January 27, 2017

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,


A new take on the Dean’s Diary

Happy Friday to you all. Please let me say to each of you again how much I appreciate your friendship, support and insight as we continue to move the Medical College of Georgia forward. The great individuals that you are and the work that you do has inspired us to resume the MCG Dean’s Diary as one way to recognize both. We are making it biweekly this time around in the hopes of keeping you informed but not overwhelmed with information. As with everything we do as a team going forward, we welcome your thoughts as well as your stories.

Feb. 7 signature event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of MCG

MCG’s story, as you know, stretches back nearly 200 years and this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our desegregation. Our signature event, which rightly honors our first two black students, Drs. Frank Rumph, a pathologist who many of you may remember from his tenure in this community as district health director, as well as the late Dr. John T. Harper Sr., an accomplished orthopaedic surgeon in the Atlanta area. Our keynote speaker for the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the Harrison Commons, is Dr. David Satcher, the 16th U.S. Surgeon General and founding director of Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Leadership Institute, who will share his insight on health equity and ethnic diversity, see  http://jagwire.augusta.edu/archives/40495.

Please join in celebrating this historical time for MCG

We hope that you, our MCG and Augusta community, will participate in recognizing these momentous moments and individuals. Because, while Dr. Rumph shakes off the title of “trailblazer,” he, Dr. Harper and the students that followed seem to wear that descriptive well in their pursuit of their desire to be physicians and in their overall lives and work. And, from what we have learned in talking with Dr. Rumph and others who lived through those transformative days, we found that while there were definitely difficult people and days, there were also so many fine individuals among MCG’s staff, students and faculty, who worked for what was right. Individuals like Dr. Walter Gowans Rice, dean from 1959-69, who championed integration at MCG. Faculty members like Drs. William S. Harms, biochemist, and Claude-Starr Wright, the first chief of hematology/oncology, whose relationship with Dr. Joseph Hobbs, a native Augustan who was among the first handful of black students, began when Dr. Hobbs was still a junior high school student working on science projects.

Linda James named assistant dean for student diversity and inclusion

Not surprisingly, another great source of preparation and support that kept coming up among the inspirational individuals we have talked to in preparing for Feb. 7, and other events related to our desegregation, was the summer pipeline program.  SEEP, or Student Educational Enrichment Program, was finding its legs in 1970 as a pilot project for high school students and now includes college students as well. We wanted to share that Linda James, who has directed SEEP for more than a dozen years, has just been named assistant dean for student diversity and inclusion. We thank Ms. James for her enthusiasm for and commitment to the success of future students in medicine and the health sciences and to a health care workforce that reflects us all.

Dr. Kelli Braun named associate dean for admissions

Also in Academic Affairs, Dr. Kelli Braun, a 2004 MCG graduate, has been named our associate dean for admissions. Dr. Braun, who also did her obstetrics/gynecology training here and is a native of Georgia, has been on our faculty since 2008 and extremely involved in resident and medical education. Dr. Braun has served as interim associate dean since this summer. She is an enthusiastic and articulate supporter of her medical school who, like Ms. James, will help ensure the success and diversity of future generations of physicians for our state and beyond.

MCG students present their research to the Richmond County Medical Society

Certainly the students who choose MCG are impressive on so many fronts. This week at the Old Medical College of Georgia building downtown, some of those students gathered with members of the Richmond County Medical Society to share dinner and ideas. These great interactions started about three years ago and appear to be another win-win. For example, Sarah Premji, M-3, presented her work on the impact of aerobic exercise on behavioral symptoms in children with ADHD. She later shared with Dr. Eric Lewkowiez, associate dean for the third-year class, that it led to great discussions with community physicians and students alike. In the spirit of inspiring the next generation, Dr. Lewkowiez also invited nine freshman students to join in the dinner and discussion so hopefully they will soon want to stand at the podium. Other third-year presenters this week included Robert Parker, Tarik Mujadzic, Mariah Burch, Aida Risman, Leah Brown and Catherine Pounds along with fourth-year Ian Coe. The next gathering is Feb. 28 and we are very grateful to the Richmond County Medical Society for these opportunities.


