“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”

~Rosalynn Carter



April 1, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

No fooling ….

The SACS surveyors have come and gone this week. As you know, over the past several weeks, we have gone through several accreditation surveys to include the American Association of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), The Joint Commission (TJC), and now the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The preliminary feedback we’ve received from both the AAHPP and TJC has been very favorable with few areas for improvement. We also got a similarly positive response from the SACS site visitors. Thanks to Drs. Roman Cirbirka, Shelley Mishoe, Kent Guion and Ms. Mickey Williford – and their entire team – who worked so tirelessly to ensure we, as a campus, were ready for the SACS surveyors. The surveyors were impressed by our enterprise-wide commitment of our faculty and staff to cultural competency, by our commitment to training tomorrow’s healthcare providers, and by our energy and strategic momentum. The surveyors recommended we change our organizational assessment and that we also evaluate the core elements of the Quality Enhancement Plan. They will be sending us a formal report within the next 4-6 weeks. This was a great outcome from this SACS accreditation survey.

Although these evaluations have each gone well and are learning opportunities …. Still and all, I gotta say that hopefully, we will have a break in surveys for a while!


Yet another evaluation … This one’s Accreditation with Commendation …

We want to congratulate our Division of Continuing Education on receiving the highest accreditation award from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). This is a remarkable achievement as it’s the first time in the institution’s history that MCG at GHSU has ever reached the highest accreditation level offered by ACCME. The faculty is to be commended for their collaboration with the Division of Continuing Education for participating in the educational events and for presenting with their enthusiasm of teaching and sharing. We thank you all for continuing to teach and mold our students and faculty into the future “Top Docs”.

Partnerships …

We had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Jim Davis, CEO of University Hospital speak at the MCG Health System Board meeting. It was a wonderful presentation and a comprehensive overview of healthcare as we see it today. We are fortunate to have such a great leader in our community. We are most grateful to Mr. Davis for his promotion with Dr. Azziz of an exciting, possibility-filled spirit of collaboration between our two institutions which can truly serve to benefit our community. We also had the opportunity to attend the reception in recognition of Ms. Laurie Ott’s new role as President of the University Hospital Foundation. Ms. Ott is another great leader in our community and we wish her every success in her new role. We appreciate our colleagues at University Hospital, their leadership and contributions to our community and we greatly value all the joint efforts at strategic collaboration.



Ohhhhhh ….


Congratulations to Dr. Lara Stepleman co-Director of the Education Discovery Institute (EDI) on her participation and interview in the April issue of O (Oprah) Magazine. The magazine reaches more than 2.6 million households each month and this is great national exposure for Dr. Stepleman and for GHSU. You can find the full article in the April issue in magazine outlets nationwide or use the link below for the web version of the article. Please check it out. It is well-worth your time.

Education day …

The EDI also hosted last week the 2011 Education Day with Dr. Janet Hafler, Assistant Dean for Educational Scholarship at Yale University, as the keynote speaker. The day was a busy one as Drs. Kathryn McLeod and Leila Stallworth gave presentations of their fellowship research projects. The educational research poster session included about 40 posters with about half of which were from colleges outside of GHSU. Drs. Andy Albritton, Jack Borders, Janis Coffin, and Dale Sickles, were inducted as the newest members of the Academy of Educator as well as two newly established educational research awards were awarded to Dr. Lisa E. Leggio, Elizabeth Leibach and Barbara Russell, as co-authors of a manuscript. The Exemplary Teaching Award winners were recognized as well as honoring the graduating class and welcoming the 2011 educational research fellows. Congratulations to all these awardees. The EDI is committed to being an enterprise-wide EDI. We encourage you to contact Dr. Rhee Fincher and Dr. Lara Stepleman for more information regarding the EDI.
Mini-Medical school winds down …. Another great year …

We want to offer our sincere thanks to Dr. Alan Roberts and his team that continually put together the Mini-Medical School Program for GHSU as well as the faculty that give of their time to teach their course. This is a program that is geared toward the population that has no easy access to basic medical sciences. The faculty that participate in teaching the courses must teach the basic vocabulary of medicine, provide understanding of the process of science and provide understanding of the impact of biomedical research on society by teaching the history of biomedical research along with creating a program that promotes the partnership between the medical profession and the public. The Mini-Medical School is always well attended and very much appreciated by the community. If you would like to teach or attend a course at the next Mini-Medical School, please contact Dr. Robert.

