Stand like a rock

In matters of style, swim with the current;

In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
~ Thomas Jefferson


July 8, 2011


Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Summer is in full swing with hot temperatures, humidity, thunderstorms, and vacations to the lake or beach, but it doesn’t stop us from moving at ‘full speed ahead’ with our many initiatives on the table.

Synchronicity … A Great Effort and We ARE Live …

We have now completed our second full week of our new ambulatory electronic health record (EHR), Synchronicity. Your support and tenacity in learning and applying this new system has been remarkable. As a result of this great effort, we are bringing our patient scheduling volume back up to normal as we continue to see speed in the processes and the system increase. Please know, however, that we will continue to support you fully and if you need more time or support, we will provide it. Operations are continuing to improve and workflow is smoother. Thanks to all of you for your continued diligence and patience as we work through the ‘kinks’ of the system. In addition to the ‘on-site’ clinical support, please visit and/or the PowerNote tutorials at We will continue to send updates.

Students Spotted in SE and SW Georgia …

Students began their rotations at our SE and SW Georgia Clinical Campuses this week. We’ve mentioned in previous Dean’s Diaries of the new ‘digs’ for the students at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital and they are thrilled with them. The fifteen students in Albany begin their third year at Phoebe Putney Hospital. Several of the students are from Southwest Georgia and plan on staying in the area after their training to practice. We are excited to have our students at the SE and SW Georgia Clinical Campuses. We are delighted that they are settling in.

Transformation 2020 …

Did you know that the name “Transformation 2020” (our long-range strategic planning) reflects that, by the year 2020, we will have transformed our organization into a highly integrated, world-class organization that is an institution of excellence in biomedical education, research and clinical service? Thank you for completing the survey that has helped formulate our mission, values, and vision. Four out of five survey takers believe the proposed mission statement accurately reflects our mission. Over 90% believe the proposed vision is on target. Check out the “Transformation 2020” website at for more information.

Prevention Tool … Wrong Site Surgery …

According to HealthLeaders Media online, wrong site surgery is estimated to occur 40 times per week in the U.S and is the most common sentinel event reported. The Joint Commission has developed in partnership a tool that can assist hospitals discover the process flaws that can lead to irreversible or life-threatening mistakes. The Joint Commission is hoping by Fall to have data to demonstrate whether the solutions they have found can be sustained at 90% or greater compliance rate.

Congratulations Are In Order …

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Norman Pollock, Assistant Professor in the Georgia Prevention Institute on receiving the Young Investigators’ Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Congratulations also goes out to Dr. Rafal Pacholczyk on receiving full funding for his major federal grant (RO1) from the NIH beginning this July. This is great news in this tough funding environment.

We also want to congratulate the recipients of the Department of Medicine’s inaugural annual research grant initiative who are Dr. Stephanie Baer for her proposal entitled: ‘Indolemaine 2,3 Dioxgenase, Age And Chronic Immune Activation In HIV Patients’ and Dr. Adam Berman for his proposal entitled: ‘Detection of Nonlinear Characteristics in Atrial Fibrillation using Recurrence Quantification Analysis’. Special thanks goes out to Drs. Abdullah Kutlar, Carlos Isales, Andrew Mellor, and Richard Sattin for serving as chair and reviewers.
Dr. Rhee Fincher … A New Direction …

We want to extend our gratitude to Dr. Rhee Fincher for nearly 30 years of service to GHSU and 20 of those years in the Dean’s Office at the Medical College. Dr. Fincher will be retiring in June 2012. We will be announcing recruitment plans in the near future for her replacement. Please join me in thanking Dr. Fincher for her many years of service, dedication and commitment to the education of over 5000 medical students and the mentorship to many junior faculty members.

Visit With Scientists From China …

Recently we had the distinct pleasure of hosting and visiting with a group of scientists from the Republic of China to promote educational and research excellence and academic ties and international cooperation. GHSU and the Hebei United University, which has an enrollment of 1762 students, explored the feasibility of establishing cooperative educational and scientific activities along with joint study programs. This is an exciting opportunity consistent with our vision as a leading university and consistent also with a broader economic strategy. Indeed, in 2010, Georgia’s imports from China totaled close to $14 Billion. The country is 1st among our state’s top import markets. We are looking forward to continuing long-term research opportunities, educational programs and cultural exchanges.
Upcoming Dates … Calendar Items …

August 3, 4 and 5, 2011 – MCG Freshman Orientation – Orientation for our new students and their families. Classes begin Monday August 8.

August 3-4, 2011 – GHSU Diversity Summit. This summit will be the first event held at the new Kroc Center. The mission of the summit is three-fold: (1) To advance the dialogue about diversity and inclusion activities between interrelated organizations; (2) Learn diversity and inclusion strategies and practices that have yielded successful outcomes both locally and beyond; and (3) Participate in networking opportunities to build effective collaborations. You will be hearing more details in the near future. We welcome your attendance so please check your calendar.

September 15, 2011 – Career Development 101 program. This program is designed to help new junior faculty jumpstart their careers by getting a broad view of what a career in medical education is all about. Please contact Ms. Cora Harper for more information. This is a great program.

September 24, 2011 – GHSU Family Day and MCG White Coat Ceremony. You will be hearing ‘lots’ more about these two events. Family Day encompasses the entire GHSU Family. The MCG White Coat Ceremony will be held at 2:30 pm at Warren Baptist Church with a reception immediately following. Are you wondering what the “White Coat Ceremony” is? It is a very special ceremony where MCG Faculty present our Freshman Medical Students with their first white coat signifying the beginning of their journey in the medical profession. We welcome you to these events.

Many thanks for your continued leadership and support.