April 13, 2018

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

The J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons is home
Dr. Lael Reinstatler, president of the Class of 2015, may have put it best the day ground was broken on the J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons. “Of all the things that we are thankful for most, finally having a home is what matters most,” she noted when ground was broken November 2012. Some of us long-timers well remember the days when our classrooms were scattered all over campus. I hope that those of us older and newer alike will always remember the Kite, Georgia native, the accomplished vascular surgeon and 1948 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia who helped bring our educational facilities together in such style. Today the Harrison Commons is a place where students can be found, not just when they have to be, but because they want to be.

A bust of Dr. Harrison will be unveiled during Dean’s Reception April 27
It will be my distinct honor during the dean’s reception from 6-7 p.m. Friday, April 27 of Alumni Weekend to host the unveiling of a bust of the late and great Dr. Harrison that will be on permanent display in the lobby of the Harrison Commons. This three-dimensional likeness is a gift of Dr. Harrison’s longtime colleagues at the MCG Foundation. One of the extra outstanding things about this is it’s the same year Dr. Harrison’s class celebrates their 70thclass reunion. That is one of the many great things about MCG, the deep roots and people. Individuals like Dr. David P. Hall, a thoracic surgeon from Chickamauga, Georgia, and president of the great Class of 1948, who has been so diligent in getting his classmates here for this unveiling and their reunion. Other classmates who plan to be there include Dr. Bowdre Carswell from Santa Barbara, California; Dr. Norman Pursley from Lincolnton; and Dr. Theo Thevaos from Charlotte. I guess our alumni reflect the staying power of their medical school. I believe this will be a really neat event and hope you all will be there for it.

The Class of 2018 was the first to include Harrison Scholars
While it’s hard to imagine how to make that day more impactful, how about this? The Class of 2018, which came 70 years after Dr. Harrison, includes the first recipients of the scholarships that the largesse of Dr. Harrison and his wife Sue made possible when, shortly after his death, our MCG Foundation announced another gift, a $66 million endowment to support these Harrison Scholars. To put a bit more icing on the cake, at this very moment we have Harrison Scholars in all four years of medical school for the first time. Dr. Harrison’s support also enabled establishment of 10 endowed chairs to help us recruit faculty, like Dr. Michael Hocker, who came to us in 2016 from Duke University to serve as vice chair of clinical operations for our Department of Emergency Medicine.

Voice Day is being celebrated today, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
It will be great to see so many familiar – and famous – faces as we will during Alumni Weekend April 27-29. It will also be good to hear familiar voices. I remember so well, not just the faces of my parents, Eleanor and Raymond, but their distinctive voices as they shared with me life’s lessons. I like to hear my wife Diane’s voice on the other end of the phone, or anywhere for that matter. The voices of our four kids and our four-legged Zeus and Holly, mostly anyway, also bring a smile. Perhaps that is because our voice is as distinctive as our face and no one knows that any better than Dr. Greg Postma, director of our Center for Voice, Airway and Swallowing. The center is a collaborative effort of our Department of Otolaryngology, as well as gastroenterology, neurology, pulmonology, GI surgery and speech-language pathology. And as we speak here, this great team in collaboration with the university’s Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, are using their united voice to entertain and educate in celebration of World Voice Day.

You can hear some opera and learn more about voice health
If you move fast, you can still catch some of the entertainment and information at the Maxwell Theatre on the Summerville Campus today through 2 p.m. In fact, we sent this biweekly writing out early today for that very reason, see here. You might catch Pamplin Italian Language Coach Giada Biasetti giving opera student Raji Venkat some Italian language tips after she performs Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto, or Pamela Brisky, nutritionist at our hospital, telling us how to eat to support voice health and quality. Admitting my bias here, you just might also be lucky enough to catch Dr. Postma giving, I am sure, a stellar talk on “The Professional Voice” then performing a live laryngoscopy on the stage. Great stuff. I appreciate the efforts of many who have made this informative and fun collaborative happen, including Dr. Postma and Tonya Currier, director of the opera initiative at Pamplin.

Free sports physicals given to young area athletes tomorrow
How is this for more teamwork and community service? Starting about 9 a.m. tomorrow, the sports medicine specialists in our Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 35 of our medical students, a bunch of athletic trainers with Jaguar Sports Medicine and some of our cardiology faculty and fellows will be giving free physicals to young athletes who want to compete. The goal here of course is to help these young people safely compete. What a great reason to get up on Saturday morning. Students from 15 area high schools will be there getting checked out by this fine group of individuals and professionals at the clinic space over on West Wheeler Parkway.

Sports medicine docs, athletic trainers, cardiologists and students will make it happen
Pretty much any time is a great time to do something like this, but Daniel Hannah, director of athletic training outreach, tells us spring sports, like baseball, soccer and track and field, are already well underway and football will be back before we know it. Did you know that athletic trainers from here staff 14 area high schools full time, including on the sidelines during practice and actual games? Primary care sports medicine specialists Drs. Beau Gedrick and James Crownover, along with sports medicine surgeons Drs. Robert Willson and Monte Hunter (AKA department chair) will definitely be at the center of this important action. Cardiology fellow Dr. Christina Dookhan will be spending her whole day on site while faculty like cardiology chief Dr. Adam Berman will be pulling shifts on this community effort. Thank you all for this extra effort to help the next generation.

Dr. Zheng Dong receives $2.2 million NIH grant to study kidney injury
Speaking of great traditions, one of Dr. Zheng Dong’s, cellular biologist in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, is having his research on kidney injury funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2000. He recently got another $2.2 million grant in his persistent pursuit of how to protect our kidneys. This one will help him figure out how diabetes, which is pervasive in our society and a risk factor for so many other maladies, worsens our chances of recovering well from an acute kidney injury. He thinks it has to do with diabetes hindering the kidneys’ ability to eliminate garbage. Dr. Dhong’s goal on this one is figuring out how to help kidneys continue to take out the trash and help people live better. Great work you can check out more about here.

MCG Faculty Awards Ceremony is April 19, 5:30 p.m. at the Lee
Finally today, let me invite you to one more great gathering, the 2018 MCG Faculty Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium. It is a good time to gather and honor our colleagues and MCG.


Upcoming Events

Today – The Raft Debate, 6:30 p.m., Harrison Commons, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association.

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

April 27-29 – Alumni Weekend.  MCG activities begin with the Drs. Robert and Lois Ellison Lectureship in the Lee Auditorium from 2-3 p.m. Friday, April 27. Dr. Jay Yadav, interventional cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic and Piedmont Health, will discuss “Information: The Cure for Our Ailing Healthcare System.” The dean’s reception is 6-7 p.m. Friday at the Harrison Commons followed by the Alumni Association banquet, where distinguished alums will be honored and the new Alumni Association president will be installed. Festivities resume Saturday morning with a campus tour starting at 9:45 a.m. The president’s cookout also is that day, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Harrison Commons Quad. The weekend concludes Sunday with a 10:30 a.m. service at the Alumni Center for graduates who have died over the past year.

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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