Grow stronger

“We all grow stronger as we grow together”

~ Dr. Doug Patten, CMO
Phoebe Putney Medical Center


March 18, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:


What a blast!!! Yesterday was Match Day for all the medical school graduates in the country. Our Match Day was one for the record books, with super heroes on stage and lots of laughter, smiles, and the well-earned celebration of the accomplishment of years of training. It is a great and invigorating feeling to watch our medical school graduates taking their next step further in their goal to become one of our nation’s top docs. Our students had a highly impressive listing of matches, including several matching with us here at GHSU, and at other top places like Vanderbilt, Mayo, Duke, Georgetown, Ohio State and Boston University to name a few. Congratulations to you all! We also greatly appreciate all the commitment of our faculty and staff – as well as the leadership of Drs. Kathy McKie, Andy Albritton, Rhee Fincher and their colleagues – in preparing our medical students so well for this formative day. Our students will be wonderful ambassadors for GHSU and for Augusta … they will go on to do great things.

Medical students turning into doctors … implications for Georgia’s Physician Workforce…

In last week’s Dean’s Diary we highlighted some facts on GME that we received from the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce. This week we are going to highlight some facts regarding Georgia’s Medical School graduates. Of the 454 medical school students who graduated in 2010 from GHSU, Emory, Morehouse, Mercer and PCOM, 294 took the GBPW’s Survey of Medical School Graduates. Over half of the respondents selected their specialty in the 3rd year of medical school. There was an overall increase in graduates entering primary care specialties from 2009, however there was an 8% decline in internal medical residency. The top three influences on a medical school graduate for choosing a specialty is mentors/role models, lifestyle, and options for fellowship training. Medical education debt, competitiveness of specialty and family expectations were ranked as low to no influence on their specialty choice. When choosing a GME program, Georgia medical school graduates were influenced the most by location, then reputation of residency program with family and availability of residency positions as having some influence. With medical school graduates choosing to leave the state of Georgia for residency training, the majority of graduates preferred to train at a well-known out-of-state program. Fifty-four percent of respondents had not ranked any Georgia GME program in their top three choices. GHSU came in at 21.1% of the programs in Georgia. The overall perception of Georgia’s GME programs have risen to a mean of 6.97 with 1 being very negative and 10 being very positive. This is up from the 2009 survey. The perception of quality of Georgia’s GME programs has risen to a mean of 7.01 which is an increase from 6.49 last year. Fifty one percent of all respondents are planning to practice in Georgia after residency training. When looking at the surrounding states compared to Georgia, 81% plan to practice in Georgia. Thus, encouraging our colleagues to seek and complete further training in Georgia is another important aspect of our effort to address the physician shortage facing our state.

Helping Hands … our students as community advocates …
At the recent meeting of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association (GPPA), Dr. Adriana Foster and two of her medical students, Diana Murro and Luke Smith, presented their community outreach and research project “Helping Hands”. As previously reported in the Dean’s Diary, “Helping Hands” is a liaison between the homeless population and the existing community services for the mentally ill homeless in our community. Their project is focused on the homeless community in Augusta and helps people get (re) connected with addiction and mental health services. We applaud Dr. Foster, Ms. Murro, and Mr. Smith for their dedication to our community. Have our medical students present their work at regional meetings is also a great accomplishment.

Our Students as Leaders …

In a previous Dean’s Diary we told you of the fund raiser the American Medical Students’ Association planned to raise money for the Pakistani Flood Relief. We now want to report to you that the students raised over $10,000 of which all of it will be donated and to applaud Mr. Abeer Memon and his fellow students for their acts of kindness and compassion. We also want to say thank you to each one of you that contributed to this worthy cause.

