February 24, 2017

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,


Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference set for tomorrow at the Harrison Commons

Those of us who are privileged to educate medical students know that even in teaching them, we learn. Tomorrow more than 300 high school and college students will be in the Harrison Commons learning and no doubt being inspired by our students in the annual Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference. The great event has as its bottom line the desire to ensure that students with the drive to be physicians maneuver this rather tough course well, and has as its focus those who are underrepresented in medicine. Our students will give these students hands on experience at doing stitches, mock interviews for medical school entry and just helping get a general idea of life as a medical student.

MCG students will help inspire and inform high school and college students

The MCG Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs and our chapter of the Student National Medical Association are sponsors for this beneficial Saturday experience and we thank them for their commitment and hard work. We also must add here how proud our busy students make us with their overall commitment to community, to medicine and to MCG. Students like event participants Thomas Hodo, Chijioke Ohamadike, Ehizele Osehobo and SNMA President Ijeoma Okoye. Ijeoma, a second-year, is a great example of that commitment. Her community service also includes mentoring and tutoring an elementary school student each week in the Kids with a Future program, and working at the student-run clinic for the homeless and underinsured in our community. In the spirt of a successful team, our students are getting great help with this event from other colleagues at our university, like Ming Chen, admissions counselor, who is giving tips on college application do’s and don’ts.

Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics have a great scientific showing in New Orleans

In historic New Orleans two weekends ago, our students, residents and fellows learning in our Department of Medicine made us proud as well with their insightful presentations at the Southern Section of the American Federation for Medical Research, see augusta.edu/archives/41284. As a great example, second-year Sara Leitheiser talked about risk factors associated with fungal infections in kidney transplant patients. We congratulate all presenters and thank their mentors, including Dr. Stan Nahman, associate chair for translational research for the department, for the great science showing. Students and residents in our Department of Pediatrics had an equally impressive showing at the Southern Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting which was held in conjunction with AFMR.

Regional Alumni Reception in Macon draws crowds, support

Just this week, Dr. Billy Jarrard and his wife Cindy were gracious hosts at the classic Tudor-style clubhouse of Macon’s Idle Hour Country Club for a regional reception of our Alumni Association. There was a great showing, 75 people-plus, and great mix of some of our more senior alums along with more recent graduates living in that part of our state. President Keel and AU Chief of Staff Russell Keen were there with us, and the president spoke again about the importance of MCG and his commitment to its future. Dr. J. Roy Rowland, who served a dozen years in Congress and graduated from MCG 65 years ago, was among those who joined in the conversation and reminiscing. Macon area alumni and their spouses just have a ton of spirit which showed in passionate conversations by the likes of Dr. Jarrard,  Class of 1985; Dr. Sanford Duke, Class of 1996; and Drs. Paul Turk and Billie Jackson, Class of 1984, on topics like bringing additional clinical experiences for MCG students to their part of the state.

Alumni Association Board reaffirms commitment to top-50 medical school goal

Board members of the Alumni Association met as well and reaffirmed their commitment to their alma mater, sharing Dr. Keel’s goal – and all of ours – of being a top-50 medical school. On a more personal note, these were my first true alumni-focused events in my first month of service as interim dean of MCG. While I consider myself an honorary alumnus and have been privileged to work alongside many MCG graduates, I must say that it was really impactful to see so many gathered at one time to celebrate their medical school. It was a crystal clear example of the impact of MCG through its graduates who are improving lives and communities across Georgia and beyond. It reminded me, certainly, of why I have never left MCG since the day I started my neurology residency here more than 30 years ago. 

The Samuel F. Rosen, M.D., Memorial Lectureship set for March 14

We just have great graduates, individuals like the late Dr. Samuel F. Rosen, a 1929 graduate who practiced dermatology for more than 40 years in Savannah. Dr. Rosen would also serve as a consulting dermatologist for the U.S. Public Health Service for nearly five decades and he helped found the Savannah Tumor Clinic. His lifelong commitment to learning, led to the establishment of the Samuel F. Rosen, M.D., Memorial Lectureship Endowment at MCG in 1995, a year after his death, to enable ongoing, insightful discussions like the one coming up March 14. Dr. Nehal Mehta, Lasker Clinical Research Scholar in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Section of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases will discuss “Translational Studies of Psoriasis and Cardiometabolic Diseases,” at Department of Medicine Grand Rounds at noon in the Lee Auditorium.

