. Thank you all. We look forward to hearing from our accrediting body this June.

You are terrific educators… and role models

We talk so often – but there’s no such thing as too often – about how frankly inspiring you all are pretty much always. Well, you know, that starts with our students and there are bunches of awesome examples. We really love this one that’s absolutely on target with a pressing need in our state and nation. You see applications are now open for the 5th annual Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference, sponsored by our chapter of the Student National Medical Association and Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs that is set for Saturday, Feb. 27, in the beautiful Harrison Commons. The program gives high school and college students from across the country a chance to see what life in medical school is really like. This one-day conference gives students an overview of the medical school admissions process, opportunities to network, and the opportunity for “hands-on” experience in our state-of-the-art, high tech simulation center, physical exam instruction, and even a suture clinic. Representatives of the Association of American Medical Colleges will also be on hand to talk with students about changes to the Medical College Admission Test and the American Medical College Application Service. Mock interviews for those applying to our medical school will also be held. Talk about one great learning opportunity. Second-year Thomas Hodo and first-year Danielle Whittaker are our fabulous co-leaders of SNMA. Thank you ever so much for your leadership and commitment to your chosen profession.  Check out more here.


Who are definitely looking out… for the next generation

Let’s start this one with a definition! Physics is the science that deals with matter and energy and how they interact in things like magnetism and radiation. Hopefully, that got you thinking about our amazing Department of Radiology and Imaging! Well our Dr. Nathan Yanasak, who happens to be a medical physicist in that very department, absolutely gets how great physics leads to great radiologists who do cool things like optimize the images they get of patients as they minimize their radiation exposure. Well like so many of you amazing individuals, Dr. Yanasak is a leader, in this case, he’s helping lead a national effort to enhance the physics training offered to radiology residents. He along with fellow physicists Dr. Jerry Allison and George David, already have done that right here, where we require our residents to undergo 100 hours of training in medical physics before they graduate! Elsewhere is not always so lucky because you see there is this conundrum: Even though the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires that  radiology residency programs offer a physics component and residents need to understand some physics concepts to pass their board exams, there is no standard way to teach them. To ensure great information is easily available to all, our Dr. Yanasak is now helping manage 45 modules offered free to residents by the Radiological Society of North America and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. We have to throw in here that four of these – on the physics associated with magnetic resonance imaging – were developed right here and still in use. Super cool and gracious!


You have a proud place…In a proud profession

By the important by, did you know there is a group on Facebook called Physician Moms, which is about 45,000 members strong. They talk about all sorts of issues that relate to practicing medicine and being a mother. No doubt both amazingly demanding and rewarding life choices! Their idea was to recognize what they’re calling the first National Women Physician Day coming up Feb. 3. That great day is the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American medical school.  A native of Bristol, England, her parents brought her to our country when she was a child because her father goals included helping abolish slavery. She applied to a bunch of medical schools, but it appears she was only accepted at New York’s Geneva Medical College apparently because the all-male faculty there assumed the all-male student body would never accept a female student. We guess she showed us all and definitely helped pave some amazing ways. She and her sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell, who would earn her medical degree from Case Western in 1854, and their colleague Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, a midwife who graduated from Case Western two years after Dr. Emily Blackwell, count among their many accomplishments the founding of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Its founding was obviously great for patients, but the infirmary also became a place where women physicians, rejected from internships elsewhere, could learn more. Read more of her amazing history and others’ from the National Institutes of Health at http://1.usa.gov/1PS2uaS.


You lead by example…

Speaking of inspiring great care and great training, we are super pleased to share that our student-run, faculty-supervised Equality Clinic of Augusta, Inc., has been granted 501c3 status. This is yet another terrific reason to support this exceedingly important effort to help ensure medical care to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors. Like anything that truly matters, this is a real group effort by students, faculty and staff from our medical school as well as those from our university’s physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dentistry, nursing and mental health programs. How can this important effort continue to be anything but successful with a lineup like that! We thank and congratulate again the mighty members of this team. We particularly want to thank at this juncture, Dr. Alexis Rossi, our director of diversity training and evaluation, for her leadership as clinic advisor and president of the board. For information on how to help, please visit http://bit.ly/1PnaYub and learn more here www.gru.edu/lgbt.


And live to learn…

We leave you today, with yet another example of how your endless desire to learn more about our bodies and brains is making a difference, every day, in so, so many ways. While we have never met a disease that was good, there is little doubt that schizophrenia is among the toughest of the tough. Our Dr. Brian Miller, like so many of you, doesn’t only take care of these patients, he looks for better ways to do this. And, like so many major diseases, he is picking away at the role we are finding that inflammation plays. He has recently secured a grant from the nonprofit Stanley Medical Research Institute to do a small clinical study that will help determine if a monoclonal antibody that directly targets a key regulator of inflammation can help. We certainly wish him and our patients’ success in this endeavor to improve disabling learning and memory problems that can occur with this disease. We also thank the Stanley Medical Research Institute for its support of our work here and for its global efforts to combat schizophrenia and bipolar disease. Please check out morehttp://bit.ly/1PkZDuv.


Upcoming Events


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.

June 17 – Southwest Campus 10th Anniversary Gala, location to follow!

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

You all have earned a terrific weekend. Enjoy!

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