“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

– Martin Luther King Jr.


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Dr. J. Harold Harrison to be honored with Raines Humanitarian Award…

We have talked often here about the magnanimous Dr. J. Harold Harrison, the renowned vascular surgeon and 1948 alum who transformed his medical school with his foresight and philanthropy. His generosity not only provided $10 million to help build our new academic home – which bears his name – but his posthumous $66 million gift was an investment in future doctors for this great state. It certainly bears repeating here that this extraordinary contribution – the largest gift ever to any public institution in Georgia and one of only a handful of such nationwide – allows us to continue to attract the best and brightest students by eventually offering 48 scholarships – right now we’re at 30 – to Georgia’s public medical school and to continue our tradition of hiring and retaining the highest quality faculty by supporting 10 new endowed chairs – three of which we’ve already recruited. Truly amazing. Well, this weekend, the Medical Association of Georgia, will join with us in recognizing the legacy of this remarkable physician leader and his impact on medical education by honoring him with its Jack A. Raines Humanitarian Award, which recognizes outstanding humanitarian contributions beyond the normal practice of medicine. No doubt. Dr. Harrison’s widow, Sue, will be there to accept the award on her husband’s behalf. This is another one of those times that simply saying “thank you” just doesn’t seem to be enough.


Our students and faculty step up when disaster strikes.

While we’re talking about humanitarians, literally defined as someone who “seeks to promote human welfare,” we just have to share the awesome effort many made to help more than 3,000 Hurricane Matthew evacuees that called Augusta their temporary home this past week. For four days teams of physician assistant and medical students, as well faculty and staff from our Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services, worked around the clock, rotating through 10 shelters that were housed in many of our area schools and churches. They helped provide basic medical care, which prevented emergency calls and unnecessary trips to area hospitals, many of which, like ours, already were stretched to capacity helping care for critically ill patients from those evacuated areas. Our Dr. John McManus, who directs our EMS fellowship, helped coordinate all this and shared that the teams pitched in on all fronts. They helped diabetics manage their symptoms and performed basic wound care, coordinated the delivery of much-needed equipment like wheelchairs and beds and helped people get refills on medications they may have left behind while fleeing their homes. A truly outstanding effort. Your continuous work to help those in need continues to inspire! By the by, many of the medical students who volunteered were those who completed basic EMT training before beginning medical school, a pilot program we told you all about in 2015. Sounds like the program paid off. You can learn more about it from the story in the Augusta Chronicle.


Faculty and students return to Southeast Georgia ready to help…

Certainly our thoughts remain with those places and people battered by this powerful storm, many of whom are just now able to return home. As we told you last week, thanks to the wisdom and leadership at our Southeast Campus, located in Savannah and Brunswick, right in the path of Matthew, all of our students and faculty there were safely evacuated ahead of the storm. We are happy to be able to share that, as of Wednesday, our students were back learning in their clinical rotations. And per their amazing usual, their first questions haven’t been about how this brief break will affect them. Dr. Frances Purcell, our assistant dean for curriculum down that way, shares that they’ve consistently asked instead “How can we help” and are eager to volunteer for ongoing cleanup and to help with reentry efforts. In fact, many have plans to join the Medical Association of Georgia’s Medical Reserve Corps, the nation’s first medical society-sponsored statewide volunteer medical reserve corps, so they can become part of the statewide effort to provide medical assistance during times of crisis. We could not be prouder of these future physicians!


Dr. Dale Peeples shares his expertise on how to help children …

Just like our students, so many of you are always willing and ready to share your extraordinary talents with the world. Those of you like our Dr. Dale Peeples, a child psychiatrist, who just last week shared his expertise on how best to talk with children about the often disturbing things they see on TV, and undoubtedly sometimes see in person, and how to help calm their fears. Dr. Peeples was a guest on The Mean’s Report on local ABC affiliate WJBF-TV just last Sunday, which you can watch here. What a truly a prudent topic in this often complicated day and age. And, turns out there’s much more to share, since you can catch the continued conversation this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. or Monday at 12:30. Thank you for your insight Dr. Peeples and for highlighting this important issue. And, of course, we always appreciate our colleagues in the media.


