October 27, 2017

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Our Dermatology Program turns 50
Our skin is our largest organ and we have a great Dermatology Division, led by Dr. Loretta Davis, helping ensure great care of it. I am happy to share that our dermatology program will shortly be marking a half century of existence that includes not just great medical care and education, but being the founding site for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the number one journal in its field. Next weekend, MCG dermatology will be celebrating turning 50 as it hosts the 41st Annual Southeastern Consortium for Dermatology, see here. This group represents the 10 medical schools in the southeast that have training programs and I am proud to join Dr. Davis in welcoming some 200 members of this impressive group to MCG and to Augusta Nov. 3-5 at the Augusta Convention Center.

 MCG Graduate and Chair of Dermatology at UT Southwestern to speak
The keynote speaker for this event is Dr. Kim Yancey, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Yancey also happens to be a 1978 MCG graduate who also completed his dermatology training here before completing an immunodermatology postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He has been an NIH-funded scientist for more than 25 years and will be discussing, in Augusta next weekend, one of his areas of interest, the treatment of autoimmune blistering diseases. We welcome Dr. Yancey back home and thank him for his tremendous contributions to medicine. Another particularly interesting aspect of this professional gathering is that some 50 patients, most patients of MCG who have less common skin disorders, will be part of this very interactive educational opportunity. I thank Dr. Davis for maintaining such an amazing pace here and for bringing this group to our city.

White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2021 is 2 p.m. today at the Bell
While we are talking about great gatherings, this very afternoon the MCG Class of 2021 celebrates their White Coat Ceremony. This big event is, of course, where the students officially get their iconic short white coats and take the Oath of Service and Responsibility. It is always a great event. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a White Coat Ceremony when I was a freshman at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, but it is a definite honor to be part of this one. Congratulations again to our students. I want to thank Augusta University Medical Associates, the MCG Foundation, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and American Osler Society for their essential and generous support of this event.

Nov. 6 lecture highlights the changing standards for blood transfusion
Here’s a good question: Why Give Two When One Will Do? And we are pleased to share that Dr. Steven M. Frank, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Health System Blood Management Program and an expert in blood management and transfusion practices, will be on campus Monday Nov.6 to outline the reality that there is no good reason to give – or order – two units of blood when one will do. In fact, there are many good reasons not to continue this practice that is well ingrained in medicine. Dr. Frank will talk at 7 a.m. and again at noon Nov. 6 in the Lee Auditorium. The evidence, which drives what we do here in every aspect of our professional lives, increasingly shows that for nonbleeding patients, it’s best to wait until their hemoglobin has dropped to 7. Our culture and practice have been to transfuse with a hemoglobin level of 10, and go ahead and order two units, when one is all that is really needed.

The answer to why give two when one will do is: Don’t
There are definitely unnecessary costs associated with these actions but our primary concern is with patients. Because we also have increasing evidence that giving more blood than needed – both when and how much – increases problems like surgical site infections and postoperative pneumonia. I know many of you have already begun to think through this issue as we move forward here with ensuring best practices in the area of blood transfusion and we’ll have more on this important topic. I thank Drs. Steffen Meiler, Travis Hamilton, Colville Ferdinand and Kevin Dellsperger for their leadership at MCG and our hospitals on this matter that will help ensure optimal care to patients and optimal use of the valuable resource of blood.

Faculty central line course coming up Jan. 11
Along those same important lines (unfortunate pun not intended here) you remember back in September 2016 when residents and fellows were gathering in the Lee Auditorium to learn how to more safely and effectively place central lines using ultrasound? This great initiative, led by Dr. Matt Lyon, MCG graduate and director of our Center for Ultrasound Education, offered the unique combination of using ultrasound as a guide for placement, then testing what was learned on a cadaver model. That effort that now also includes nurses, has helped reduce complications from this common procedure, in which we establish a line so we can more easily give blood products, nutrients, medicine and more to patients. Now there is a course for faculty, as Dr. Lyon calls it a “train the trainer” course in the morning session and a “faculty skill refresher” in the afternoon, coming up Jan. 11 that is also an opportunity for us to refresh our own skills for this important and common procedure. I hope I see you there. For more information see here.

