“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

-Booker T. Washington

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Welcome Class of 2020…
We are super pleased to report that this Friday at Georgia’s public medical school is as great as well, last Friday. Last Friday found us rip-roaring over the terrific news about the full accreditation of our medical school by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. This Friday finds us super excited about the Class of 2020 arriving on our campus this coming week. This dynamic new group comes to us from 69 colleges and eight states (although mostly Georgia of course!).  There are 119 male and 111 female students and better than 3,000 fine individuals applied for the new class of 230 medical students. Like most things in the world, these facts remain fluid to the end, which is essentially Monday when orientation begins, but we are liking the way it’s looking! MCATs and GPAs were up a bit, which is always good, and we have a terrific representation this year from medically underserved areas of our state, like southern Georgia. In fact, overall our student mix continues to better reflect the diverse, expansive state we serve.

We are glad you chose us… As your medical school
Of course you always provide an amazing welcome to our new students. Here at home base, the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs, is definitely starting this group off right with a welcome dinner this very evening that gives this class their first opportunity to break bread together and to meet some of the great staff and faculty who are here to help them succeed. Class leaders from our savvy Class of 2019 will be there to lend invaluable insight and assistance. This includes, drumroll please, President Babatunde Fariyike, President of the Academic House Senate Colleen Boyle and Liaison Robert Parker. Robert, and his classmate Sarah Premji, who can’t be with us this evening, especially have the role of helping the Class of 2020 acclimate, particularly until important decisions are made about class leaders for this group. How is that for yet another excellent example of the great legacy of our medical school and its students?

You will find here… Incomparable faculty, staff, residents and other student colleagues
That great legacy, of course, is how we also have such an amazing Alumni Association that will welcome our newest students with a reception Monday starting at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the ever-fabulous J. Harold Harrison MD Education Commons. The Alumni Association also welcomes the 40 new freshmen to Athens and our Medical Partnership campus on Wednesday with lunch at the University of Georgia’s Health Sciences Campus. We can never, ever thank our Alumni Association members enough for their staunch support of their medical school and their commitment to future alums, AKA students. Dr. Matt Rudy, Class of 2010, who is now an emergency medicine physician right here in Augusta, Ga., and Dr. David Gose, Class of 1999, an internist helping take care of Hiram, Ga., and our Alumni Association president to boot, will bring greetings and great wishes from the Alumni Association. By the by, other super-cool traditions start Monday as well like the students getting sized up for their hallmark white coats. No matter how old our medical school is, these first few days are enough to put a smile on any face. Welcome, welcome Class of 2020.

An Alumni Association that absolutely cares about you…
While they may not be brand new, many of our third-year students recently started their two clinically intensive years of medical school in one of our remarkable regional campuses. And guess what? Our Alumni Association has been welcoming them there as well. This includes a dinner for the 20 new third years at our Southeast Campus based in super Savannah and beautiful Brunswick. This cool event was hosted by the indefatigable Dr. Buffi Boyd and husband Ted Boyd. Dr. Boyd just completed a term as Alumni Association president and is a classmate of Dr. Gose. Some cool guests included Carita Connor, executive director of the Georgia Medical Society, and Dr. Kelly Erola, president of the Georgia Medical Society and a 1988 medical graduate of Ontario’s McMaster University who has been a clinical assistant professor of family medicine with us for about five years. There was a welcome dinner for the nine new third-years in Rome just last night hosted by Dr. Joe Burch, Class of 1985, and his wife, Cheryl Burch. Dr. Burch is a radiologist with Rome Radiology Group who also is a clinical assistant professor in our department. Talk about a great crowd.

Leaders who care about… An even stronger future…
One more important welcome this week to Lee Ann Liska who has been selected as the new CEO of our clinical enterprise. Lee Ann comes to us with terrific experience, including serving as president and CEO of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, COO of Mercy Health Partners also in Cincinnati, COO of Cleveland Clinic Florida, as a senior executive with the original Cleveland Clinic and, well, you get the idea. This graduate of Cleveland State University will be joining us Aug. 22 with great enthusiasm and terrific ideas for how to make our clinical operation better. Her responsibilities include the adult and children’s hospitals along with oversight of Roosevelt Warm Spring Rehabilitation and Specialty Hospitals, Georgia Correctional HealthCare and our beloved blue goose, the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. We know that you will lend your support and experience to her as we move onward and upward. Welcome Lee Ann.

And quality individuals…
As we wind down today, we must note yet again the quality of people who already work right here. Dr. Neal Weintraub, our interim chief of cardiology and Kupperman Eminent Scholar in Cardiovascular Medicine, like so many of you, wears many hats and wears them well. He is an accomplished clinician, administrator and educator who also makes time to pursue basic science studies that will ultimately help us all live better lives. He recently received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to try and determine how, in the face of a high-fat diet, to coax our body into making more small, efficient fat cells and energy-burning beige fat, rather than the fat cells we have just getting bigger and more dysfunctional, even insulin resistant.

Who will help shape and rock your world
When a couple of recent visitors went to talk with him about his work, despite his absolute passion for it, he wanted to talk about the people who make it possible. In this case, the late Dr. Tapan K. Chatterjee, a molecular biologist at our medical school who died in May 2015. Dr. Chatterjee was to be co-PI with Dr. Weintraub on this grant and it was his absolute commitment to science and people that helped make it and so much more happen, Dr. Weintraub shares. Dr. Chatterjee it seems often focused on others and their success rather than his own. And, while he was a success by any measure, some might say that he could have done even more if he had focused more of his energy on himself. But like so many of you, he was always there for others. In keeping with that admirable tradition, our Vascular Biology Center has established a memorial fund to raise additional research dollars in his honor, see mcgfoundation.org/chatterjee.html. Our gratitude and respect go out to both these fine individuals and to the many who will follow, likely some of whom start medical school this very Monday. Please see articles by Health Medicine Network and the Augusta Chronicle.

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-1110, reception follows in the Harrison Commons lobby.

Oct. 1 – The 2nd annual Pink Pumpkin Party, a family and community event by the Georgia Cancer Center to raise breast cancer awareness and education and honor survivors. For more information and to find out how to give, visit https://giving.augusta.edu/pinkpumpkin.

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 definitely warm and hopefully wonderful weekend!


Leave a Reply