“There is no substitute for hard work.”

-Thomas A. Edison

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Our Children’s Hospital… Is Simply the Best

We talk a lot about how awesome you all are and you just keep proving it! Hope you already got this great – and perhaps slightly more objective – review this week but we just had to share and/or repeat. Our Children’s Hospital of Georgia has been ranked the highest performing children’s hospital in the nation in quality and safety compared with 122 of its peers. The ranking comes from the University HealthSystem Consortium, which also ranked our hospital top in pediatric care for all of 2014. What can we say but awesome and congratulations. In his comments on this terrific honor, our Dr. Charlie Linder, Chair of Pediatrics, talked again about the team effort that makes this, and really, everything we do, well doable. No doubt, Dr. Linder. We simply could not be more proud and certainly this amazing, sustained team effort could have no better cause.

Our Community’s Effort… On Behalf of Children…

Our children really are our future. Just last week, we talked about a record $1.4 million in donations for the amazing services and programs at our children’s hospital. Well, we are profoundly proud to share this week another amazing community endeavor for children that, through hard work, is also thriving in our midst. Press On, a fund of The Community Foundation for the CSRA, was formed 15 years ago by Stephen and Erin Chance to help fight – and win – the too-difficult battle against neuroblastoma. Their son Patrick had just been diagnosed with this cancer that often starts in nerve cells in the adrenal gland, typically in infants and children. Three years later, Turner and Tara Simkins expanded the fight when their son Brennan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Patrick died January 9, 2012 and Brennan is in remission. Much like your work at our children’s hospital, these families’ efforts honor their children and all children. Please see http://pressonfund.org/about/. Who could find anything more pure than that?

Is Absolutely the Best As Well

Just yesterday, these amazing families, now in powerful partnership with Jeannette and Tony Loop, who had lost their dear son Angelo, announced that they have donated $2.5 million to help fund translational studies that will identify much-needed new pediatric cancer treatments and help bring more recently discovered cancer therapies to children in our community. The JANUS Research Group, Inc. (http://www.janusresearch.com/), where the Loops are a member of the executive team, have made a long-term commitment to this priceless effort. In announcing the amazing gift, Mrs. Simkins said, “When you hear there are no curative options for your child, it stops you in your tracks.” Certainly that takes our breath and so does the generosity and commitment of these families. Our absolute best wishes for the success of this much-needed new program. Please take a few moments to learn more here http://www.gru.edu/cancer/presson/.

We Are Building… On an Amazing Legacy…

You know, this amazing medical college has such a long, proud history. We came across another piece recently that shows the far-reaching impact of our alumni and our faculty – and the ones who happen to be both. The late and truly great Dr. Hervey Cleckley, a 1929 graduate and long-time faculty member of our school, came to our minds recently with this Wall Street Journal piece by Terry Teachout, see http://on.wsj.com/1FkfrFL, highlighting Dr. Cleckley’s amazing skills in describing the complex personality disorder psychopathy, or sociopathy, in his famous work, ”The Mask of Sanity.” In fact, Dr. Cleckley helped define the characteristics of psychopathy and truly does a beautiful job of bringing it to life in his book. While we could never equal Dr. Cleckley’s ability to describe this condition, it most simply means individuals whose behavior is amoral, antisocial and manipulative. We are sure you have also heard of Dr. Cleckley’s other famous book, “The Three Faces of Eve,” co-authored with Dr. Corbett Thigpen, a 1945 graduate of our medical school and former student of Dr. Cleckley. Wow, see why we can’t help but talk about our distinguished past and fabulous future!

Toward an Even-More Amazing Future…

And speaking of our fabulous future, the terrific annual GME leadership Development Program Retreat was held this week. It was another great opportunity and gathering for our residency program directors and coordinators, chief residents as well as our GME colleagues at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. By the by, we are privileged to have some of Eisenhower’s residents come here and vice versa. This great group was able to learn more about results of our recent faculty and resident survey, which showed many of our residency programs are exceeding national norms.  Awesome! These great programs, in turn, had the opportunity to share their magic with everyone. Our famous Dr. Walter Moore, longtime leader of GME for our medical school and teaching hospitals, gave an update on residency accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. No doubt most of you remember limits this group made to resident work hours years ago. Now ACGME has instituted CLER, or the Clinical Learning Environment Review, Program that ensures we also focus on quality and safety of the environment for both the resident and the patient. We absolutely agree. Our endless thanks for the tireless efforts of our GME Office by Dr. Moore, Candice Henderson, Mary Stephens, Erica Bass and Shawnda Claxton.

