March 2, 2018

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Great showing at the American Federation for Medical Research
You just never know where you will find the Medical College of Georgia. Last week one place was the Southern Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research in New Orleans. It was quite a presence. From just our Department of Medicine we had 11 students, two residents and one fellow as first authors on presented abstracts, Dr. Stan Nahman, the department’s associate chair for translational research, tells us. Dr. Nahman is a councilor of the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, which sponsors this AFMR regional meeting.

Fellow Omar Saleem presents a new use for portable ultrasound
Nephrology fellow Dr. Omar Saleem, who actually presented twice at the meeting, talked about how portable ultrasound can be used to detect fluid collecting in the lungs of patients on dialysis. As you can imagine, that causes a lot of problems like heart failure and high blood pressure.  While the standard is to listen for crackling sounds in the chest with a stethoscope, portable ultrasound actually provides an image of the fluid and gives us a better idea of how much fluid is there. We are doing a lot of innovative work on the potential of portable ultrasound. This great work caught the attention of meeting attendees and many across the world, see here.

Drs. Nahman, Baer and Waller talk big data mining at AFMR
The MCG Department of Population Health Sciences was another contributor to this meeting, where Drs. Jennifer Waller, director of the department’s clinical and translational science programs, joined Dr. Nahman and Dr. Stephanie Baer, chief of infection control and epidemiology at the VA hospital here, to lead a workshop about big data mining using the national kidney data system. Big data mining is definitely one way we can find big patterns in diseases, like the genes associated with them, as we talked about last time. The nearly 80-year-old AFMR is definitely a like-minded institution, with a focus on biomedical and patient-oriented research and a commitment to the next generation of clinical scientists and investigators. Great showing all.

MCG graduate Dr. Todd Berland host Sirius XM Radio’s Vascular Show
This MCG find was a little more surprising. We mentioned last time that Drs. Dan Rudic and Zsolt Bagi just got an NIH grant to look at how a disturbed circadian clock can lead to stiff blood vessels. Well the weekly Vascular Show on Sirius XM Radio’s “Doctor Radio” channel reached out to Dr. Rudic about doing a live interview about that last week. It turns out the host of that show, Dr. Todd Berland, is a 2003 MCG graduate. Dr. Berland, who has been the show’s host since 2015, completed general surgery training at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and a vascular surgery fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center, where he is now director of outpatient vascular interventions. He’s an active clinical investigator and chair of the Technology Exchange Committee of the Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society. It’s always great to learn about the great accomplishment of our graduates (and faculty), however it happens.

Dr. Billy Jarrard hosts regional alumni meeting in Macon
I definitely expected to see a big MCG contingent at the first big regional alumni gathering of the year last week. It turned out to be another fun and interesting event hosted by 1985 graduate Dr. Billy Jarrard and his wife Cindy at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. In keeping with our theme this week that MCG’s impact is everywhere, Dr. Jarrard’s son Howell graduated just last year and is now doing a neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh. There were 75 or more people at this festive event, including one of the newest members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Allen Gudenrath, along with longtime Regent Dr. Tommy Hopkins, an Emory School of Medicine graduate.

Allen Gudenrath, new USG Regent, attends alumni reception
Regent Gudenrath has a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Georgia and is a senior VP with Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management Division. It was great to have him and Dr. Hopkins with us. You may know that Regent Chair Jim Hull, Regent Neil Pruitt Jr., Regent Philip A. Wilheit Sr. and Regent Vice Chair Don L. Waters are all members of our AU Health System Board. Dr. Hopkins has been as well. There was also quite a showing by the Pilcher family, including MCG graduates Drs. Britt Pilcher, Lamar Pilcher, Jennifer Pilcher Duke and her husband Sanford ‘Sandy’ Duke, both 1996 graduates. Dr. Lamar Pilcher, who completed both medical school and his radiology residency with us, is an emeritus member of our foundation and great supporter of student scholarship. Retired radiologist Dr. Bill Acton, a 1971 graduate and another great supporter of medical school scholarships, was also among the outstanding MCG graduates with us.

Bibb County Medical Society peppered with MCG alums
This week, I again visited Macon for the great opportunity to talk with the Bibb County Medical Society. This was my third visit to this fine group. One of the many great things that happened was I met  Dr. Robert Rosengart, diagnostic radiologist and 1988 MCG graduate, who decided afterward to sign up for Alumni Weekend this April. That is always good news but I particularly wanted to share it because this will be the first time Dr. Rosengart has been back to his alma mater since he graduated. He is excited about seeing the Harrison Commons and the rest of the campus and catching up with classmates. We are excited that he will be back with us. It was also good to see about 40 Mercer University School of Medicine students at the Bibb County Medical Society meeting and even a few of their residents. Dr. Keisha Callins, chair of the Mercer Department of Community Medicine, was also there with us.

Longtime and new MCG graduates alike support their alma mater
I paid a few individual visits down that way as well, including 1967 MCG graduate and family medicine physician Dr. Bill Brooks. We send him best wishes again for a speedy recovery from the broken leg he sustained last week skiing in Colorado. We also visited Dr. Alva Mayes, pediatrician, Class of 1956, a former president and longtime member of our Alumni Association Board and overall great supporter of his medical school. I also was pleased to visit with 2005 MCG graduate, Dr. Anil Puri, an internist, critical care and sleep specialist with practices in Milledgeville and Eatonton. Dr. Puri, who has an outstanding system to help patients manage chronic disease, now wants to help teach our students, see here. Our alumni are really inspiring and, like you, make me very proud to be dean.

TV anchor Jennie Montgomery nails it with thrombectomy story
As we wind down today, please permit me to focus on being a neurologist and stroke specialist long enough to point out a great recent story by local ABC anchor Jennie Montgomery on mechanical thrombectomy. This is a definite game-changer in stroke care that enables us to intervene in some of the potentially most devastating clot-based strokes. In these situations, where big clots are blocking big blood vessels and endangering large segments of the brain, great teams led by endovascular neurosurgeon Dr. Scott Rahimi – another great MCG graduate – and Dr. Sam Tsappidi, interventional neurologist, can go in, remove the clot and, if all goes well, patients can walk out of here two days after a massive stroke. Jennie did a great job capturing the real-life changing potential here. A special thanks to Dr. Edward Mendoza, who is actually also a neurologist that became Dr. Tsappidi’s patient last July, for helping us tell this important story. See here.


Upcoming Events

March 16 – Match Day, noon, Christenberry Fieldhouse, Forest Hills Campus.

March 29 – MCG Alumni Association Athens Regional Reception, 6 p.m., home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison.

March 30 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 13 – The Raft Debate, Harrison Commons, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association.

April 19 – Faculty Awards Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

April 27-29 – Alumni Weekend.

May 10 –MCG Hooding, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium. Reception immediately following at the Old Medical College building on Telfair Street. Featured speaker is Dr. Walter J. Curran Jr., MCG Class of 1982, who is executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory School of Medicine. His topic is “The Long Road Home.”

May 11 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

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

June 22 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium

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