“Don’t let anyone tell your story. Pick up a pen and write your own.”

-Majid Kazmi


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


The investiture of a president…

We know resting is an unnatural state for most of you at Georgia’s public medical school, but we are prescribing at least a little this weekend in preparation for the amazing week ahead at our school and university. We are talking some serious stuff that includes (time for one of those deep breaths) the investiture of President Brooks Keel, a President’s Research Symposium honoring one of our own, a celebration of our distinguished history and fabulous future, Alumni Weekend and more. There will be big fun and fellowship through at least Sunday. The actual inaugural celebration and investiture of President Keel is at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the beautiful Augusta Convention Center over on Reynolds Street and a reception will follow.  You can check out the full week of events here inauguration.augusta.edu/events/. Among the coolest things is his Q & A with students at 4 p.m. this very Monday in the J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons. All our campuses can watch augusta.edu/stream and students can submit their questions via Twitter using #AskKeel!


Is definite cause to celebrate…

You know our president was a student himself here once. He was actually at both great institutions which came together to form this great one. He earned an undergraduate degree in biology at Augusta State then came over this way, and earned a PhD in reproductive endocrinology before doing his postdoctoral work at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in Vermillion. His great education and hard work led to him serving as associate VP for research at Florida State University, vice chancellor for research and economic development at Louisiana State University and, of course more recently, president of Georgia Southern University. He would also become a prolific scientist in areas such as control of cellular growth and development of reproductive tissues and, like so many of you, has been very successful in securing funding, including the gold standard dollars from the National Institutes of Health. Also, like so many of you, he has been and continues to be a national player in the science world, including currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Bioanalysis. By the by, he also is a father of two, grandfather of one and he and first lady Dr. Tammie Schalue, also a scientist, have two cats and are certified scuba diving instructors.


Honoring the accomplishments… Of a 40-year faculty member…

We say all that so you will continue to know more about how Dr. Keel’s history coincides with ours and also with our longtime endocrinology chair Dr. Virendra B. Mahesh. Dr. Mahesh will be (back) with us next week for the President’s Research Symposium where he will be honored (yet again) for his legendary contributions to his field. You see, he too was an honored leader. We thought this was one of the neatest things: About a dozen years back, The American Physiological Society established an award that bears his name that in turn honors the best paper presented by a graduate student or postdoc at the Experimental Biology meeting. Of course, the list of his accomplishments and honors is at least as long as his tenure here.


Absolutely is as well

Dr. Mahesh joined the faculty in 1959, moved up those ranks pretty quick, became chair in 1986 and retired in 1999, but of course, he really didn’t retire retire, because he kept doing important stuff like serving as editor-in-chief of Biology of Reproduction. It’s the journal of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, by the by, and Dr. Mahesh’s many honors include that prestigious group’s 2005 Distinguished Service Award. Well, Dr. Mahesh was actually still chair when Dr. Keel was a grad student and our president shares that Dr. Mahesh “was essentially a personal mentor to everyone who ever came through that department.  In addition to being a world-renowned scientist, his heart, and his focus, was always on the students, first and foremost.  His impact was felt by many!” No doubt, Dr. Keel and thank you for sharing! Check out more about the daylong symposium this Tuesday right here,inauguration.augusta.edu/presidential-research-symposium/.

A definite ditto on celebrating our alumni…

Now all those fine festivities – and more – should definitely set the mood for Alumni Weekend which kicks off Thursday at 2 p.m. with the Drs. Robert and Lois Ellison Lectureship in the Lee Auditorium. You know it is going to be great when it’s in the name of these two MCG greats. No doubt this will be a great gathering because it’s happening in the 125th anniversary year of our great Alumni Association! Did you know that as of (just about) this minute we have more than 11,000 living and located alums and 5,203 of them live in Georgia. Awesome. Check out more about our alums and their/your medical school in the brand new fact sheet hot off the press, http://bit.ly/22Qxdvi.

We are definitely throwing a ton of info at you this week and hope you are liking at least most of it! Now, back to Alumni Weekend, we’ll give a mini state of the college and tour of the super Simulation Center Saturday, have reunions for our Classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 at the Marriott, and a fun Emeritus Club breakfast Sunday morning for folks who graduated 40-plus years ago. Let us absolutely note that this is an amazing group. We also have the distinct privilege of honoring our alums who have died since our last Alumni Weekend later that morning.


Because there is such a long, proud legacy

During all these events, our Department of Neurosurgery will be having an amazing event of its own celebrating the 60th anniversary of neurosurgery at our medical school. Back in the day, neurosurgery was mostly done by general surgeons. Then Dr. Richard Franklin Slaughter came to us in 1937. It’s worth noting here that at that time, our faculty saw patients at University Hospital, which was our teaching hospital until we opened our own in 1956. Dr. Slaughter came to us by way of medical school at the University of Virginia and faculty appointments at places like Boston City Hospital and the Lahey Clinic. Some of those first cases were for trauma and things like tumors on the main nerve connecting your inner ear and brain. Heavy duty. Our very first neurosurgery residents, the late Dr. Ernest F. Daniel and Dr. Marcelino Chavez, finished their training in 1959. So many individual’s collective efforts would enable growth of a full-fledged department – from a section in the Surgery Department – in 2002 with the appointment of pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Lee as the first chair.  Our Dr. Cargill Alleyne became chair five years later. You can learn more about this department’s proud history here augusta.edu/mcg/neurosurgery/history/. As with so many things at our 188-year-old medical school, we are super proud of such a great legacy and super excited about what the future holds.


