“For the sick it is important to have the best.”

– Florence Nightingale

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

There is Nothing Quite Like …
While any week is a good-to-great week at Georgia’s public medical school, we just have to share that the last great week rolled right through the weekend with such a terrific gathering of our alumni back home at their medical school. Too many highlights to highlight really – we haven’t already forgotten our pledge just last week to be more brief – but no doubt one amazing moment was recognizing our 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Dr. Charles Rice thought for a bit that he wanted to be a French horn player. While we are sure he’d be great at anything, we are so glad this 1968 graduate instead became a physician and absolute leader. Because, from what we see, he is that great kind of leader who works hard and inspires.

Coming Home …
He is a Navy-trained surgeon and scientist whose many accomplishments include serving as president of the one-and-only Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which educates health professionals for careers in the Department of Defense and Public Health Service. He has done a ton of other amazing things as well, including serving as a terrific educator of the next generation, trauma surgeon to the President of the United States, a long-time board member of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, and just so much more. He received our award for Professional Achievement. No doubt. Dr. Rice recently announced that he will be retiring from his presidency of the nation’s federal health sciences university at the end of June. We thank him so much for being a tremendous example for us all and add that he certainly deserves a rest and, if he wishes, another go at the French horn. Thank you, Dr. Rice.

Where Everybody Knows … And Appreciates
Did you know that Dr. Clarence Joe who has been around these parts for just a bit – he graduated in 1977 and joined the faculty in 1983 – has a bit of the Public Health Service in him as well? Talk about plenty of awesome common ground between our honorees. He did an internship with the public health service before coming back here to do his radiology residency then left us again to become a lieutenant commander at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in New Orleans. Well service is definitely in the DNA of this Distinguished Alumnus for Loyalty. He has held leadership positions on the Academic Council, Faculty Senate, Alumni Association, Richmond County Medical Society, our hospital’s Medical Executive Staff Committee and as coordinator of medical student education for his/our Department of Radiology and Imaging. Perhaps most engaging about Dr. Joe, is that, like his co-honoree, he is self-effacing in the process of doing so much for others. No doubt, one group he does look out for is our students. He is councilor of the Alpha of Georgia Chapter of the honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha. We really like that smile that seems eternally on his face.

You … For the Amazing Individual and Professional That You Are
You know these individuals, as well as each of you, really touch our hearts and center us there. Because the absolute core of what we do is educate physicians and it’s really hard to describe the sense of pride and purpose that brings, when we look at our alumni and at our future alumni – our students – it really does take our breath sometimes. And that leads us to the great privilege of also welcoming our new Alumni Association president. Dr. David Gose is an internist in picturesque Hiram, Georgia, not too far northwest of Atlanta. This 1999 graduate of our medical school has been on the Alumni Association Board for nearly a decade and, like his classmate, Dr. Buffi Boyd, who just finished a hugely successful and energetic term as president, he cares deeply about his medical school. We thank both our new and outgoing presidents for that. This weekend, the passion so many of our graduates have for our medical school was truly palpable and so very touching. There likely are no more busy people anywhere, but they take time to be here for their medical school. Thank you.

For the Countless Contributions that You Make …
While we are on an alumni role, the next generation of amazing alumni will be walking across a couple of important stages (not much later) this very month! Can you believe Hooding is next week? That’s right, 2 p.m. May 12 at the Bell Auditorium. Be there or be, well, possibly not as inspired as you will be if you are there! This is just such an important tradition for our medical students and for our school when they put on the hood of medicine. Our beautiful hood is silver, blue, red and green! Dr. Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, which has the awesome mission of improving health by accelerating support for medical research, will discuss, “The Physician’s Call to Justice: Healing Patients, Healing the World.” We simply cannot wait to hear her and to see our students on this remarkable day.

To Healthier Lives Today …
We have just one more alumni/faculty story to share today. Our Dr. Brian Stansfield, a 2004 graduate, who spends his days taking care of our tiniest patients as a neonatologist and doing fascinating lab and clinical research as well, was recently honored by the Southern Society for Pediatric Research with the Clinical Science Young Investigator Award. By the by, he also was among the Jag20 award honorees just this past weekend! This is one calmly passionate and productive guy who is tackling tough issues such as how birthweight affects a baby’s long-term health and his amazing findings – more to come on those – are what won him this super cool honor. Congrats to him and to each of you who never, ever just settle for what you know. You have dogged determination to learn more and do better.

And a More Amazing Future
We opened today’s writings with a quote from Florence Nightingale and we could not end without a huge thank you to our nurses, who are absolutely essential to our great health-care team. Happy National Nurses Week, which starts this very day. We are so fortunate to have plenty of amazing nurses, both educating the next generation in our College of Nursing, and taking amazing care of patients in our hospitals and clinics. Nurses like Linda Wise, a 1983 graduate of the College of Nursing, who today is a colleague of Dr. Stansfield’s and so many others in taking great care of babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Like so many of you, she has done a ton of things and could have done most anything. But life’s circumstances brought her to our NICU in 1987. Absolute dedication, devotion to fragile babies who need her and amazing colleagues have kept her there. We thank Linda and so many like her for being a shining example of the best we have to offer.

Upcoming Events

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 14 – Community Celebration of our Athens students’ graduation, 10 a.m., University of Georgia Health Sciences Campus, Marching Grounds, reception immediately following. Go to the George Hall if there is rain!

May 18 and 19 – Third Wounded Warrior Conference on The Hidden Wounds of War, such as mild traumatic brain injury, PTSD and suicide, sponsored by the Augusta University Research Institute, Inc., and the AU Office of the Senior Vice President for Research in conjunction with the Augusta Biomedical Research Corporation and the Augusta Warrior Project. The two-day event kicks off with a reception and dinner and plenary presentations on May 18th at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds Street, Augusta, in the River Room from 6-8 p.m. The cost per person is $10. The Symposium will be held at the Charlie Norwood VAMC Uptown Division-1 Freedom Way, 3rd Floor, 3B-111, May 19th from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Cost to attend to is $30 per person, free for students and residents. The fee includes breakfast and lunch. Register at http://www.augusta.edu/ce/medicalce/2016/woundedwarrior.php.

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!

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.

Have a terrific weekend.

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