December 15, 2023

Dear Medical College of Georgia Friends,

Thank you for all you do on behalf of MCG

Gathering with family, friends and colleagues during the holiday season is always a great time for me to pause and reflect on what a privilege it is to serve alongside our faculty, staff and students in carrying out the imperative mission of MCG. Please know that during this season, and all year-round, your tireless work and dedication to improving the health of the people in this state, and beyond, does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I am thankful for you all.

Dr. Bob Nesbit now serving as our Medical Historian in Residence

One name that has long been synonymous with that important work is Dr. Bob Nesbit. This prolific general and vascular surgeon came to us nearly 50 years ago, in 1974, after serving as chief surgery resident and fellow at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. And he’s, thankfully, never left. He’s served in a variety of leadership roles, including as our chief of vascular surgery and as chief of general and vascular surgery and director of the surgical intensive care unit at the then-Forest Hills Veterans Administration Hospital. I like to think he adopted MCG as “his” medical school — he’s worked on our Admissions Committee and just about every Faculty Senate Committee there is, even completing a term as Faculty Senate president from 1986-87. For many years, he also served as a trusted advisor for MCG students interested in pursuing surgery and surgical subspecialties. Now, he’s volunteered to take on another essential role – as our medical historian in residence, a position left vacant in 2019 with the passing of MCG icon Dr. Lois Ellison. It took some time to fill because it’s not a job just anyone could do — chronicling and preserving this nearly 200-year-old institution’s past, present and future — but one I knew he was perfect for. Thank you for always being willing to step up and serve “your” medical school, Dr. Nesbit.

Dr. Lynne Coule takes on new role in Academic Affairs

Speaking of someone who is dedicated to their medical school: Dr. Lynne Coule is a 1990 MCG graduate who also completed her pediatrics residency and critical care fellowship here and subsequently joined the faculty — spending first part of her career as a pediatric intensivist and then transitioning to emergency medicine in early 2002. Now she’s adding another title to her resume and joining our Office of Academic Affairs as assistant dean for student affairs and pre-clerkship class dean, helping guide our students through the pre-clinical phase of their medical education. This new role is a natural fit. She has been involved in teaching students clinically for many years and has been a faculty member in our You+ curriculum since 2021. She is an avid encourager of learners at all levels, from high school through medical school, helping them achieve their goals, no matter what they may be. If she isn’t working to facilitate shadowing of students and faculty from MCG and other colleges, you can find her working with AR Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School and the Columbia County School System on their Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Healthcare Advisory Boards. She regularly speaks in classrooms in the CSRA and other parts of the state to kids who are interested in health care. And for the past two years, she has collaborated with the AU College of Allied Health Sciences to help develop a pipeline program involving experiential learning to expose 5th-12th grade students to various careers in health care. Talk about dedicated to educating the future health care workforce for Georgia. I know she’ll bring the same commitment and enthusiasm to medical students in this new role.

Parkinson’s Center of Excellence Recognized by Parkinson’s Foundation

In keeping with our theme of “dedication” this week, another great example of the commitment to the care of others on this campus is the MCG and Wellstar MCG Health Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. The center has been designated as a COE — one of only 54 in the entire world — for the last 20 years, meeting stringent criteria, ranging from comprehensive care of patients, research and clinical trials to professional training, community education and outreach and collaboration. Parkinson’s disease affects seven to ten million people worldwide, and around one million people in the United States alone. Our COE offers these patients access to a wide array of services to treat their bodies and minds, including neurologists trained in movement disorders or specializing in Parkinson’s disease, social workers, mental health professionals, therapists and speech-language pathologists. They are also conducting cutting-edge clinical trials to make sure our patients have access to the latest and greatest in treatment options. I’m happy to tell you that their efforts were recently recognized at the 2023 Future of Parkinson’s Disease Conference in Austin, Texas, where the center received the Parkinson’s Foundation Center Collaborator of the Year Award.

This center brings cutting edge clinical trials to people with Parkinson’s

The award is based on collaboration with the Foundation on various projects and initiatives — something our center certainly does well. They have served as a referral site for several studies, including one that offers genetic testing and counseling, at no cost for people with Parkinson’s, and another that is testing whether an FDA-approved medicine, called zoledronate, can prevent fractures and decrease the risk of death in those with Parkinson’s Disease or parkinsonism, among other risk factors. They are also part of a $1.4 million initiative through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Foundation implementing team-based outpatient palliative care in the country’s 33 Centers of Excellence. They also host a wide array of community education events, like our annual Brain Health Symposium and monthly Lunch and Learns. My congratulations to the center’s medical director, Dr. Julie Kurek, and her many, many supportive staff on this well-deserved honor.

As we wrap up today, just a quick note to let you know that this will be the last Dean’s Diary until January. I hope you all enjoy a well-deserved break and can rest and recharge with those you hold close.

All my best to you,

Dean Hess Signature

David C. Hess, MD

Dean, Medical College of Georgia

Upcoming Events

Jan 19 – MCG Faculty Senate Meeting, noon, Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium

Feb 16 – MCG State of the College Address, noon, Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium

Mar 15 – MCG Match Day, 11 am, SRP Park

Mar 22 – MCG Faculty Senate Meeting, noon, Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium