April 28, 2017

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Drs. Isales, Hamrick, Hill and McGee-Lawrence awarded $9.3 million Program Project
It’s one of those tradeoffs in life. Many of us are living longer but some aspects of our bodies grow weary and sometimes weak in the process. Our bones and muscle, whose wellbeing is closely interrelated, can certainly become problematic. Falls and disability can result. We are excited to share that a great lineup of MCG scientists, headed by Dr. Carlos Isales, endocrinologist and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, is taking up a major initiative to find out exactly what happens to our stem cells that results in this decrease in musculoskeletal function and what can be done to intervene.

Drs. Elsalanty, Shi, Chen and Maribeth Johnson enable three core labs for the huge study
This is clearly great translational work and we congratulate and thank the team for successfully securing funding to continue these pursuits. Principal investigators on this $9.3 million Program Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health also include Dr. Mark Hamrick, bone biologist; Dr. Dave Hill, stem cell researcher; and Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence, biomedical engineer; all in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Mohammed Elsalanty, in the Department of Oral Biology at the Dental College of Georgia, is an investigator in the Bone Biology Core; bone biologist Dr. Xing-Ming Shi, in Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, is an investigator in the Bone Stem Cell Core; and Maribeth Johnson and Dr. Jie Chen, from the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, are investigators in the Administrative Core with Biostatistics.

Bone and muscle health as we age is the study focus
There is no doubt that science today requires collaboration and it is gratifying to see this synergistic team taking on this important health and life quality issue. Please see this good story by Tom Corwin, science and medicine reporter at The Augusta Chronicle, here. Tom is really great at tackling these complex and relevant research topics and we appreciate his skill and ongoing interest.

Dr. Chen named Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Statistics
Back to Dr. Chen in Biostatistics for a moment. We are pleased to share that she also was recently named Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Statistics, following an international search for the leadership role at the 44-year-old journal. Biostatistics Chair, Dr. Varghese George, is on the journal’s editorial board and their colleague, Dr. Sunil Mathur, is Associate Editor. That is quite a contribution to a major journal from a single department. Thank you all for your contributions to your field and to MCG.

Alumni Weekend begins today
Part of the great privilege of being interim dean is getting to know MCG alumni better and another great opportunity for that is here. Alumni Weekend begins today at the university and MCG. The dean’s reception is set for tonight from 6-7 p.m. in the lobby of the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons, named for one of our many great and compelling graduates. More details are available here.

Drs. Walter Curran and Mason Thompson are this year’s distinguished alumni honorees
MCG graduates, who will receive extra honors this weekend, include Dr. Walter Curran, a 1982 graduate, radiation oncologist and Executive Director of the National Cancer Institute-designated Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. Dr. Curran will be honored for professional achievement. Dr. Mason Thompson, a 1973 graduate, family medicine physician and longtime MCG faculty member, will be honored for loyalty. His many responsibilities at MCG included serving as Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Chair of the Admissions Committee and Associate Dean for Admissions. This stalwart member of the MCG Alumni Association assumes the group’s presidency this weekend.

MCG Faculty Awards Ceremony celebrates longtime faculty, rising stars
Our faculty were similarly honored last Thursday at the annual ceremony of the MCG Faculty Senate. These kind of events give us an opportunity to pause and to reflect on our colleagues and that too is an inspiring opportunity. Dr. Sharad Ghamande, Chief of the Section of Gynecologic Oncology and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Georgia Cancer Center, was this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Dr. Ghamande is a prolific clinician, educator and investigator who appears to be in constant purposeful motion. Dr. Anthony L. Mulloy received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Perhaps, the fact that this longtime faculty member and leader who recently retired but is serving as Interim Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, which he led for 16 years, says it all or at least much of it. Please take a moment to learn more about these and all our MCG honorees here. We again thank Terry McBride, faculty senate liaison, for her dedicated effort in making this tremendous event happen and for keeping the important work of the Faculty Senate smoothly running.

Dr. Sethi honored by Association of Indian Neurologists in America
The often-honored and long-serving Dr. Kapil Sethi, neurologist and movement disorders specialist, is this year’s recipient of the Association of Indian Neurologists in America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, see story here. Dr. Sethi has been and continues to be a pioneer in his field internationally. This particular honor is for advancing the training of North American neurologists of Indian origin and promoting innovation and research in neurology. Certainly, this honor is made-to-order for Dr. Sethi, whose expansive work includes serving as Project Director for the Parkinson Research Alliance of India, which works to bring more clinical trials to that country. We thank him for his service to all

Hooding Ceremony set for 2 p.m. May 11 at the Bell Auditorium
Finally, with our current two-week cycle for the Dean’s Diary, we will miss the opportunity to preview our Hooding Ceremony if we don’t do it today.  The Hooding Ceremony, of course, is monumental for our students and for all of us who are privileged to be part of their learning: It is the day they transition from medical student to physician. Hooding begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at the Bell Auditorium downtown. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, Emeritus Chief Executive Officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and a renowned expert on the complications of diabetes and pregnancy. Dr. Gabbe will discuss “A Glass Half Full of Lemonade.”

Special Hooding guests this year include MCG’s first three black graduates
In addition to our great seniors being hooded that day, MCG’s first three black graduates, Drs. Frank Rumph Sr. and the late John T. Harper Jr., both of the Class of 1971, and Dr. Tommy Leonard Jr., Class of 1973, will receive their hoods. Please note that the Hooding ceremony at MCG did not start until 1977 and this year, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of MCG’s desegregation, this addition to an already storied ceremony seemed very fitting.  Dr. Harper’s wife, Mrs. Agnes Harper, and daughter, Dr. Angela Harper Mahome, a 1999 MCG graduate, will accept the hood for the late Dr. Harper. We congratulate and thank our seniors and our educators, both here in Augusta and across our state. Medical education is the core of what we do and our students and alumni really great inspiration for our work.
Respectfully yours,


David C. Hess, M.D.
Interim Dean, Medical College of Georgia

Upcoming Events

Today through Sunday – Alumni Weekend, Dean’s Reception, tonight, 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. See https://issuu.com/ghsu/docs/alumniweekend_medicinebrochure_mail?e=3597729/46804754 and http://www.augusta.edu/alumniweekend/.

Today – Drs. Robert and Lois Ellison Lectureship, 2-3 p.m., Lee Auditorium. Dr. Michael D. Delph, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University, will discuss “Cardiovascular Health: A Potential Hurdle in the Upcoming Space Race.”

May 3 – Noon Arts Concert. The final show of the school year will be at noon in the Lee Auditorium, See http://calendar.augusta.edu/event/noon-arts-live-at-the-lee-2/.

May 11 – Hooding, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium.  Featured speaker, Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, Emeritus Chief Executive Officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and former Senior Vice President for Health Sciences for The Ohio State University and Chief Executive Officer of The Ohio State University Medical Center, will present “A Glass Half Full of Lemonade.”
Reception follows at the Old Medical College building.

May 13 – Community Celebration recognizing Class of 2017 graduates at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership campus, 10 a.m., UGA Health Sciences Campus, Marching Grounds. Reception immediately following. An outdoor celebration that will move to George Hall in case of inclement weather.

Nov. 10 – Annual Memorial Service for Body Donors, 1 p.m., Lee Auditorium. Donors’ families and friends are the honored guests.

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