We encourage you to join us on March 28 at 5 pm in the Lee Auditorium for the ceremony of inducting the following students into the inaugural class of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). This is the 90th chapter of the GHHS in the United
States. These students were selected by their faculty and colleagues because they live the professionalism, altruism, and volunteerism principles that form the foundation of the GHHS. These students are true exemplars of humanism in medicine. Please join us in congratulating these students on this outstanding achievement: Adam McCoy, Albert D’Heurle, Anna-Marieta Moise, Ashley Foster, Ashley Saucier, Ayodej Aiyejorun, Ben Ham, Benjamin Lefkove, Bryan Eriksen, Carmen Wallace, Christina Samuel, Diane Isaacson, Emily Osborn, Evan Sussenbach, George Lazari, Heather Monitz, Hugh Cheek, Jacqueline Tinsley, James Wallace, Jessica Reynolds, Jimmy Hotz, Katherine Caldwell, Kathryn Echols, Lane Miller, Lauren Mitchell, Mahsa Golabi, Mandy Redden, Matthew Fazekas, Matthew Stewart, Matthew Ward, Patricia Hall, Patrick Chesley, Philip Neiheisel, Rachael Guice, Regina Lee, Rusty Johnson, Steven Cowart, Teresa Ingram, Wanja Mwangi, William Jacobsen, Yasamin Chowdhury.

We also want to congratulate Ms. Elizabeth Schulz and Mr. Ronnie Zaiden on being recognized for their achievements as leaders by GHSU Student Services and Development Office. Ms. Schulz was chosen as a graduating senior for her exemplary leadership not only for her class of 2011 but also as a national leader. Mr. Zaiden was chosen as a returning student for being an effective leader, communicator and role model for his class of 2013. Both of these students will be honored at the Student Government Association Leadership Banquet on March 23. Congratulations to you both for this excellent and well deserved recognition.

Residents’ News …
Please join us in congratulating the following residents on recent news and awards they have received. From the Department of Medicine, Cardiology section, Drs. Michelle Murphy, M.D., Gyanendra Sharma, M.D., Jose Cuellar, M.D. have been accepted to present their abstract entitled “Negative Stress Echocardiography in Severely Obese Patients has Good Prognostic Value” for poster presentation at the American Society of Echocardiography annual meeting in June. Drs. Jason Burnette and Daniel Linn scored the best resident in-service score award at the Georgia Urology Association meeting held last month. The Department of Orthopedics also has a high scorer among its midst. Dr. Nick Reed scored the highest on the Orthopedic Intraining Exam. Way to go Nick! Congratulations to all of residents.

Exercise makes you smart? …

Psychologist Catherine Davis is examining the effects of regular exercise on how children think in her study. She is finding out that the amount of exercise a child gets makes a difference in their mental health. She hopes one day that her study will assist lawmakers and educators as they look and rework the education system. Georgia Public Broadcasting News did an excellent story on Dr. Davis and her study. Please listen to this or you can access the written release here As we mentioned last week, the obesity of our nation’s children has attracted Mrs. Obama’s attention as a priority of our healthcare overhaul. Dr. Davis is working on coming up with some answers. She has expanded her study to track a group of students over an entire school year. We are looking forward to hearing the results of Dr. Davis’ study.

Number 9 …

We were recently informed that we rank number 9 in the nation in the top funded institutions from the American Heart Association with a funding amount of $6,888,086. As we plan and focus our growth, playing towards our strengths in research will be particularly important. As the AHA shows, we have particular strength in cardiovascular research. Our strength is enhanced by our commitment to mentoring junior colleagues. Accordingly, please join us in congratulating Dr. Ryan Harris on being selected as a 2011 Cardiovascular Section Clinical Science Young Investigator Award recipient by Portland Press. Dr. Harris will receive his award at the annual American Physiological Society meeting. Congratulations to all of our investigators.