Tomorrow is Make a Difference Day for our planet
Here’s another area where increased responsibility benefits us all. Tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 28, is “Make a Difference Day” a nationwide community outreach day of service. From 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Augusta Farmer’s Market, Upstream Recycling, the hospital’s recycling vendor, and the AU Green Team will be manning a booth where we all can learn more about how composting, recycling and gardening can lead to a healthier life and environment.  Check out this link for more info: here. I appreciate MCG senior Evan Monson, who is vice president of the Graduate Student Government Association at the university, for his efforts and for keeping us in the loop on this.

Our Brunswick campus is booming
We have talked before about how much I really like and enjoy visiting our regional campuses. It was my pleasure to travel this week to the Southeast Campus in Brunswick to visit our medical students and volunteer faculty learning and teaching down there. I was struck again by the beauty of the place of course, but also by the talent of the physicians who share their time with our students and was happy to witness our students truly loving their learning experiences. We were met and hosted by Dr. Wayne Rentz, campus associate dean, and Dr. Frances Purcell, campus assistant dean for curriculum. They love our students and get called “Pa” and “Ma,” respectively, because of it.

Our students are getting great, hands-on experience
Dr. Steve Chitty, a pulmonologist and critical care physician and 1999 MCG graduate, gave us a tour of Southeast Georgia Health System that was seasoned with much humor and introduced us to many of the colorful medical staff. The gentle giant of a physician, Dr. Timothy Jamieson, an MD/PhD who is medical director of CyberKnife for the hospital’s Brunswick Campus, showed off the latest in this precision technology and told us about his high cure rates of prostate cancer. Rotating with him was the affable and ubiquitous John Knopf, a third-year student who has done several rotations at the Brunswick campus and is a real staff favorite. I also got to meet M3 students Nathan Mickinac, Radhika Patel and Kalpana Reddy. Radhika and Kalpana are both rotating with Dr. James Gowen, and when you rotate with Dr. Gowen, a 1968 MCG graduate, you deliver 50 babies. I, for comparison sake, was lucky to help with one delivery on my ob-gyn rotation. No wonder the students love it here. When you rotate in the emergency department and with anesthesiology, you may intubate 40 or 50 patients, which is more just unbelievable hands-on experience for our students.

Hospital partner Southeast Georgia Health System has great facilities, people
We also visited the huge, hospital-based Simulation Center funded by Southeast Georgia Health System, that provides super lifelike patient experiences, and the beautiful NunnallyHouse, built with funds donated by local Sea Island resident Hugh Nunnally and his family, for patient families, visiting medical students and as an on-call quarters for hospital team members. One more Brunswick share: I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Mark Hanly, who did pathology fellowship training here and at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was on our faculty and remains a volunteer faculty member. He is chief medical officer of Southeastern Pathology Associates, which provides pathology services throughout our state and northern Florida. More truly impressive work that contributes to our state and well beyond. I cannot thank our volunteer faculty and partner hospitals enough and stand in awe of them. See morehere and here.


Upcoming Events

Check out MCG research highlights on the Medical Minute with MCG Family Medicine Chair Dr. Joseph Hobbs (Class of 1974) every Saturday and Sunday at 8:16 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 5:18 p.m. on Georgia Public Radio stations across our state and archived here. We are having some technical difficulties with Sound Cloud at the moment so here’s a few updated links, https://soundcloud.com/gpbradioaugusta/gpb-medical-minute-110417-blood-vessels; https://soundcloud.com/gpbradioaugusta/gpb-medical-minute-111117-bone-loss and https://soundcloud.com/gpbradioaugusta/gpb-medical-minute-111817-lipodystrophy.

Today, Oct. 27 – White coat ceremony, Class of 2021, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, reception immediately following.

 Nov. 8 – Kick off of the Noon Arts Live at the Lee concert series of the Augusta University Arts Council. All are welcome. Dr. Kevin Frazier, vice dean and professor at The Dental College of Georgia, is the master of ceremonies. The free concert series showcases performers who play instruments, recite poetry, dance, sing and more, including MCG’s own SeroTONEins.

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

Dec. 7 – Augusta University All Alumni Savannah Regional Reception, Chatham Club.

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

Feb. 23 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

March 23 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

May 25 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

June 22 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Leave a Reply