May 26, 2017

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Three out of four orthopaedic surgery’s new residents are MCG graduates

One of the many great things about this time of year at MCG is the influx of new talent joining the great talent that already is Georgia’s public medical school. Beginning July 1 that includes 154 new residents and fellows in 38 programs from anesthesiology to family medicine. Dr. Monte Hunter, chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, gave a great update on his department at a recent MCG Cabinet meeting and he shared how three of his four new residents starting this year are MCG graduates. That is great news anytime and particularly so in this very competitive specialty. In fact, orthopaedics had 697 applicants who had an average GPA of 3.5 for those four available residency slots.

Half of all our orthopaedic residents are MCG alumni

The three MCG graduates who start orthopaedics here in a few weeks are Dr. Zach Herzwurm, of Evans,  a 2016 graduate who just completed a year of surgery training here; and 2017 MCG graduates Drs. Bruce Byrd, a native of Byron, Georgia, and Benjamin Sookhoo, a native of Valdosta. Our fourth orthopaedic resident this year is Dr. Wade Gobbell, who comes to MCG and AU Health from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.  Actually, 10 of our 20 orthopaedic residents are now MCG graduates. We believe that says great things about our undergraduate and graduate medical education programs. Congratulations to everyone and welcome back to most.

Two of our new orthopaedic faculty recruits are MCG alumni as well

Also in orthopaedics, two MCG graduates are joining the faculty in coming months.  Dr. Rob Wilson, an Augusta native and 2011 MCG graduate is coming back to MCG in August after completing his sports medicine fellowship at the University of Connecticut. Dr. James Crownover, a 2010 graduate who completed a primary care sports medicine fellowship at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, comes back home in November. Dr. Crownover has been on the faculty of Children’s Orthopaedics of Atlanta for a couple of years. Great job Dr. Hunter and all of MCG orthopaedics on being such a productive team that attracts and trains great physicians.

Dr. Kathleen May named chief of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology

We also welcome Dr. Kathleen May, who has practiced for more than 20 years atAllegany Allergy and Asthma in Cumberland, Maryland and joins MCG mid-July as the new chief of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. Dr. May is vice chair of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. She is a 2014 recipient of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Distinguished Service Award, currently chairs the college’s Therapeutic Regulations and Appointments Committees and is a member of the Board of Directors of its Advocacy Council. She is a graduate of Northeast Ohio Medical University, completed a pediatric residency at East Carolina University School of Medicine and an allergy/immunology fellowship at the National Jewish Research Center at the University of Colorado.

Dr. Betty Wray served MCG yet again as interim chief

Please join me in welcoming Dr. May to MCG and in thanking Dr. Betty B. Wray, a 1960 MCG graduate and longtime chief of the section for again stepping up to serve MCG as interim chief as we looked for a new leader. A little more history on Dr. Wray, she also served as president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, as was interim dean of MCG back in 2000. Thank you Dr. Wray for your immeasurable contributions to your alma mater and to your profession.

The familiar face and grace of Dr. Anand Jillella also returns to MCG and the Georgia Cancer Center

It’s not much of a secret that another familiar face is returning. Dr. Anand P. Jillella rejoins us July 1 as the J. Harold Harrison, MD, Distinguished University Chair in Medical Oncology, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and associate director of Medical Oncology Services at the Georgia Cancer Center. Dr. Jillella will also direct ambulatory services for the cancer center. There has been a fair amount of excitement already about the return of Dr. Jillella to us from the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. We join many in welcoming him back to MCG and the Georgia Cancer Center. More details here.

Talmadge Hospital’s founding director, Dr. Rufus F. Payne, honored

It’s also very neat that the face and legacy of the late Dr. Rufus F. Payne has a new presence on the Health Sciences Campus. Dr. Payne is a 1933 graduate who was the founding director of our teaching hospital, which opened in 1956 as Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital.  His portrait was rightly relocated to the administrative areas of the Health System recently and this week there was a ceremony where a plaque was also placed highlighting some of his accomplishments, which also included directing tuberculosis control for the Richmond County Health Department for 40 years. He also led the tuberculosis hospitals in Alton and Rome, Georgia for a time. His leadership tenure at MCG even included overseeing construction of the Auditoria Center, which is currently getting a facelift that should be wrapped up this fall. Dr. Payne died at our hospital in 1996 at age 86.

Lee Ann Liska and Dr. Julian Nussbaum are great partners in our common goal of excellence

We thank the current leadership of AU Health, including Lee Ann Liska and Dr. Julian Nussbaum, for their support in better recognizing this longtime leader and generally for being good partners as we move forward together on the strong foundation built by so many individuals like Dr. Payne.

Dr. John Bennett, Albany surgeon, is honored volunteer educator at Southwest Campus

We have a theme emerging here of great graduates of MCG doing great things, often at MCG and often well beyond. As part of our efforts to better recognize longtime leaders, we have one more for you today. Dr. John Bennett is a 1996 graduate of MCG who has been a volunteer faculty member at our Southwest Campus since 2008, just a few years after the campus started more than a decade ago. Many of you likely know that this campus based in Albany and at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, was MCG’s first clinical campus and continues to thrive today because of individuals like Dr. Bennett.

MCG could not fulfill its educational mission without great volunteer faculty like Dr. Bennett

We understand that our students really love and respect Dr. Bennett, noting time and again, not only his surgical excellence, but his enthusiasm, humor and clear desire to teach. In fact, just a few weeks back, our students down that way honored Dr. Bennett with the Most Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award. We must say that without Dr. Bennett and our extensive network of volunteer faculty across Georgia, MCG could not educate the next generation of physicians, never mind educate the eighth largest total enrollment for medical schools in our country. Talking about great partners, check out this guest editorial our Southwest Campus Associate Dean, Dr. Doug Patten, just did on the great new student housing Phoebe is opening.

Respectfully yours,

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


Upcoming Events

June 29 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Aug. 2 – First day of class for the Class of 2021.

Aug. 11 – State of the College Address, noon, location to be determined.

Oct. 27 – White coat ceremony, details to come.

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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