Time for nominations for the Faculty Senate Distinguished Faculty Awards

The uncharacteristically warm temperatures remind us that Spring is not far away (March 20), which means many great MCG traditions are coming up, including the distinguished faculty awards presented by the MCG Faculty Senate and selected by you. The award event is April 20, and we ask that you nominate a worthy colleague for one of these honors now. There is a large array of honors, from the Distinguished Faculty Award for Basic Science Teaching to our Lifetime Achievement Award. If you have any questions about how or where to nominate, please contact Terry McBride, faculty senate liaison at tmcbride@augusta.edu or 706-721-4056.

Debbie Langston receives 2017 GME Program Coordinator Excellence Award

MCG’s Graduate Medical Education Office in collaboration with the Executive Program Coordinator Council just successfully completed the nomination and selection process for the GME Program Coordinator Excellence Award. As these groups rightly point out, residency program coordinators are pivotal to any good training program, both for trainees and educators. They were looking for someone who exemplified excellent communication and interpersonal skills, a great understanding of the complex accreditation process for training programs and who is just a great team player in this important aspect of medical education. Debbie Langston, program coordinator for neurology and child neurology, received the excellence award this year. Our residents noted time and again the selfless support she provides. Other top nominees included Fran Wolf, diagnostic radiology; Carol Gibson, general surgery and surgery critical care; Kathy Kline, obstetrics and gynecology; and Kim Maddox, urology. Our thanks to these individuals for their essential contribution.

Congressman Allen comes calling; Dr. Berman named cardiology chief

Finally, it was a good week for the heart here at MCG. Congressman Rick Allen came to see us just yesterday to learn more about how you all treat the number one killer of Georgians and how you also continuously strive to find better treatment. We appreciate Congressman Allen’s time and support and thank Dr. Pascha E. Schafer, medical director of the cardiac intensive and intermediate care units at our hospital, and Dr. Adam E. Berman, an electrophysiologist who has directed cardiac arrhythmia services here, for enabling this visit. More good heart news announced early this week was Dr. Berman’s selection as chief of cardiology, see jagwire.augusta.edu/archives/41300. We congratulate this enthusiastic leader and doer and thank again Dr. Neal Weintraub for more than two years of service as interim.


Upcoming Events

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

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.

March 16 – The first G. Lombard Kelly Lecture, overseen by graduate students in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, noon, Harrison Commons, 2006 Nobel Prize Winner for the discovery of RNA interference in gene expression, Dr. Andrew Fire, professor of pathology and genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine.

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

March 17 – Match Day, festivities start at 11:30 a.m., letters start getting handed out at noon, Harrison Commons.

March 20 – Reception welcoming Dr. Doug Patten, the new associate dean of MCG’s Southwest Campus, and honoring inaugural Southwest Campus Associate Dean Dr. Iqbal Kahn, 5-7 p.m., Southwest Campus Offices, 1000 N. Jefferson St., Albany. Sponsors include campus faculty, the MCG Alumni Association, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and MCG Interim Dean Dr. David C. Hess. RSVP to Elaine Blankenship, eblankenship@augusta.edu.

March 24 – Health Sciences Education Day, Educational Innovation Institute, starting with Education Grand Rounds at 8 a.m., first floor, Harrison Commons. Dr. Stephen Chew, chair of physiology at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., will discuss “What Learning Science Says (and Doesn’t Say) About Developing Critical Thinking,” at 9 a.m., followed by a workshop, see http://www.augusta.edu/mcg/academic-affairs/eii/upcoming-events.php.

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 26 – University Faculty Assembly to honor outstanding and retiring university faculty, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the Alumni Center at the Health Sciences Campus.

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.