Multi-Specialties ….

We also want to thank our colleagues and friends who recently put together the 2nd annual ‘Living with Lupus’ patient education symposium. The conference was well attended by both people living with systemic lupus as well as their friends and family. Dr. Mike Madaio, Chair of the Department of Medicine, spoke about the treatment and outcomes of lupus nephritis. Dr. Loretta Davis, Interim Section Chief of Dermatology, discussed common lupus rashes and ways of sun protection. Drs. Alyce Oliver and Steve Older, Rheumatologists, spoke of the diagnosis and current treatment of lupus. Drs. David Silverman and Marcie Alisangco respectively spoke on pregnancy with lupus and cardiovascular risks in people with lupus. A Lupus support group has been formed with the assistance of the Lupus Foundation. The Lupus Multi-Specialty clinic continues to work with the Lupus Foundation to expand its outreach through education symposiums for patients, friends and family members, and physicians.

Graduate Research Day … A new record for Research productivity …

Recently the 27th Annual Graduate Research day was held. This year a record 136 abstracts were submitted by graduate students and post doctoral fellows from a wide variety of programs to include biomedical sciences, nursing, MPG, biostatistics, and medical illustration (to name a few). There were eleven postdoctoral oral presentations as well. Each poster or presentation was evaluated by faculty judges. The awards dinner will be held in a few weeks and we will be sure to let you know the winners. Congratulations to everyone for their excellent posters and presentations.

PPG … Program Project Grant …


We also want to congratulate Drs. Steve Black, Alexander Verin, David Fulton and John Catravas on scoring a ‘Perfect 10’ on their $11.5 million Program Project Grant application “Endothelial Barrier Protection and Repair in Acute Lung Injury”. This is as good of a score as an application could get. Congratulations to all of the VBC and CVDI faculty and staff that worked on the application.

Alumni in the News …

We want to congratulate Dr. Frank Farmer on being named Florida’s State Surgeon General. Dr. Farmer is an Internal Medicine physician. He is a MCG graduate of the class of 1976. Dr. Farmer has served as the head of the state Board of Medicine and president of the Florida Medical Association. He will be here attending Homecoming on April 15. Please take the time to congratulate him on his recent appointment. Please see for the entire story.

Golf anyone? … A great day out …

The GHSU/UGA Medical Partnership Student Government Association hosted its first major fundraiser last Sunday. The students determined early on that the majority of fund would go to support their efforts in the student-run clinic which has been operational since January 2011. The partnership with Mercy Health Center allows for the student to operate a clinic on the first and third Wednesday nights each month. Both students and faculty are volunteering their time to offer quality health care to the underserved and indigent patients in the Athens area. Sixty golfers participated in the tournament. The day turned out beautiful afternoon a rainy start. Many thanks go to the SGA for their leadership in putting on the tournament as well as all the participants in the tournament. Thanks also to Dr. Cheryl Dickson for her leadership here and for her exemplary ongoing efforts to support our students in this innovative partnership.

Trekkies … no that’s ‘techies’ ….

We also want to highlight the 9th Annual GHSU Tech Fair to be held on May 26th in the Greenblatt Library. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. You will have the opportunity to attend sessions on teaching with technology, research technology, clinical technology and general technology. Dr. Alex Greene, Harvard Medical School will be speaking on ‘Cultural Competency in Health Care: A Technology Based Approach’. This presentation is a great opportunity to build upon the momentum of our recent SACS review and our QEP project. We hope to see you there.

Upcoming events to mark your calendars:

MCG Faculty Senate Awards – April 14

Homecoming – April 15-17

t stMCG 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

Many thanks for all you do. We hope you get the chance to participate in the excitement of ‘The Masters comes to Augusta’ this coming week.