“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”

-Duke Ellington


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Spring is nearly sprung … and Match Day is about to strike

It’s back! That touch of cool in the morning air that is somehow distinctive from those first fall days. An incomparable blue sky above. Those first buds peaking at you from the neighbor’s oak tree. Spring 2016 is nearly upon us and that means so is Match Day 2016! Can you believe that, no doubt, one of the most exciting days of medical school is here again next Friday at noon.  Our senior class president Stephen Jackson tells us childhood heroes will be the theme for this year’s festivities in Augusta so there are bound to be lots of cool visuals and memories. We also hear talk that all the seniors at the Partnership campus in Athens might be opening their envelopes in one fell swoop. That will be super if it works out but, either way, this is just a seriously great day. Most of what makes it great is that our students are absolutely the best and can – and do – compete anywhere. We so hope that their dreams for the next step in their medical education will absolutely come true. We just have to add that we hope many of them dream to stay right here with us. Hopefully you all remember last year’s results, where 30 percent of our students opted to stay in Georgia, 20 percent right here at their medical school and health system! Super cool. We want to say to our seniors that we are with you next Friday and always!


At our medical school … where the impact you have is lasting …

Speaking of our fabulous students, one of the things we absolutely need to ensure that we keep attracting the best is scholarships! We are super excited to share this week that Dr. Sol J. Hazan, a psychiatrist and pharmaceutical researcher who we lovingly refer to as one of our adopted alums, came calling from Las Vegas to deliver a $250,000 scholarship for our students honoring the late, great Dr. Sam Singal. Dr. Singal likely needs no introduction to many of you. His 40-year career here included serving as founding dean of The Graduate School. In fact, he was also the first director of our super Student Educational Enrichment Program, or SEEP. Talk about a mover and a shaker for all the right reasons! Well while Dr. Hazan was attending our medical school part-time from 1949 to 1953, he was working in the lab of this legend, who he absolutely considers a mentor. His father’s health necessitated that he move back to California, and Dr. Hazan graduated from the University of Southern California’s medical school and went on to work at Roche in the days when things like Librium and Valium were being developed. He did a ton of amazing things in his career, including serving as a forensic psychiatry expert, as commanding officer of the Army health facility in Bamberg, Germany and as chief of medicine and health safety on the world’s first nuclear powered cargo/passenger ship!


In fact, inspirational …

From his earliest days as a young scientist, Dr. Hazan began investing a part of his annual salary. Now he is giving once again to “his” medical school. He’d already endowed a scholarship fund for medical students with a financial need, good grades and great empathy for patients. Now he has established this second scholarship to honor his and our Dr. Singal. This first-generation American says the philanthropic spirit was instilled in him early when his uncle, Morris Schinasi, who died in 1929, left $1 million to fund a children’s hospital in his hometown of Manisa, Turkey. At a ceremony earlier this week, Dr. Hazan told us that his hope is to instill in other graduates of this great place the thought that the career and good living they earn, might also be used to replenish the place they learned and those who taught them. What a terrific and humbling sentiment. We find ourselves again in one of those situations where the words are tough to find. But please let us share here our gratitude to both Dr. Hazan and Dr. Singal for their contributions to our world and to our medical school and university. We are also super pleased to report that a super self-portrait of Dr. Singal is now hanging in the second floor of our J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons, where so many students gather to study. Our hope is that it and he will also inspire future generations of innovators and philanthropists.



Where you constantly go that extra mile …

You know, one of the many lessons learned almost daily by many of us is the continuum that is necessary for true greatness of an individual or an institution. We are all so in this together and we continue to be inspired by the effort that each of you make to be the best you can be and to help our 188-year-old medical school continue to evolve into a place where anyone would be proud to have their portrait hung. In keeping with that great spirit, our Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine this past Saturday had its first-ever SMART & LEAN Workshop. This was not about a new weight-loss strategy, well not that kind of weight anyway. But it is about an all-hands approach to cut fat and inefficiency – and ultimately cost – and find the optimal way to do whatever needs doing, in this case, the super-important task of providing great care to patients. Companies, such as Toyota, have used this logical approach to absolutely shine, and our department chair, Dr. Steffen Meiler is pulling all his great faculty, staff and residents together to first identify key areas of concern then to find optimal solutions. We are not talking here about the cheapest way to do things. We are talking about the BEST way to do things, based on experience and evidence, rather than just “that is the way we have always done it.” No doubt, this is just a terrific way to also solidify teams that work as an efficient, effectual and happy unit!


To do your important work …

In fact, the discussion is already prompting increased team building across departments with the likes, for example, of Dr. Alan Herline. He’s, again, our very first Harrison Endowed Chair who came back to us (he is a 1994 graduate!) just a few months ago from Vanderbilt to be our vice chair of surgery and chief of minimally invasive and digestive diseases surgery. Well Dr. Herline had been involved there in an enhanced recovery following surgery program that addresses inconsistencies in care and wanted to see a similar program right here. Another one of those hard-to-argue-with moments! At the anesthesiology gathering, Dr. Jim Mayfield led a discussion on what their department could do to help make this happen. Now that is some teamwork and lean-work! We absolutely want to commend Dr. Meiler and his entire department for going the extra many miles to ensure the best for our patients and for really everything we and they do. We thank as well Dr. Caryl Hess, the university’s director of leadership development, and Kay Roman, director of project management for Institutional Effectiveness, who helped put together this important first gathering and the all-important follow up.


With both eyes open … to do it even better

No doubt great things happen when you come together, great things like the recent Alan Roberts Visiting Professor and Lecture, honoring this late, great physician, individual, educator and ethicist. This year’s lecturer was Dr. Kathy Kinlaw, associate director of the Emory University Center for Ethics, who gave two great lectures actually, including one on the complex and difficult topic of neuroethics in the neonate. The lecture hall was packed with faculty from many of our colleges at AU along with residents and health sciences students and faculty. Our thanks to the tireless Dr. Bill Strong, who chairs the medical ethics committee, was our long-time chief of pediatric cardiology and who co-founded our famous Georgia Prevention Institute, for ensuring that ethics remain front and center at our medical school.


In absolute keeping with our proud 188-year legacy …

Okay as we wind this down, we just have to say that these writings today, well most of our writings actually, remind us of the great legacy of our medical school and how fortunate we are when we get to keep – or get back – our own graduates because we know they are great!  Folks such as the late Dr. Winford H. Pool Jr., who chaired our Department of Radiology from 1974 to 1987. But that was hardly his start with us. He is a 1952 graduate, who completed his radiology residency with us and then spent all his years, between 1957 and 1985 (except two) right here at Georgia’s public medical school. Yep, he was here during the explosion of technology such as CT and MRI, when the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center was born and when radiology generally began having a visible presence in our hospital. In perfect keeping with Dr. Pool’s amazingness, the annual Pool Society gathering is typically also a showstopper, this year focusing on ultrasound in clinical practice. We have talked about how this painless, safe window into the body has now even found its way into our undergraduate curriculum. Anyway, great gathering that pulled in folks from pretty much the Southeast, and included many our super cool alums such as Drs. Dan Hanks, Class of 1969; Dr. Sandra Freedman, Class of 1968; and Dr. Perry Moore, Class of 1960! Cool group and we thank radiology chair Dr. Jim Rawson for keeping this great gathering going.


Upcoming Events


March 18 – Match Day, noon, Harrison Commons in Augusta; noon, George Hall on the University of Georgia Health Sciences Campus in Athens.

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 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.


Don’t forget to spring those clocks forward when you go to sleep on Saturday!

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