And it’s Your Hard Work.. That Is Making it Happen

One more bit of just great news about our educational efforts! We are super pleased to share that under the leadership of Dr. Mike Diamond, we are now among 15 institutions In our nation helping train the next generation of physician scientists in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Diamond is PI for the new NIH-funded Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development Program. In fact, he has been involved with the program since it started 17 years ago. Getting a program going here was one of his goals when he came to us from Wayne State University as our chair of Ob-Gyn. The program is for junior faculty as well as residents or fellows who have just completed training at locations across the nation or at our very own medical school. Recruitment for the $1.7 million program, which will train two physicians at a time for up to five years, starts this month! We thank Drs. Nita J. Maihle, Ayman Al-Hendy and Lara M. Stepleman for also taking a leadership role in this and many other endeavors.

One Day at a Time…

And finally today, I wanted to share with you something more personal than usual for these weekly writings. I do so because, like you, this man, who I am privileged to call my uncle, made a real difference in the lives and health of so many. Earlier this week my uncle Dr. Garrett O’ Connor passed away. Garrett, who emigrated from Ireland and became a renowned expert on alcoholism and addictions, was on faculty at Johns Hopkins and at UCLA, was former medical director for the Betty Ford Clinic, and recently served as board member of RiverMend Health, who owns the Bluff Plantation addiction facility here in Augusta.  Garrett was extraordinarily kind to me and I was immensely proud to follow in his footsteps in becoming a psychiatrist and in emigrating to America. My thoughts are with his wife of 40 years, renowned Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan, and his three children and grandchildren.


Upcoming Events

Sept. 9 – The Educational Innovation Institute, or EII, hosts Career Development 101, 1:15-4:30PM in the Greenblatt Library, Room AB 108, on the Health Sciences Campus, for faculty with primarily clinical and teaching responsibilities. This faculty orientation event offers practical suggestions and resources on teaching, promotion and research.  RSVP to EDI@GRU.eduby Aug. 26. Participation fulfills the Preparing to Teach expectation for teaching faculty.

Sept 9 – The university’s Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit, “Connecting Awareness to Action,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. Keynote speaker CNN Commentator Marc Lamont will discuss “Building Community in an Hours of Chaos: Progress in the Age of Obama.” For a complete schedule and registration visit gru.edu/diversity/summit/.

Sept. 11 – The GRU Faculty Club hosts the academic year’s first after-hours social gathering at 5:30 p.m., Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant, 3064 Washington Road.

Sept. 12 – GRU Day of Service, http://calendar.gru.edu/event/day-of-service-2015.

Sept. 12 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Augusta, 6 p.m., Augusta Marriott.

Sept. 13 – MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, Harrison Commons, 9:30 a.m.

Sept. 14 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

Sept. 15 – EII in collaboration with the GRU Cancer Center hosts, Career Development 101 for Early Career Investigators, 8:00AM – 12:30PM in Cancer Research Building, Room CN 1102, on the Health Sciences Campus.  The primary goals are to orient early career investigators to the multiple, research-related resources on campus, provide practical career development strategies, and foster connections among research faculty.   RSVP to Lisa Middleton by Aug. 26.

Sept. 17 – University Senate Fall Assembly/New Faculty Welcome, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Alumni Center Ballrooms, Health Sciences Campus.

Sept. 21 – Medical Scholars Research Symposium, Harrison Commons, 11 a.m.

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

Oct. 8 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Albany, Doublegate Country Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 8, 9 – Patient- and Family-Centered Care Annual Conference with keynote Allison Massari, an in-demand speaker, entrepreneur, executive coach, and interdisciplinary artist. The conference will be held from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 9 in the Lee Auditorium. For more information call 706-721-7322, email pfcc@gru.edu and to register go to http://www.grhealth.org/patient-family-centered-care/9th-annual-pfcc-conference-2015.  For live streaming, please visit: http://www.gru.edu/stream/.

Oct. 10 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.

Oct. 13 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Rome, Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 15 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Savannah, Home of Dr. and Mrs. Melvin and Roberta Kamine-Haysman, 6 p.m.

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. Visit http://www.grupresidentsgala.com/#the-gala for more information and tickets.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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-May 1 – Alumni Weekend

May 12 – Hooding 2016, location and time TBD.

Have a great Labor Day weekend. You have absolutely earned it!

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