“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”

-H.E. Luccock

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Health Connect South Sept. 21 meeting… Brings diverse leaders together for health
No doubt we are better together and Health Connect South has health collaborations at its core. This group, which has partners in universities and health care systems and organizations throughout this part of the country, wants to get us together to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency from our collective efforts by helping establish sustainable connections. That’s why their upcoming meeting Sept. 21  at Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium, aptly entitled Regional Assets, Global Impact, likely will show yet again the multiplier effect of great minds and institutions coming together to take on, fill in the blank with pretty much any kind of important health initiative. Folks such as the American Cancer Society’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Otis W. Brawley and WEBMD Editor Dr. Hansa Bhargava are guest speakers for this year’s conference that will have key leaders putting their heads together to take on the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide.

Our Dr. Neal Weintraub will be a distinguished panelist… On Heart Disease & Diabetes
One of the distinguished panelists for the discussion on “Heart Diseases & Diabetes: Innovations for Prevention,” will be our Dr. Neal Weintraub, interim division chief of cardiology, associate director of our Vascular Biology Center and Georgia Research Alliance Kupperman Eminent Scholar in Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Weintraub also happens to be a federally funded investigator who spends his many long days going between our clinical facilities and research labs trying to ensure the best care for patients today as he, and so many of you, work to find the next generation of even better treatments. This dedicated individual, mentor and team builder is just a great choice for such a gathering, where he’ll share insight on some of the exciting obesity research by his team and the likes of our Dr. David Stepp and others. Dr. Weintraub came to us about three years ago from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and didn’t hesitate a heartbeat in starting his efforts to strengthen the heart of our already strong cardiovascular efforts. That’s the kind of indefatigable effort it takes to take on our top killers. We thank each of you again who fight these important battles in the hospitals and clinics and often the research labs as well. We hope you will congratulate and thank Dr. Weintraub if you meet him in the middle of Laney Walker Boulevard beating this important path between the two sides of the street.

Dr. Yaoliang Tang receives two NIH grants… To rejuvenate aging cardiac stem cells
Our aging population – our aging us – no doubt is a factor in many top killers, from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Our Dr. Yaoliang Tang in the Vascular Biology Center is working to turn the clock back a little on our cardiac stem cells by getting them to act, well younger again, at least for a few critical moments. This prolific MD/PhD, who has already worked as a heart surgeon for more than a decade in China, is still definitely also working both sides of the street because he wants to improve the benefit patients receive from cardiac stem cell transplants. When you get down to it, this is another one of those complex things that makes perfect sense: We prefer to give patients back their own cells in stem cell transplants to reduce the chance of a bad reaction from giving them somebody else’s. It tends to be older patients who need this kind of big-time therapy to help hearts, struggling to function well after things like one or more heart attacks. And, nobody has to tell those of us with a few years on us how, with age, most things tend not to work quite as well. Our Dr. Tang is pioneering ways to bring new vigor to older cardiac stem cells and just got TWO NIH grants that are helping him do just that. By the by, this work probably has implications for all kinds of aging stem cells! Super exciting stuff and, as we do love to say, more to come on this. Check out the Augusta Chronicle article here. By the way, please congratulate and thank Dr. Tang if you see him as well!

Dr. Stu Thompson serves on two review boards… Looking out for the military
Our Dr. Stu Thompson, a marvelous microbiologist, is currently serving terms on review boards for two Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. There is no doubt our military have as their 24-hour day job protecting all of us, so how cool is it that Dr. Thompson is looking at studies that will improve the fight against diseases and conditions that affect them? He is on the Emerging Infectious Diseases panel that looks at projects involving etiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment and the Antimicrobial Resistance panel that looks at projects such as development of new antifungals and antibacterials for antibiotic-resistant strains. If you check out the CVs of many of our amazing faculty you will see this kind of service to the greater good of tackling diseases with many targets. So that means, you guessed it, please tell Dr. Thompson and all our faculty “thank you” no matter where you see them! Wait a minute, we faculty are like very old cardiac stem cells without the amazing staff so, maybe we should consider a universal “Thank-you” day because, like we said when we started today – and most days – we are definitely better together.

Class of 2017 exceeds the national rate… On Step 2 of the USMLE
Let’s start wrapping up this week with two more absolutely favorite topics: our students and residents. You know we think our students are the best. Another recent, perhaps more objective ranking gave them a ‘great job’ as well. Our Class of 2017 had a 98 percent pass rate on Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination! That is just a bit better than the national pass rate of 96 percent for this test that assesses students’ ability to apply to the clinical setting what they have been learning in a more didactic environ. As many of you know, this is part of a three-part test, administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners, that students take as they progress through their medical education and, as the name implies, is essential to licensure. We are always proud of our students and not surprised that they do so well on these type of measures. But we do love yet another opportunity to acknowledge their hard work and absolute commitment to being the best possible next generation. Wonderful results from Georgia’s only public medical school!

Dr. Richard Jadick, war hero who completed his urology residency here… Returns to campus Sept. 16
Finally today we note that next Friday one of our absolute heroes by any definition returns to campus. Dr. Richard H. Jadick today is practicing urology in Newnan, Georgia after medical school at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and his urology residency right here! He is also retired U.S. Navy, after multiple deployments in his amazing career. One of his true standout moments was Nov. 8, 2004. He had volunteered to go to Iraq as the 1st Batallion 8th Marine Regiment’s battalion surgeon. That day, he would move his field hospital closer to the front lines of the Battle of Fallujah after one soldier he tried to help died. For his heroism and service in the ensuing hours on those distant front lines, Dr. Jadick was credited with saving the lives of 30 Marines and Sailors and aiding countless others. He received the Bronze Star with the Combat V for his valor and his story was broadly told on the cover of Newsweek while still a resident here. He would later help write his own account of that fateful day in the book On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story. Wow, what a story to tell. As we come full circle today, we thank Dr. Jadick and all the brave men and women who serve our country, often when the stakes are ultimately high.  Our Dr. Jadick will rightly be the Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics for the Hull College of Business at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the Kroc Center. We know you will thank Dr. Jadick as well when you see him.

Upcoming Events

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. reception, 7 p.m. dinner, click here for more information.

(Before) Sept. 23 – The performing arts are returning to the Health Sciences Campus with a series of Noon Arts concerts. Students, staff, faculty and retiree performers are being recruited for the nextNoon Arts concert Wednesday, Oct. 5. Please contact Tricia Perea at tperea@augusta.edu before Sept. 23.

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.

Sept. 30 – Ice cream social for third- and fourth-year medical students and residents, noon-1:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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. Check out the Pink Pumpkin Party and the Pink Pumpkin giving page for more information.

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 Bowdre Phinizy and Meta Charbonnier Phinizy, whose 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. 18 – A Service for the Healing of the Mind and Spirit, 7 p.m., St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, 1420 Monte Sano Ave., a communitywide event for those whose lives have been touched by mental illness, sponsored by the Coalition for Mental and Spiritual Health Ministries and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Augusta.

Nov. 1 – Alumni Association Rome Regional Reception. Coosa Country Club, 6 p.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.

Have a terrific weekend

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