“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” ~ John Maxwell


April 15, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Welcome to Homecoming weekend at Georgia Health Sciences University. We look
forward to seeing you at the many events scattered about campus this weekend. GHSU
has much to be proud of and many things to celebrate with our alumni, faculty, staff, and students.
We hope you connect with new friends and faces this year and reconnect with
those you’ve made in the past. It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our
accomplishments, on the gift of our ‘GHSU family’, and to hear about our future plans.
Now, let’s get to some news and events ….

Best Practices for Better Care …

The Association of American Medical College (AAMC) has recently launched the Best
Practices for Better Care initiative. Over 100 medical schools (including MCG) and 200
teaching hospitals and health systems have committed to leading changes that will
improved the quality and safety of health care. The intent of this initiative is to put in
place, proven practices that will lead to safer surgeries, reduce infections, and prevent
hospital readmissions. Quality and safety will be a part of medical education for all.
Sharing of research and evaluations, knowledge and experience will not only improve
health care of today, but also health care of tomorrow. The AAMC is also in discussions
to bring University HealthSystem Consortium into the effort as a partner. This will provide
greater tools, resources, reporting mechanisms and other support for the care-related
best practices. Please visit to see
what this is excellent initiative is all about and how you can help.

Quality and the CMC …

We recently reported in a previous Dean’s Diary of the ranking of our Children’s Medical
Center in the AHRQ Pediatric Quality Indicator Composite. We are very pleased and
excited to report, for the second time, that we rank #1 out of 111 academic children’s
hospitals in the South and the nation. We finished the year 2010 as #3 out of 113. This
is testament to the excellent commitment and dedication of our CMC faculty, nursing and
staff. We want to also mention, that due to the major strides made by Drs. Moshen
Karimi and Kenneth Murdison and the entire Pediatric Heart Surgical team, the Pediatric
Heart Surgery score increased tremendously. Dr. Dennis Murray and Ms. Linda Henderson
continue to champion quality and partnerships within the CMC family. Congratulations to
all for a job well done!!

Pain Management and Prescription Medicine … A cautionary tale …

In the wake of several high profile addition problems as well as continued censure of
providers by state medical boards, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services
released an analysis of opioid prescription practices that show more than half of patients
who received an opioid prescription in 2009 had filled another opioid prescription within
the previous 30 days. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) system monitors drug-
related emergency room visits along with drug-related deaths. The DAWN reports that
emergency room visits related to nonmedical use of opioids has doubled since 2005.
Most abusers report getting pain medications from family and friends (leftover pills from
a prescription). Younger patients are more at risk for opioid abuse and later addiction
than older adults. A recent issue of JAMA also reports that prescription opioid overdose
is now the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States (killing more
people than heroin and cocaine combined). More research is needed to (1) look to see
if current practices are working and (2) why are patients receiving multiple prescriptions.
Patients need to be informed regarding effective pain management and risks involved
with abuse of painkillers. This is compelling evidence for the need to develop better
(and smart) strategies in curtailing opioid analgesic abuse while still maintaining the
integrity of pain management. Many states are looking at prescription drug monitoring
programs that will give physicians access to patients’ prescription history. As clinicians,
this is an important risk that we need to be ever mindful of. As educators, we need to
ensure that our trainees receive instruction and are ever cognizant of the potential for
misuse and abuse of drugs we prescribe. And as citizens, we need to be vigilant to the
pressure of drugs in our community and to support people who become addicted by
helping them seek treatment.

Have you gone “Green”? ….

Have you heard of “The Green Team”? This team is made up of your colleagues from
the enterprise and community. The mission of The Green Team is to develop, promote
and implement a responsible sustainability program incorporating appropriate
environmental stewardship and practices to meet the needs of our enterprise and our
community. You can learn so much more on Earth Day which is April 22 at the “Green
Space” on Laney Walker Blvd between Pavilion III and the Student Center. There will be
educational exhibits, demonstrations on energy conservation, recycling, cleaner
transportation, community gardening and more on how you can help individually and as a
department (and at home), along with children’s activities, and refreshments. Please
mark your calendar for Earth Day and be watching for more information to come your way.

Rafting anyone? …

The Raft Debate conceived by Dr. Paul Dainer has been an annual event with the 3rd year
medical students since 2003. The event is sponsored by the Alumni Association and
held at the Wellness Center. This year the scenario revolves around three physicians,
including an Internist (played by Dr. Janis Coffin), a Surgeon (played by Dr. Lisa Didion),
and a Pediatrician (played by Dr. Ethan Kellum). They are passengers on a boat that has
just struck an iceberg and is sinking into the freezing water. There is an inflatable raft
that will support just one person. The physicians agree to debate before an impartial
audience regarding which specialist should be spared. Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy is playing
the Devil’s Advocate. We are particularly pleased that Mr. Brad Means from Channel 6
News will be the Moderator. Every year there is a great turnout with a ‘raucous’
audience of faculty, staff, students, family and friends. This is an entertaining and
informative presentation that demonstrates how each of these specialties makes its own
contribution to society’s health and well-being. This year’s Raft debate will be held on
April 29 at the Wellness Center beginning at 5 pm. Please come along for an exceptional
good time with our students and decide for yourself … who would you choose to go in the
raft? …

Upcoming events to please mark your calendars:

Homecoming – April 15-17

Earth Day – April 22

UFS/MCGRI Awards ceremony – April 27th

RAFT Debate – April 29

MCG Hooding – May 4

GHSU Graduation – May 5

MCG State of the School – May 13

President’s Inauguration – May 20

9th Annual GHSU Tech Fair – May 26


Best wishes for a wonderful Homecoming Weekend.