GHSU and Phoebe Putney …

In a previous Dean’s Diary we have highlighted discussions between the Children’s Medical Center and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital regarding a partnership to enhance children’s care in the southwest Georgia region. We are delighted to now say that the partnership is finalized. GHSU pediatric hospitalists (physicians who specialize in the treatment and care of hospitalized patients) and advanced pediatric practice nurses will be at Phoebe to provide high level care to children who otherwise would have to seek medical care elsewhere. The partnership will grow into urgent care services, resident training, consultative services for community pediatricians, and telemedicine among other programs. We are very excited to have this partnership with Phoebe Putney Medical Center. We would like to express our appreciation to Dr. Doug Patten and Dr. Bernie Maria and to many others for their dedication and support in making this happen. Not only does it strengthen the bond between GHSU and Phoebe Putney, but it is bringing healthcare to where it is needed. As Dr. Patten says “We all grow stronger as we grow together”.

Surprise … TJC is in the house …

Kudos to everyone for their professionalism and incredible support while The Joint Commission (TJC) has been here this week for our triennial site visit (a four-day survey). We have had five surveyors – a general surgeon, three nurses, and a facilities surveyor. We were aware that it was time for the survey, but could only speculate when they would show up. Throughout the survey, the surveyors have repeatedly commented on how engaged everyone is. They also acknowledged our level of integration and the cohesion and teamwork throughout our hospital and clinics. Each day, they have made complimentary remarks about the programs they have reviewed and they have commended us on many excellent practices. This time the survey has concentrated on a few set conferences but most of the emphasis was on the “tracer” method which is following the patient’s care trajectory through the hospital visit and engaging with the patients and staff. We will receive the preliminary feedback from the surveyors later this afternoon. In about ten days we will receive the final report and preliminary accreditation survey. We will provide our entire team with explicit information on survey findings in an open forum meeting next week. Of course we will have a chance to address any deficiencies that have been found and of course we will have some. We want to express our thanks to Peppy McBride and her team – and of course to many, many, more colleagues – that have prepared and prepped us for this site visit. Specific thanks also to Dr. David Snyder for his leadership which was ‘steady at the helm’ throughout the survey. We also want to thank everyone for their professionalism, team work, and camaraderie during the past four days. It takes a team and we have once again proven that we have that team.

Do You Facebook? …

A recent study by Healthcare IT News found that even as widely popular as Facebook is, it is quite apparent that most U.S. hospitals do not fully take advantages of the opportunities that Facebook offers. Only a few are really using social media to their advantage. Better engagement of patients, building and fostering healthcare communities and marketing initiatives as well as posting hospital or healthcare events such as support groups meetings, health fairs, etc., are all opportunities that could be built upon when using Facebook. On hospital pages where there is a highs degree of interactions between the hospital and the Facebook members, it was determined that patients, family members, friends and members of the community used the hospital’s Facebook presences to share experiences, laud, connect, and recommend hospital services along with praising physicians and staff. Children’s hospitals appeared to be the “cheerleaders” and the most engaged in their Facebook participation. Our own statistics reveal that our children’s Facebook pages have over 2300 fans compared to 589 fans of the adult Facebook pages. So all of you grown-ups, get out and “Facebook”.

Georgia Bio … a great opportunity …

We encourage you and your colleagues to attend the Georgia Bio March 23 conference “Finding Efficiencies in Clinical Studies”. GHSU is a Champion Sponsor so registration is complimentary for GHSU faculty and staff. Information on this conference can be found on their website Dr. David Stephens, Vice President of Research for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University and Principal Investigator of the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), will begin the half-day conference with the keynote speech focusing on an overview of challenges involving clinical studies.

Other upcoming events … please mark your calendars …

We want to encourage you to put the following dates on your calendars and make plans to attend these events as appropriate. More details will be forthcoming in the subsequent Dean’s Diaries.
SACS Accreditation – March 28-31
Homecoming – April 15-17
MCG Hooding – May 4
GHSU Graduation – May 5
MCG State of the School – May 13
President’s Inauguration – May 20

As you can see, we are all staying pretty busy. Students, residents, faculty, and staff alike are going at a pace that we’ve not seen before. Many thanks for all you do. Enjoy the beautiful weekend we have ahead of us.