“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”

– Maya Angelou


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Our volunteer faculty in Savannah honored by the Georgia Medical Society…

Certainly you know that we think of you all as heroes, educating the next generation, discovering new treatments and cures and providing amazing care to our patients. You also know that we just love sharing the always exceptional evidence of your awesomeness! Well, this week the Georgia Medical Society recognized our clinical faculty in Savannah at St. Joseph’s/Candler with its 2016 Healthcare Heroes Award, given to individuals and organizations that perform extraordinary acts of human kindness that sometimes go unrecognized in our chaotic and often frenetic daily existence. Extraordinary is right! These physicians, many of them graduates of your medical school, volunteer their time mentoring and sharing their incredible knowledge and skills with our students studying at the Southeast Campus, based in Savannah and Brunswick. Dr. John Odom, a much-loved surgery preceptor down that way, accepted the award on behalf of the nearly 250 Southeast clinical preceptors, noting that it was particularly poignant to receive it from 1974 alumnus Dr. Dan DeLoach, who was an integral part of establishing the campus in the first place. We couldn’t agree more!


Dr. Plagenhoef elected to serve American Society of Anesthesiologists…

While we’re talking about our awesome alumni, we just had to tell you about the most recent super accomplishment of one of our great graduates. Dr. Jeffrey Plagenhoef, a 1987 graduate and chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco, Texas was just elected as president of the 52,000-member American Society of Anesthesiologists. As president of the country’s largest group of physician anesthesiologists, he has vowed to work with patients, colleagues, policymakers and regulators to fulfill the group’s mission of providing patients with the highest quality, safest and most affordable surgical anesthesia, intensive and perioperative care, and pain management. We hear he’s served on many ASA committees, task forces and workgroups and was actually the inaugural chairman of the Anesthesia Quality Institute’s Board of Directors. This is just the latest honor for this amazing anesthesiologist who also received the ASA Excellence in Government Award for his exemplary advocacy efforts. Thank you Dr. Plagenhoef for being such a stellar representative of your profession and your medical school!


Dr. William Clark III recognized by Medical Association of Georgia…

Ok, one more follow-up from the Medical Association of Georgia’s House of Delegates meeting in Savannah just a few weeks ago. Waycross ophthalmologist and 1979 graduate, Dr. S. William Clark III, is the recipient of this year’s Joseph B. Bailey Jr., M.D., Physician Distinguished Service Award, which is named for the tireless physician advocate – also our longtime faculty member and 1955 alumnus – and recognizes distinguished and meritorious service that reflects credit and honor on MAG. Dr. Clark was the brains behind the development of MAG’s Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy, which helps develop the next generation of physician leaders through interactive classes on such timeless topics as conflict resolution, media relations and advocacy. By the by, this fantastic program just celebrated its 100thgraduate this year! Congratulations Dr. Clark on this fitting honor and an absolute thank you for your service.

Clint Bryant inducted into Hall of Fame…

Speaking of well-deserved honors, we are thrilled to tell you that this past weekend our university’s own athletic director, Clint Bryant, was inducted into the Augusta City Classic Hall of Fame. The former basketball player and coach is in his 29th year of service to this university and is not only a star on campus, but a pillar in this city and beyond. In announcing his award, the Augusta City Classic noted that he “went from being a student-athlete to a leader of students and a giant in the Augusta area.” No doubt. Outside of athletics, he serves organizations like the Shiloh Community Center and Voices for Georgia’s Children as a member of their boards. And, perhaps most importantly, he’s served as a mentor for countless student athletes. As his former player, Keenan Mann, told the crowd this weekend, “I could go on and on about what I learned from you. The basketball stuff was important, but largely irrelevant now. You were my first role model as a young adult.” Congratulations Coach! Read more here.


Can a little known vitamin help reduce cardiovascular risk of obese children?

Here’s your dose of super science for the week. In what appears to be the first study of its kind in this country, our Dr. Norman Pollock, a bone biologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute, is looking into whether the little known vitamin K may prove to be an inexpensive way to reduce obese children’s risk of cardiovascular issues by helping improve insulin sensitivity and reducing lipid levels in their blood – both huge risks for, not only cardiovascular disease, but also diabetes. Dr. Pollock and his colleagues are enrolling children with higher fasting glucose levels, a sign of an already increased diabetes risk, in an eight-week, American Heart Association-funded study where half will get supplements of the more potent version of the vitamin, called K2, and the remainder get placebo. They’ll measure the outcomes by looking at markers of cardiovascular health typically analyzed in adults, such as blood levels of triglycerides, good and bad cholesterol, as well as insulin production and sensitivity. Through his early studies, Dr. Pollock already knows that vitamin K levels tend to be lower in obese or overweight children and there’s even evidence that supplementation may have some of the same benefits of exercise. Truly impactful and fascinating work that you can read more about it here.


Ellison Lectureship features Mayo Clinic physiologist…

As we start wrapping up this week, we wanted to say what a privilege it was to host Dr. Virginia Miller on campus last week as the speaker at the 2016 Lois Taylor Ellison, M.D., Lectureship in Physiology. Dr. Miller is a professor of surgery and physiology and director of the Women’s Health Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her research focuses on how sex steroids affect vascular function. This annual lectureship is named for and supported by the legendary Dr. Ellison, a 1950 graduate of our medical school who, together with her husband, Dr. Robert Ellison, established and directed the MCG Cardiopulmonary Laboratory, where the hospitals first cardiac catheterizations and blood gas measurements were performed. See what we mean by legendary? It’s worth also mentioning that Dr. Ellison, who still serves as our medical historian in residence, recently celebrated her 93rd birthday! We send our thanks and best wishes to this stalwart of our medical school.


Please join us for our White Coat Ceremony this weekend…

Finally today, we hope you can join us this weekend at our Class of 2020’s White Coat Ceremony (details below). This tradition is a rite of passage for our first year students and a ceremonial symbol of their transition into medicine. Did you know that the ceremony was started by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 as a way welcome new students into one of the most noble professions. Did you also know that we held our very first White Coat Ceremony 20 years ago, in 1996? More to come from this year’s ceremony next week…



Upcoming Events


Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 2:30 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Nov. 7 – Educational Innovation Institute presents its interactive educational research website, Navigating Educational Research. Come test and provide feedback on the new site, designed to help you navigate the research process. 10:30 a.m. to noon, Greenblatt Library, Room 163.

Nov. 17 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

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.

Jan. 19 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium


Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to set those clocks back Saturday evening!