Lecture series to highlight Dr. Virgil P. Sydenstricker…

Speaking of our talented faculty, coming up next Thursday – full details below – our Dr. Bob Nesbit, a legend in his own right and the winner of our 2016 Professionalism Award, will give a lecture on the legacy of Dr. Virgil P. Sydenstricker, a prolific physician-scientist at our medical school who joined the faculty in 1922. Dr. Sydenstricker’s stellar accomplishments include being nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physiology and/or Medicine for his groundbreaking research on the use of nicotinic acid in pellagra therapy. A few “fun facts” about him. As a medical student at Johns Hopkins he co-authored studies with Nobel Prize Winner G. H. Whipple.  As an intern he developed a system of blood transfusions with stored, citrated blood, that enabled blood to be “banked” and formed the basis for modern day blood banking and blood transfusions. He also helped identify the pathophysiology of reintroducing food to semi-starved individuals during WWII, which helped physicians eventually understand the importance of essential amino acids. Dr. Sydenstricker retired in 1957 from us but stayed on as professor emeritus and chief of medicine at the Augusta Veterans Affairs Hospital until his death in 1964. In 1979, the new wing of our adult hospital was named for him. Talk about accomplished! We hear Dr. Nesbit’s lecture, which is part of the Greenblatt Library’s Health Sciences Lecture Series, will focus on his work in England in early WWII. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!


Upcoming Events


Today – Augusta University’s Brew N Que, a night of great food, music, kid fun and fireworks at dusk, 5:30-8:30 p.m., D. Douglas Barnard Jr. Amphitheatre on the Summerville Campus, presented by the AU Alumni Association. Tickets are $15 Adults, $10 AU students and children under 12, $20 at the door. To purchase tickets call 706-737-1759 or visit https://alumni.augusta.edu/bbq.

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.

Oct. 19 – Policing Domestic Violence panel discussion, 6 p.m., University Hall, Room 170, an open discussion with police and public safety officers from across the area, part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Oct. 20 – MCG Faculty Senate Meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Oct. 20 – History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series: Dr. Virgil P. Sydenstricker, lecture given by Dr. Robert Nesbit. 4:30 p.m., Room AB 225, Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D., Library.

Oct. 20 – SafeHomes Survivors’ Walk, 6:30 p.m., Tear Drop, Summerville Campus; includes testimonies from domestic violence survivors and a purple balloon release and candlelight walk; part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year’s walk coincides with the opening of the Art Object: Benefit Project, which features student art projects up for auction. Bidding begins with a 6 p.m. reception, before the Survivor’s Walk in Washington Hall.

Oct. 25 – LASER or Leonardo Art Science Evening Rondezvous, 6 p.m., Harrison Commons, Room 1120D, hosted by the College of Allied Health Sciences.  This forum, organized by the AU Department of Art, brings leaders in art and science together to share their creative research through brief presentations and an interactive panel discussion. Includes presentations by musician and composer Wycliffe Gordon, occupational therapist Mallory Lanier; and Jiri Rosicky, CEO of Invent Medical Group.

Through Oct. 31 – Snuggle Up for Safety Drive, a supply drive for victims of domestic violence. Wish list items include toiletries, clothing, household items and other miscellaneous things like arts and craft supplies, board games, book bags and strollers. Drop off donations on the Summerville Campus in University Hall, Suite 325, Allgood Hall, Room N 218, or the Student Counseling & Psychological Services office on the second floor of the Central Energy Plant. On the Health Sciences campus, donations can be left at the Dental College of Georgia in Suite 5205. You can also donate at the Christenberry Fieldhouse on Wrightsboro Road.

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, 2:30 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Dec. 1 – Ambulatory Care Services 12th Annual Silent Auction to benefit the American Heart Association, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Terrace Dining. Help with gift baskets and other items for auction is needed. Contact Steve Galles, sgalles@augusta.edu or Judy Howard, jhoward@augusta.edu for more information.


Enjoy this beautiful weather and have a great weekend!

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