“Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over its head.”

-Mignon McLaughlin

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Our students are the best…
One of our very favorite topics is our students and this week boy do we have another great student story to share. We are so pleased and proud that our Daniel Chandra is one of only five medical students in the nation to receive a prestigious American Society of Hematology Physician-Scientist Career-Development Award. These awards enable future physician-scientists to spend invaluable time under the mentorship of an ASH member. Daniel is definitely making optimal use of this huge honor by taking a year off medical school to study the damage that can occur in graft vs. host disease. That is basically when your immune system starts attacking, in this case, the intestinal tract, following bone marrow or stem cell transplants for cancer. The consequences can cause permanent damage or worse. As we speak, Daniel is working in the lab of Dr. Alan Hanash at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to determine how interleukin 22, a known mediator of cellular inflammation, may be able to help. We send huge congratulations to Daniel for this absolute national recognition of the work he has already done and to Dr. Hanash, who, like so many of you, has opened his door to help further this important work and this super-inspiring student.

Our people and programs… Absolutely are as well
We are also privileged to have great guests at our medical school and campus most days and this young enthusiastic summer crowd is definitely hard to beat. While the temps are heating up, so is the interest of terrific young minds from across our community and state for medicine, science and all cool things related to health care. It’s our summer SEEP – our Student Educational Enrichment Program. Since early last month, we’ve had a dozen rising-seniors and rising-college freshman from seven area high schools and 30 college students. This great group is age 17 to 29 and from as far away as Valdosta. SEEP is no spectator sport, rather provides hands-on experiences in labs, working as a volunteer in the clinics, beefing up on important skills like communication and time management for this young, talented and eager group with an eye on the health professions. Our medical students are invaluable to this process, helping set up and run the labs, sharing what they know about things like suturing and doing a physical exam, and of course about MCG and being a medical student. This year’s helpers are Yvonne Ibe, Nicholas Cappadona and Ijeoma Okoye, all rising second-years. Excellent educators like, Drs. Puttur Prasad and Pamela Martin, also are regulars with this great program and great clinicians, like super surgeon Dr. Jack Yu and anesthesiologist, Dr. Wayne Lawson, are happy to let SEEP participants spend time with them as well.

Our colleagues across our state… Are incomparable
A little further south is SEEP Savannah, which has 11 precollege participants this year all from charming Chatham County. Down that fine way, our colleagues at the Savannah State University Department of Biology along with science teachers from Woodville-Tompkins Technical and Career High School and Alfred Ely Beach High School, both health sciences magnet schools, are making this much-newer program rock as well. SEEP Augusta got its start in 1970 as a pilot for high school students! You know we love these kind of traditions and we definitely love success! SEEP is no doubt both. Our Linda James, director of diversity outreach, tells us that since we have been keeping great records on SEEP starting in 1978, better than 2,200 students have spent time with us, some even coming back for subsequent summers, and more than 80 percent have gotten into health professional and biomedical graduate program, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and so much more.  It’s hard to argue with success and who would want to!

So how could our future… 
Seriously, a great program like SEEP, like every single thing we do, rests on the energetic shoulders of each of you who share your time, talent and enthusiasm in so many ways every day since 1828! Speaking of which, about this time next week, SEEP will be celebrating the end of another terrific summer session. And, drumroll please, the guest speaker is Dr. LaShon Sturgis, an MD and PhD graduate of our school, who, while working on her PhD here in physiology also worked with our SEEP students. Now Dr. Sturgis is an emergency medicine resident and always, clearly, a terrific role model for these, hopefully, future students. Have we mentioned lately that Dr. Sturgis had the idea to start a similar, but more compact program called Igniting the Dream of Medicine a few years back? In 2011, she also became the first MCG student to win the Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship from the Association of American Medical Colleges for her outstanding contributions to promoting justice in medical education and health care equities for people in the United States. No doubt.

Be anything but incomparable as well 
Okay, this was a pretty cool crowd to have with us as well. Certainly we don’t have tell any of you what huge public health issues hypertension and diabetes are for this state and nation. This summer, we have had the privilege to train more than 100 public health nurses in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of those diseases, which nationwide affect millions upon millions. These nurses, often through their local health departments, work on the frontline of these significant health issues in communities across our state. In fact, yesterday and today, we’ve had a group of 13 of these frontline fighters here being trained by our own vice dean, Dr. Paul Wallach. They’re learning everything, from the basics of medical record keeping and how important that can be in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, to how diabetes can be controlled with and without pharmacologic management. We hear they’ve also had demonstrations of physical exams using our favorite patient simulator, Harvey, and practiced giving EKGs. A special shout out to our own public health crusader, Dr. Kathryn Martin, who also serves as our associate dean for regional campus coordination, for spearheading this effort with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

As we pursue our mission… And our distinct privilege 
As we so often discuss, when the great individuals and teams who are the Medical College of Georgia see something that needs doing, they figure out a way to do it. Here’s yet another example. We hear a lot about the need for more mental health services in our state and nation. In fact, a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study identified 91 mental health care Health Professional Shortage Areas in our state; the number reaches into the 300’s for the huge states of Texas and California. One of the many great things about technology is the assistance it can provide in sharing information, even the ability to see, speak with and examine someone, regardless of distance. In this case, we are talking telepsychiatry. Our Dr. Dale Peeples, a child psychiatrist, recently shared his experience with a great initiative driven by our state legislature to provide better access to mental health care to Georgia citizens using this approach.  Great piece that aired this past Thursday on Georgia Public Radio’s terrific show, On Second Thought. Check it out here.

As Georgia’s public medical school
Since we are already talking about our talented colleagues at Georgia Public Radio, please don’t forget to also check out Dr. Joseph Hobbs, chair of family medicine and fabulous MCG graduate, who is a radio regular on the weekly Medical Minute. He and station manager Drew Dawson are helping us make more super sounds about the great research at our medical school. You can always check it out here or by tuning in Saturdays and Sundays at 8:16 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 5:18 p.m.  Rumor has it you can learn a little more about some amazing studies by Dr. Erhard Bieberich on Alzheimer’s this very weekend. More definitely coming on that from us as well. Thank you all.

Finally today, we join our nation and its families once again in mourning the recent tragic loss of life.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 1 – Freshman Reception, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association, 5 p.m., J. Harold Harrison Education Commons.

Aug. 3 – Freshman Lunch, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association for our new students at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership in Athens. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., UGA Health Sciences Campus, Russell Hall, Room 235.

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

Aug. 15 – Career Development 101 for Early-Career Research 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.

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.

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

Sept. 14 – Career Development 101 for Clinical and Teaching Faculty, 1:15-4:30 p.m., Room GB 1120D in the beautiful Harrison Education Commons. Participants will learn more about teaching strategies to promote learning in clinical and other settings, identifying campus resources related to scholarship and research; and describing a timeline for promotion and expectations for tenure and non-tenure tracks. Cosponsored by the MCG Office of Faculty Development and the AU Educational Innovation Institute. RSVP to EDI@augusta.edu.

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

Sept. 24 – Augusta University Day of Service

Sept. 26 – Medical Student Research Symposium, noon to 2 p.m., Harrison Commons

Sept. 26 – Student/Resident Research Symposium, 5-7 p.m., second floor of Russell Hall, Augusta University – University of Georgia Medical Partnership

Sept. 27 and 29 – Recognition of Dr. Hervey Cleckley, the famed former MCG psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of psychopathy. The showing of “The Three Faces of Eve,” 5:30 p.m., Sept. 27, Harrison Commons, GB-1110; Lecture, “Dr. Hervey Cleckley: The Medical College of Georgia’s Renaissance Man,” with Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, 5:30 p.m., Sept. 29, Harrison Commons, GB-1100.

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. 18 – Reception and plaque presentation honoring the family of Bowdre Phinizy and Meta Charbonnier Phinizy, who’s generous gift in honor of Meta’s father, Leon Henri Charbonnier, marked the inception of MCG’s very first endowment, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Commons

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

Have a terrific weekend.

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