“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Dr. Doug Patten (re)joins our Southwest Campus…

We talk often about how things absolutely seem to come full circle. Well this week’s announcement that Dr. Doug Patten, who is currently the chief medical officer for the Georgia Hospital Association, will be joining us in January as the new associate dean at our Southwest Campus based in awesome Albany is certainly just that. Dr. Patten was chief medical officer for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital back when we established Southwest, our very first regional campus, more than a decade ago, and he was crucial to its early success. He was a surgeon in nearby Cordele and Hawkinsville before going to work for Phoebe in 2004 and serves on the boards of such great organizations like the Georgia Health Information Network, the Phoebe Foundation and Albany Area Primary Health Care, a multisite and multispecialty federally qualified health center. Simply put, he has tremendous commitment to educating that next generation and firsthand knowledge of Southwest Georgia’s health care community that will be invaluable as we continue the statewide growth of our medical school. Welcome (back) Dr. Patten. We are thrilled to have you leading our efforts down that way and excited about what the future holds.


Parents and partners get a glimpse into medical school…

Speaking of getting excited about the future, no one does that quite as well as our students do! This past weekend we had the privilege of officially welcoming our newest students into the medical profession at the Class of 2020’s White Coat Ceremony. It was a daylong affair that started in the state of the art J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons that morning with the annual Parents and Partners Program. This super effort – as its name indicates – allows parents and other loved ones a glimpse into what the next four years will really be like for their student. The day included presentations from Vice Dean Dr. Paul Wallach on the transition to medical school and from associate dean Dr. Kim Loomer on the services and resources available to our students. A Q and A session with a panel of our second-year students provided great advice on how to get involved in research, volunteer opportunities and special interest groups, among other things. Our absolute thanks to second-year students Babatunde Fariyike, Alyssa Ford, Sarah Premji and Robert Parker for sharing their real-life experience with our freshmen and to our entire academic affairs team for organizing such a wonderful event!


White Coat Ceremony officially welcomes students…

Later Saturday afternoon we had the honor of placing white coats on more than 200 of our newest colleagues. Our guest speaker, Dr. Cindy Mercer, a 1978 graduate herself who now teaches the next generation at our Partnership campus in Athens, reminded us that physicians started donning white coats in the early 1900s to impart a feeling of purity, professionalism and compassion and that wearing the white coat is part of the very tradition of medicine. As fourth-year class president Katherine Menezes so eloquently put it, “As exciting as it is to get your white coat, it is also a huge responsibility to take on. You are joining the ranks of the women and men before you who have paved the way of medical success with discovery, compassion and healing. The white coat is very much a blank slate of who you are as a young physician, literally and figuratively.” We couldn’t agree more, Katherine! The festivities rounded out with a reception at the Old Medical College and can we just say how we love the juxtaposition of beginning in the new – Harrison Commons – and ending in our first official home? It was such a unique opportunity to celebrate the exciting future and acknowledge the rich history of our medical school. Speaking of history, did you know that one of the members of our Class of 2020, Carl Zainaldin, is the great-grandson of our former dean, Dr. G. Lombard Kelly? Truly a legacy.


Memorial service honors body donors… 

Last week also brought us the opportunity to honor 100 truly amazing people – and some of our students’ best teachers. We are talking of course about those who donated their bodies to help us educate the next generation at our annual Body Donor Memorial Service. These individuals help instill in our medical students, and students in other health sciences programs, the invaluable lessons of human dignity, personal sacrifice and the sanctity of the human body. As second-year class president Babatunde Fariyike noted during the ceremony, “We take pride in knowing they believed in us, so much that they were willing to entrust us with the one thing we all enter this world with. It was truly an honor and a privilege that we won’t soon forget. The memories of them will stay with us, and will be passed on to our future patients through healing and comfort we can provide because of the sacrifices they made and opportunities they have given us.” This is another one of those times when thank you just doesn’t seem adequate.


Family Medicine continues to be recognized…As a Patient Centered Medical Home

Switching gears a bit, we wanted to share the good news that our Department of Family Medicine recently received notification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance of its continued recognition as a level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home, the highest level! Put simply, these “homes” represent a care delivery model where treatment is coordinated through a patient’s primary care physician to ensure that the patient receives the necessary care when and where they need it and in a way he or she can understand. This is fantastic recognition of what we already knew, that you all work extremely hard to improve partnerships with our patients and their families. Per your awesome usual, none of this would have been possible without a team of people, including department chairman (and MCG graduate), Dr. Joseph Hobbs, and the PCMH leadership team of Dr. Carla Duffie, Patrick Hatch, Wendy Widener and Holly Andrews. Thank you all for your commitment to continuously improving our patients’ experiences here.


Alumni receptions continue to grow…

Finally today, we mentioned a while back how this year’s alumni receptions were off to a great start. We’ve had great crowds in Athens and Albany and last week’s rocking reception in Rome was no exception. Our Dr. Joe Burch, a 1985 graduate, alumni board member and Rome radiologist, was our terrific host for the evening. We so appreciate our President Brooks Keel for also making the trek up that way and meeting with our alums, clinical faculty and students. Our thanks also to Georgia State Representatives Katie Dempsey and Eddie Lumsden for joining us that night. We thank you all again for your continued support of Georgia’s public medical school!



Upcoming Events

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

Nov. 24-25 – Thanksgiving holidays. Campus closed.

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.

Dec. 23 and 26 – Christmas holidays. Campus closed.

Jan. 2 – New Year’s Holiday. Campus closed.

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

Have a fabulous fall weekend!