Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

2019 MCG graduate honored with national public health award
Dr. Jonathan Reid Crowe already had two master’s degrees when he graduated from MCG last week. He had a master of public health from Johns Hopkins and a master of science in global politics, with a concentration on global health, from The London School of Economics and Political Science. That would really be enough for many of us. But not for Class of 2019 member Dr. Crowe. In the spring and summer of 2014 he was a graduate health policy fellow with The Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy think tank, where he explored complex issues like options for the much-debated alternatives to Medicaid expansion in Georgia.  He developed the concept for a health care app that lets patients take and manage their health care information as they go from one health care system to the next and worked with five Georgia Tech computer science students to develop the proof of concept.

Dr. Jonathan Crowe has worked to improve health throughout Augusta, the world
As an executive board member of the student-run Hopkins Health Innovation and Technology, where students work to help technology work better for our health, Dr. Crowe helped host the first-ever Demo Day at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where companies could display their digital health and medical technology wares. He worked with The Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. He was a medical student volunteer at the Wesley United Methodist Church free medical clinical here and served on a medical mission trip to rural Jamaica. He helped explore the benefits of exercise on glaucoma at Emory University the summer between his freshman and sophomore year at MCG. The day Dr. Crowe received his MCG hood and took the Hippocratic Oath, he also was honored, and truly surprised, by receiving a 2019 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service. In his already great tradition, Dr. Crowe will now study neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. Let’s hear it for neurology, for MCG and for Dr. Crowe. I know many, many more great things are ahead for him and for all of us as a result.

Hooding speaker challenges us to improve our corner of the world
You know I am just not a super formal individual, but I do love great traditions like MCG and our Hooding Ceremony. It is stately yet celebratory. It signifies an end and a beginning. It is just really cool. So was our speaker Dr. Leah Brown, an NCAA National Gymnast Champion, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine who is currently team orthopaedic surgeon for the professional basketball team Phoenix Mercury, and a Navy reservist whose active duty service has included deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom and to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. During Hooding, she challenged our students to make their corner of the world better, to rally around the privilege, rather than the glory, that can come with medicine, and to find both joy and empathy as they make their way. To work as a team and to foster our important personal relationships. She shared how, even in the horror of war, the pure joy of medicine can be found. She told us how in Afghanistan, she and her colleagues organized a women-only trauma team that honored the cultural norms of the Afghan society while ensuring that women got essential health care. She reminded us to reach out as well, and to never forget why we chose this journey. Thank you Dr. Brown.

Dr. Ashok Sharma receiving $1.5 million NIH grant to find better diagnostics for glaucoma
You have to figure people who smile a lot at work are sure they are on the right journey. People like Dr. Ashok Kumar Sharma. Dr. Sharma joined the faculty in 2012 after earning his PhD here. This proteomics and bioinformatics expert has worked collaboratively with colleagues at the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine and the Department of Population Health Sciences. More recently, he has newer colleagues in the Department of Ophthalmology like Drs. Kathryn Bollinger and Lane Ulrich, a 1996 MCG graduate, who are working with him to find a better way to diagnose and follow glaucoma. Most of you are probably thinking that our eye pressure tells that tale, but in reality high or low pressure is not a guarantee that you do or don’t have this condition, which is a leading cause of blindness in our world. So they are checking out the proteins in the fluid of eyes of patients with and without it to see if they can identify a protein profile that better tells the tale. The endgame is to one day examine our tears as a way to better keep tabs on the health of eyes. Dr. Sharma is principal investigator on a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to help figure this out. He has a slew of other great MCG collaborators on this study and they are creating a database where they are sharing what they find with other investigators globally so they can pursue their own studies. Great job all around. Dr. Sharma also was recently honored with MCG’s Outstanding Young Basic Science Faculty Award.

Dr. Stephanie Baer elected secretary-treasurer, Southern Section, American Federation for Medical Research
Please also join me in congratulating Dr. Stephanie Baer, infectious disease physician here and chief of Infection Control and Epidemiology at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, on being elected secretary-treasurer of the Southern Section of the American Federation for Medical Research. Like so many of you, this group works to promote research and support the next generation of science and scientists. Her own research includes infections in vulnerable populations like our veterans, dialysis patients and individuals who are HIV positive, and she is a member of the Translational Research Program of our Department of Medicine. She came to us right after finishing her infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Thank you for your leadership and equally importantly your service to veterans, Dr. Baer.

Medical student, resident education are both now part of Academic Affairs
Finally today, I wanted to share some important changes happening within our academic programs as we more logically align ourselves for a future that includes growth and change in both medical student and resident education. It is my pleasure to share that Dr. Doug Miller, senior associate dean for medical education, is now our vice dean for academic affairs with oversight of both medical student and resident education. We think this makes logical sense as we work even more strategically to expand and improve every aspect of education with the goal of providing even more great physicians for Georgia. Also, Dr. Andria Thomas is now our senior associate dean for evaluation, accreditation and continuous quality improvement with the also huge, essential job of accreditation at both levels of medical education. This is a great pair to take on these expanded but clearly connected areas. Dr. Walter Moore, who also graciously took on a new title recently as interim chair of the Department of Medicine, until the August arrival of new chair Dr. Brian Annex, will continue as our knowledgeable senior associate dean for GME but will now officially be part of Academic Affairs. The responsibilities of Deborah Pinion, longtime department administrator for Academic Affairs, also, of course, will expand and so it goes throughout Academic Affairs. I wish I had better words to properly thank individuals like Drs. Miller, Thomas, Moore and Deborah who are at so many important frontlines for MCG. Like Dr. Brown said, they are definitely making their corner of the world – and all of MCG – better.

 

Upcoming Events

May 24 – Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

May 30-June 1MCG Statewide Faculty Development Conference, Teaching Tomorrow’s Physicians Today: MCG’s Mission for Georgia, Jekyll Island Convention Center.

June 21 – Faculty Senate, noon, location TBD.

Oct. 19 – White Coat Ceremony, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium.

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