At our medical school and university… Of contribution and caring…

Speaking of a proud history of taking care of people, our Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home has a proud tradition of taking care of veterans. What an awe-inspiring job and the amazing staff there continually rise to this important occasion. And, by the by, Georgia War itself is almost 50. Well this facility just ranked in the top 15 percent of senior health care providers for patient satisfaction. Wow (and this is not the first time it’s shown its award-winning stripes). This recognition is from Pinnacle Quality Insight. Pretty much all you have to do is spend a bit of time over there and you likely will start passing out these kinds of honors to them yourself. Our endless congratulations and thanks to Charles Esposito, executive director, and the amazing team that take such great care of our veterans. Did you know we operate this great facility that is owned by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service. And did you know it’s lovingly called the Blue Goose.


And such great promise…

This is just one of those weeks where there is still so much to say, but we don’t want to wear out our welcome with you so we are going to wrap up here with a note that will ensure you yet again that the future is as bright as the past. Last week, the Augusta University Graduate Student Government Association, which represents our medical students as well as other students enrolled in graduate programs across the university, recognized our own MCG Associate Dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs, Dr. Kimberly Loomer, at its annual spring ceremony with its award for integrity. Chosen based on the awesome qualities of accountability, ethical behavior, honesty and reliability, the students cited her for using her position “to help students become grounded, well-rounded, fearless student leaders who aren’t afraid of diversity and inclusion. The integrity and reliability of her team has produced a haven for student groups and student empowerment,” students wrote.


For an even brighter future

The association also recognized our second-year student, Thomas Hodo, with its award for leadership, based on his service as co-president of the MCG Chapter of the Student National Medical Association, which hosted two regional SNMA meetings and was named Chapter of the Year in its region. “Thomas has organized and facilitated many great general body meetings while making sure to mentor the next generation of SNMA leaders and health professionals who are underrepresented in medicine,” they wrote. First-year student Jacline Griffeth was also recognized for her commitment to inclusivity. “Embracing diversity is one of Jacline’s greatest strengths. She consistently invites you into her life, regardless of how long you’ve known her and open-mindedly accepts your friendship,” said classmate Jane Puntkattalee. The association is ably led by second-year student Evan Monson and first-year Faysal Akbik serves as vice-president. The association also honored PhD student Jasmine Fuller with its award for compassion and dental student Christy Keyser with its award for excellence. Nothing else needs saying except thank you and congratulations.


Upcoming Events


April 24 – AU President and First Lady host A Toast to AU: A Celebration of our History and a Look to our Future at the Fountain at Main Entrance of the Summerville Campus, 4-5:30pm

April 26 – Daylong President Research Symposium, Lee Auditorium, will focus on the significant contributions of Dr. Virendra Mahesh, Regents professor and chair emeritus of endocrinology, http://calendar.augusta.edu/event/presidents-research-symposium-celebrating-the-impact-of-our-history-spotlight-on-endocrinology/.

April 27 – Inaugural celebration and investiture of President Brooks Keel, 2 p.m. at The Augusta Convention Center, 901 Reynolds Street. Reception immediately following.

April 28 – Spring Induction Ceremony, AOA Honor Medical Society, 4 p.m., 1210-B Harrison Commons, 1968 graduate Dr. Charles Rice will discuss, “The Gold Headed Cane, Its Origin and Meaning.” Dr. Rice, president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences for more than a decade, will retire from this prestigious post at the end of this academic year.

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, “The Physician’s Call to Justice: Healing Patients, Healing the World,” 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, http://www.augusta.edu/mcg/students/hoodinggraduation.php.

May 13 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

May 17 and 19 – Academic Affairs and the Educational Innovation Institute present “Teaching Medical Learners About Substance Abuse Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment,” Dr. Aaron Johnson, Institute of Public and Preventive Health, GB 1120D, 3-4:30 p.m.

May 26 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

June 16 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Aug. 12 – New date for the State of the College address, noon, Lee Auditorium!

Aug. 22 – The Department of Surgery and EII present “Teaching During Procedures: Similarities and Differences from Other Settings,” Drs. Kelli Braun, Karen Draper and Steven B. Holsten Jr., BI4081, 8-9 a.m.

Sept. 21 – The Department of Emergency Medicine and EII present “Meeting Essentials and Gaining Awareness Through Immersion (MEGAi days), Drs. Beth McLear and Patricia Bowman, AU College of Nursing, AF 1008, 10:30-11:30 .m.

Oct. 26 – The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the EII present “Interprofessional Education: Where We Are and Where We can Go,” Drs. Renee Page, from OB-GYN, and Dr. Scott S. De Rossi, from the Dental College of Georgia, BI4081, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Nov. 4 – The Department of Pediatrics and EII present “Resilience and Wellness Training: Study Results with Pediatric Residents,” Dr. Alex Mabe, BT1810, 8-9 a.m.

Nov. 4 – Body Donation Memorial Service, 1 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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

Dec. 6 – The Department of Medicine and EII present “Implementing and Accessible and Effective Internal Medicine Residency Noon Conference Curriculum,” Dr. Thad Carson, BC140, noon-1 p.m.

Please rest up for the big week ahead!

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