There was a smaller but also full house last week at the first MCG gathering of SOCRATES, an initiative to provide productive discussions that move us closer to our goal of expanding clinical and translational research. There were MDs, PhDs and MD/PhDs gathered to flesh out ideas for better collaboration and ultimately success. Dr. Shaoyong Su, genetic epidemiologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute, presented a new proposal for a pediatric center grant strategically focused on the impact of childhood blood pressure on middle-age brain health. Dr. Katie Davis, also of the GPI, commented later that the “complementary set of brains” gathered for SOCRATES yielded creative ideas and constructive criticism. SOCRATES will be occurring monthly and the next one is set for Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. An electronic invitation will be coming soon to many of you but you also are encouraged to invite yourself.

Students at Southwest Campus help rebuild their community

Finally today, a half-dozen of our students along with leaders at the Southwest Campus based in Albany  are volunteering today and likely tomorrow with the international relief group, Samaritan’s Purse, samaritanspurse.org/, to help put Albany and vicinity back together. Tornadoes have twice struck this community in a month’s time causing death and destruction. While we are grateful that our students and faculty there are all safe, we join our state and nation in sadness for the great loss by many. We also thank our students and faculty along with the countless other volunteers for their commitment.


Upcoming Events

For more about Black History Month activities at Augusta University, please see http://jagwire.augusta.edu/archives/40636.

Feb. 1 – Augusta University’s got talent, and you can experience it at “Noon Arts: Live at the Lee.”  Support your fellow students, staff and faculty as they play instruments, recite poetry, dance or sing during this concert series held at Lee Auditorium on the Health Sciences Campus. This free event is sponsored by the Augusta University Arts Council. Lunch will be provided, in limited quantities. Watch a preview of Camelot and enter to win a drawing for tickets. MCG participants include students Kate Armstrong and Cole Owens and the new acapella chorus, The SeroTONEins, under the direction of Dr. Pamela Tipler.

Feb. 7 – 50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of MCG: Commemorating the Past and Envisioning the Future with guest speaker, Dr. David Satcher, former US Surgeon General. 5:30 p.m., Harrison Commons. Reception following.

Feb. 8 – Education & Treats (EATs) Journal Club, noon-1 p.m., Dogwood Room in Terrace Dining, Dr. Lindsey W. West, deputy chief diversity officer for the AU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will discuss “Better the Faculty You Know Than the Faculty You Don’t: Implicit Racial Bias in Medical School Admissions.” See https://equity.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Capers-et-al.-2016.pdf.

Feb. 21 – MCG Alumni Association Board meeting, Idle Hour Country Club, Macon, 3:30 p.m., followed by Regional Reception at 6 p.m.

Feb. 24 – MCG Faculty Senate, Noon, Lee Auditorium.

Feb. 25 – Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference, a daylong program for high school and college students from across Georgia with a focus on groups underrepresented in medicine, sponsored by the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs and the Student National Medical Association, Harrison Commons, see augusta.edu/mcg/students/ignitingthedream.php. Early registration by Feb. 10 is $20; late registration is $25.

March 16 – Gainesville Regional Reception, MCG Alumni Association, Northeast Georgia History Center, 6 p.m.

March 17 – Match Day, noon, at the Harrison Commons.

March 30 – Columbus Regional Reception, MCG Alumni Association, home of Dr. and Mrs. George McCluskey, 6 p.m.

April 14 – The Raft Debate, 6:30 p.m., Harrison Commons, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association.

April 20 – MCG Faculty Senate Awards, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

April 27-30 – Alumni Weekend, Dean’s Reception, April 28, 6-7 p.m., Harrison Commons, followed by MCG Alumni Association Banquet and Distinguished Alumni Award Presentations. Class Reunions for Classes of 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, April 29, Augusta Marriott. Reception starts at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. More details to follow.

May 11 – Hooding, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, reception following at the Old Medical College building.