“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”

-Russell Baker

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Class of 2020 …

Can you believe that we are just about finished seating the Class of 2020! Seriously. We had gotten our first few applications about this time last summer and, here we are just weeks away from matriculation 2016. Our hard-working Admissions Office and Admissions Committee share that we again had more than 3,000 applicants for our 230 freshman positions – 190 right here at home base and 40 at our awesome, second four-year campus in Athens in partnership with the University of Georgia. We’ll let you know more about how this class lines up when they actually matriculate Aug. 1 (that’s when all is really official) but we are always super excited to see that next generation showing up for the first day of class. Some of us who have been around here a bit remember when we were talking about 2020 like it was some distant dream. Now, it is definitely in focus.


Will soon be revealed …

We wanted to share with you this week the names of a group of individuals who have one of the toughest jobs on campus and they are volunteers. We are talking about our Admissions Committee and they have the majorly important task of helping decide who comes to our medical school. It’s a truly tough job because we are fortunate to have so many exceptional individuals applying to our medical school. Our Admissions Committee members include MCG graduates, future graduates and more. Did you know that these amazing individuals serve three-year terms on the Admissions Committee and spend literally hundreds of their own hours doing this important work? This finds us again not quite sure what to say because thank you just does not seem to cover it. We definitely will say that our medical school could not function without this stellar group. Thank you so much for donating so much of your precious time to the future of our medical school and the health of our state and well beyond.


Here’s a look at the Admissions Committee … That are making it happen

The Admissions Committee members seating the Class of 2020 include MCG students Joseph Dolensky, Class of 2017; Shawna McCafferty, Class of 2018; and the very recent graduate, Dr. Jaharris Collier, from our Class of 2016. Talk about being great colleagues! It also includes community representative Dr. Roscoe Williams; alumni representative Dr. Charlie Green; and our Director of Diversity Outreach Linda James. Our Dr. Leila Stallworth, also an MCG graduate, and Dr. Iqbal Khan, are chair and vice chair respectively. The rest of this amazing lineup includes Dr. David Kriegel, another MCG graduate, and Dr. David Cearley who did his residency right here! Rounding it out are our Dr. Zsolt Bagi, Dr. Scott Barman, Dr. Richard Cameron, Dr. Barbara R. Henley, Dr. Bruce LeClair, Dr. Bobbilynn Lee, Dr. John Lue, Dr. Kathryn Martin, Dr. Walter Moore, Dr. Michele Monteil, Dr. Betty Pace, Dr. Leonard Reeves, Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, Dr. John Thornton, Dr. Toby Tally and Dr. Howard Cohen. What a lineup. What important work. Thank you all again.


And a look ahead … At a change at the top of our Admissions Office

That brings us to a change in our Admissions Office. We are pleased to share that Dr. Kelli Braun, obstetrician and gynecologist and a Georgia native who went to medical school and completed her residency right here, is our new interim associate dean of admissions starting next Friday. Dr. Braun has been a faculty member here since 2008, an absolutely avid educator, including serving as associate clerkship director for medical student education for her department and director of simulation training and virtual education for the residency program. Like so many of you, she also somehow manages to see patients and move knowledge forward with important clinical studies.  We want to thank Dr. Stallworth, let’s just mention again here that she too is an MCG graduate, for her service as interim over this important last year, which included seating this new class and the huge additional effort of serving an important role in our accreditation site visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Of course, she also continued her work in the Department of Pediatrics. Now she will refocus on her major contributions to undergraduate and graduate medical education and more back in this department. We thank both of these incredible individuals for, like so many of you, always being willing to go above and well beyond to ensure the best future for our medical school and for our students, like the Class of 2020, who will be with us so very soon. Thank you both.


You can learn more about how our graduates do as well … on this new site

Speaking of our great graduates and future graduates, we wanted to also share that there is now a super site where they and you can go to get the latest and greatest information on alumni activity. Our goal here is to keep timelier, relevant news out there about our hard-working alumni that they can easily access – as can the rest of the world. It’s also a nice way for alumni to pay dues to the Alumni Association, make a donation to their medical school, and keep updated on upcoming events and more. Please check it out. We want to particularly thank Senior Communications Coordinator Jennifer Scott, Senior Director of Alumni Affairs Scott Henson and our colleagues in Advancement, particularly Sabrina Dunn, digital media coordinator in the Office of Advancement, for making this happen.


As you all continue to inspire and educate …

With our eyes ever forward, this week we have about 30 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from Georgia and South Carolina living and learning on campus for our weeklong Health Sciences Summer Academy. This is a great opportunity for a group of – we hope – future students to learn just what a career in the health sciences is really like. The group is learning how to do all sorts of cool things like suture, care for laboring mothers and deliver high-risk babies (on simulators of course!), use the non-invasive eye of ultrasound and even how to design and conduct a research project. Earlier this week, they heard from many of our rock stars including Drs. Andy Albritton, Allen Pelletier, Julie Dahl-Smith and Joseph Hobbs, who shared stories about their own careers in medicine.


The next generation …

Today, the first group of these stellar students is celebrating with a daylong graduation program, where they are hearing from the undergraduate admissions team about exciting programs like the BS to MD and BS to DMD. A second group of around 30 students will be here July 10-15. Kudos to our Denise Kornegay, executive director of the Statewide Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and associate dean of AHEC, and team for pulling this program together. And a big thank you also to our medical students, Ehizele Osehobo, Chrissy Callaway, Mack Hodges and Joseph Coppiano, and family medicine residents, Drs. Mitesh Patel, Maureen Alvarado, Edward Agabin and Mariam Akhtar, among others, for volunteering their time to mentor and teach these young individuals. Awesome.


With your science, your passion … And so much more

We wrap up today with more great news about science. Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jennifer Thompson has received a prestigious $1 million Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. These super-select awards are given to scientists with tons of potential early in their career. No doubt Thompson nails that. She came to us after earning her PhD from Western University in London, Ontario, to do her postdoc work in the lab of our Dr. David Stepp. As a PhD student, she was fascinated with fetal programming, which basically says that the environment of the womb influences baby’s long-term health and disease risk. Well this incredible new grant will enable her to better piece together the puzzle of how gestational diabetes can put babies at lifelong risk of cardiovascular disease. Like so many of you, she absolutely ultimately wants to help physicians and parents intervene on behalf of these young ones. Our absolute congratulations to her on this remarkable achievement and our best to her on this super-important work. Please see here and here.


Upcoming Events


June 25Augusta Pride Parade, begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, line up on Jones Street downtown; march south on 11th Street to Broad Street; east on Broad Street to Sixth Street; then north on Broad Street to the Festival Grounds at the Augusta Common.


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

Aug. 15 – Career Development 101 Workshop for Early-Career Investigators, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Room 108 of the Greenblatt Library. The event will highlight research related resources, provide networking opportunities and career development skills. Contact Dr. Lisa Middleton, by July 15 to attend. Sponsored by the Georgia Cancer Center, Educational Innovation Institute, Office of Leadership Development and Office of the Senior VP for Research.

Sept. 1 – MCG Alumni Association Athens Regional Reception, home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison, 6 p.m.

Sept. 17 – Alumni Association 125th Anniversary Celebration, Marriott Augusta, 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner.

Sept. 24 – Augusta University Day of Service

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

Oct. 13 – Alumni Association Savannah Regional Reception, Savannah Golf Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 25 – Alumni Association Rome Regional Reception. Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m.

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

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

Enjoy the first weekend of the Summer of 2016!

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