“The life of a man consists, not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Seeing a void…

We wrapped up last week with our students and alums so we just had to start out with them this week! How could we not? As individuals they are such amazing people and collectively such a terrific living legacy for Georgia’s public medical school. Second-year Josh Wickstrom, for example, knows what it’s like not to have a doctor because there wasn’t one in his middle Georgia hometown of Soperton, population now just over 3,000. Rather than just move on, he wants to change that. Lisa Townsend grew up in the San Diego suburbs where there were, no doubt, plenty of docs, still she had a longing to live and serve in a rural environ. Right now she is learning more about how to do just that with her studies in Jefferson County, Ga. Growing up in Nigeria, Julianah Ayeni had relatives living in rural areas that had to travel hours to see a physician. Now, she not only wants to be a specialist but one who serves rural areas where often even primary care docs are in short – or no – supply. These three are among the inaugural students of our Rural Health Track at the Southwest Campus based in amazing Albany.


And committing to fill it…

This major initiative at our oldest regional campus, the Southwest Campus, targets students, such as Josh, who are from a more rural area and want to serve such as an area as a physician. The opportunity to dive into a community that needs you absolutely is compelling but also has a unique set of challenges in addition to the joys, and our rural health track will help students get a first-hand understanding of both. So cool and so super relevant to our state where 110 of our 159 counties are considered rural, according to our State Office of Rural Health. In reality, our entire now decade-old regional campus network has this issue at its very core: giving medical students the opportunity to live and learn in a variety of settings that both prepare and inspire them to be great doctors committed to the communities they serve. Just awesome. We want to thank WellCare of Georgia for its recent contribution to support our rural health track down Albany way. See Tom Corwin’s terrific front-page piece about this in yesterday’s Augusta Chronicle. 

That’s just part… Of your being a terrific role model…

Okay, this alum – who also happens to be a department chair and senior associate dean for faculty affairs and primary care – is certainly no stranger to these writings or to this medical school, which he has never left since the day he arrived in 1970 as a freshman! In case you don’t want to guess who we are talking about, it’s our Dr. Joseph Hobbs. This week we can add to his many accolades being honored at our university’s Black History Month Faculty Recognition Celebration last Friday. This star of many stages is a definite winner. Do you remember us talking recently about how he just took up the mantle of president of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine! Just in case you want to hear more from him (pun again intended), check out the weekly Medical Minute he does in partnership with our colleagues at Georgia Public Radio about the remarkable research at our medical school.


In your lives and work…

While our second honoree last Friday is not an alum, we definitely would be happy to claim her as one. Dr. Betty Pace is actually a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin and she is our interim division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology. In addition to a career helping battle sickle cell disease, she is a leader of one of seven nationally-funded PRIDE – Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research – programs, which works to inspire and consummately prepare a future generation of successful scientists. Another one of those hard to argue with moments! The program here focuses on hemoglobin and red blood cell disease. If this also sounds good to you, please check it out here or at PRIDE’s site. They are now accepting applications for this summer (which will be here before you know it!).


Which will no doubt ensure…

We also wanted to share that AU Director of Athletics Clint Bryant was honored with the very distinguished service award at the event for his role in shaping a great future for our university and the next generation overall. No doubt a well-deserved honor for such a great man, personally and professionally. Did you know he oversees a 13-sport athletics department? Wow, that almost sounds like multitasking. He also supports an approach to sportsmanship that helps the young players he mentors be successful both off and on a sports court or field. And they win a bunch of games to boot. We have it on good authority he was a winning basketball player himself at North Carolina’s Belmont Abbey College. Seriously cool. He also is one of those individuals who, like so, so many of you, absolutely loves what he does and it absolutely shows. Our congratulations and thanks to all the Black History Month honorees and to all who inspire a better next generation!


An even better generation is ahead…

No doubt it’s hard to argue with an event that promises and delivers great food, drink, fun and, of course people. This time we are talking about the Bonne Santé, a simply delightful gathering at Pine Knoll Farms that raised awareness and funds for National Kidney Foundation programs for patients and families as well as those at risk for kidney disease. Co-chairs for the event were chef extraordinaire Todd Ginsberg along with our Dr. Laura Mulloy, who knows no bounds in her fight against kidney disease and for patients and families. What a winning combination. Lots of other great AU and MCG faculty were there – like our Medicine Chair Dr. Mike Madaio, who also happens to be a hard-working nephrologist – to enjoy and help raise over $40,000 for such a great cause. Our congratulations to all, particularly our Dr. Mulloy. Another impressive example of your commitment to our community. We just have to also thank transplant recipients David James and Parker McDaniel for sharing their stories and time to help others. Total win-win.


And a strong legacy is always behind…

Finally today, speaking of a fun group, how could there be a better one than the surgeons who trained at and/or work at our medical school and hospital! Well that is who and what the Moretz Surgical Society is about and they also just got together to talk, well surgery, and catch up. This distinguished group rightly bears the name of longtime MCG Surgery Department chair who became university president in 1972, Dr. William H. Moretz. Our thanks to current surgery chair, Dr. Charlie Howell, for continuing to grow this great group. This year’s president is B. Carter Rogers, a general surgeon in the vicinity of Covington, Ga., who went to medical school and did his surgery residency with us! This year, a small group got their prestigious red surgery department jackets for their long-time accomplishments/contributions. They include, drum roll please, our Professor Emeritus Dr. Louie Griffin, who was a resident when Dr. Moretz was still chair; Dr. Bruce MacFadyen, a former chair here; the famous and fun Dr. Harold “Chubby” Engler, who was a faculty member under Dr. Moretz; and Dr. James Wynn, another of our fine graduates of both medical school and residency who went on to do a transplant surgery fellowship at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and ultimately became our longtime chief of transplant surgery. Quite a row of red this year! Our congratulations and thanks to all.


Upcoming Events


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

March 18 – Match Day, noon, Harrison Commons.

March 24 – Educational Innovation Institute’s Health Sciences Education Day with the theme “Instructional Technology in Health Sciences Education,” noon-5 p.m., Harrison Commons. See http://www.augusta.edu/mcg/academic-affairs/eii/eiihealthscienceseducationday2016.php.

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 27 – Inaugural celebration and investiture of President Brooks Keel, details to come!

April 28 – Spring Induction Ceremony, AOA Honor Medical Society, 4 p.m., 1210-B Harrison 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. http://www.augusta.edu/mcg/students/hoodinggraduation.php

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 great weekend!

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