“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

-Booker T. Washington


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


You have a healthy rhythm…

As some of us attempt to shuffle across the dance floor it may not seem like we have any rhythm, but in scientific reality we all have (at least) a circadian rhythm. Like the consummate rhythm of day and night, a healthy circadian rhythm keeps us in terrific tune. But much like when our attempts at the two-step become a three-step, a messed up clock can be just bad for us. Our Dr. Daniel Rudic, a vascular biologist, is an expert in these rhythms. In fact, he showed us a few years back how a broken or missing clock in our blood vessels can increase our risk of vascular disease. Well this time he has shown us that in the presence of a messed-up rhythm/clock, a low-salt diet and a hormone that constricts blood vessels both raise resting – aka sleeping – blood pressure. How is that for messed up! While sleep is something most of you hard-working faculty, staff, students and residents likely don’t get enough of, we all know peaceful sleep is essential to give our body a chance to recover from being awake. Just more super cool and relevant work that makes us all scratch our heads and maybe even consider a nap. You can absolutely learn more here http://bit.ly/1QdtNMt.


A strong voice for children…

You know, you all just keep on hammering away at the stuff that can hurt us in your relentless effort to keep us well. And certainly nothing is more important than looking out for our children. Our Dr. Katie Davis, an expert on the effects of fatness and fitness on young bodies and brains, and Dr. Martha Tingen, who can tell you pretty much anything about the hazards of smoking and how to stop, have given us more evidence of the awful effects of second-hand smoke on children. They looked at passive smoke exposure in 220 overweight or obese 7-11 year olds from around these parts and found smoke exposure to be a super-unfortunate multiplier of bad stuff. Children with proof-positive evidence of smoke exposure – cotinine levels in their blood – had larger waists and every single cognitive measure was worse in these children. We really like how Dr. Tingen put it: All the bad things fat does to us, passive smoking makes worse. Another definite head scratcher here and absolute call to help protect children from known hazards to their health and future. As you can imagine, lots of interest in this as well, see http://bit.ly/1R3mRGB.


A commitment to the excellence… that our veterans…

You know, as we so love to say, you all are just an amazing lot and we absolutely love this weekly opportunity to remind you of it! Should we go daily?? Just kidding, although there is no doubt that your amazing efforts deserve all the attention possible. Well part of what we are privileged to do here at our medical school and university is to help take care of the amazing veterans at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. This fabulous facility, just across 15thStreet from our adult hospital, is owned by the Georgia Department of Veterans Affairs, but we are privileged to help manage it. Well our terrific colleagues at Georgia War, lovingly called the Blue Goose, have received Pinnacle Quality Insight’s 2016 Customer Experience Award in nine categories! Pinnacle gives senior care providers a measure of their customer service and it is simply super that our Georgia War provides such exceptional care to our veterans. That puts Georgia War in the top 15 percent of the nation, which is great but hardly surprising news. Our endless thanks and congratulations to the staff, to long-time Executive Director Charles Esposito, Associate Director Charlton Deese and to medical director Dr. Nidhi Gulati. Just awesome colleagues who understand the true honor in caring for our veterans.


And all our patients absolutely deserve…

How is this for another stellar rating! Our Department of Pathology had a surprise College of American Pathologists Laboratory Accreditation Program site visit last Friday when 22 inspectors showed up. Talk about starting the weekend off right! This prestigious group was looking at quite literally every test we do, from Pap smears to biopsy reports to bacterial and viral tests. This was another huge effort – and unlike our recent LCME visit – this one was not even scheduled! It involved more than 250 individuals, from lab personnel to medical directors to hospital leaders, says our Pathology Chairman Dr. Amyn Rojiani. It was extensive in its review as well, from physical facilities to calibration of equipment to the qualifications and training of all lab personnel. Well, once again, you each made us proud because you, per your usual, were on ready and absolutely professional and friendly to boot. You know, as we seek to provide the best care to our patients, we absolutely must have the best information about what is great and problematic with their health. Exceptional testing is absolutely key and we thank our pathology department for providing such. Our congratulations and many thanks to a terrific team.


Your efforts garner amazing partners…

As we are so happy to regularly report, the fact that you all are so amazing means you often garner amazing support from other incredible individuals and groups. In this case, we are so pleased to share the continued support of the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, which has given us $1.45 million to help us fund the construction of a larger, multidisciplinary transplant clinic. The beautiful new clinic, which we should start building in August, will be on the third floor of Professional Building 1, at the corner of Laney-Walker and 15th Street. Our new clinic will rightfully bear the Mason name. Did you know that we performed our first kidney transplant in 1968 and that Dr. Arthur Humphries, who completed his surgery residency with us, is the founding director of that great program? Once again, what a legacy and what a future.  We so appreciate the ongoing support and commitment of the Mason Trust to ensure access to care for Georgians who need a kidney transplant. We also cannot thank them enough for their support of our medical school, our teaching hospitals and, most importantly, our patients. We are super pleased to also share that the Mason Trust has given an additional $1 million to support innovative science right here that will improve the success of transplants and the lives of patients. We are working on a big piece about that for our next issue of MCG Medicine magazine. Absolutely more to come!


And leadership roles… Across our nation

As we begin our exit today, we also want to proudly share that David Mork, a super-experienced health care leader who is executive director of Roosevelt Warm Springs Hospital, has been elected to serve as an alternate delegate to the American Hospital Association’s Section for Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation. As you know, we have a proud affiliation with historic Warm Springs, which provides inpatient rehabilitation and long-term acute care. This AHA group has the clearly similar focus of improving the continuity of care as patients move from an acute care setting to rehab to long-term care and to improving services to chronically ill, elderly and disabled individuals. David also is serving a two-year term on Regional Policy Board 4 of the AHA, which meets several times each year to discuss policy issues and alternatives. There are nine of these boards nationally and they help improve communication about AHA-related policy across our great nation.  Region 4 includes our great state as well as Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee. We clearly think David is a great choice and thank him for his leadership and desire to serve.


In honor and memory… Of a truly great alumnus and leader

Finally today we say goodbye to another great individual, physician and leader. It is probably very telling that Dr. Billy Mayher was flying by the time he was 15 and that he quite literally and figuratively never stopped. The native of Columbus, Ga., had his pilot’s license as a teenager and flew for 52 years with a commitment and skill that earned him the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.  You see, while his commitment to flying is remarkable, it actually is astounding when you consider that he brought this same level of enthusiasm and skill to everything. This 1964 MCG graduate practiced neurosurgery for nearly 30 years in awesome Albany. In fact, he was able to pull his love of flying and medicine together as a senior FAA aviation medical examiner. He was Chairman Emeritus of our MCG Foundation board, had served on the board since 1994 and twice served as chair. Our foundation board President, Dr. Jim Osborne, shares that Dr. Mayher was critical in guiding and transforming our foundation into the modern institution it is today, an institution with a heart and soul for our medical school. Certainly his support of his alma mater has been remarkable. While those huge accomplishments alone should more than suffice for any one person, Dr. Mayher also served as chair of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. He had served on the leadership of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. And since 1993, was chairman of the board of the Atlanta-based television broadcast company Gray Television, Inc., which has television stations in top markets across our nation. Volumes could and should be written about this amazing man who absolutely made the most of his life and whose impact and commitment will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.


Upcoming Events


Black History Month – Please visit http://www.augusta.edu/diversity/bhm/events.php for a full schedule.

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, noon, Harrison Commons.

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.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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